A special ICM-sponsored workshop has recently enabled schoolchildren from across Dorset to learn about nature and creativity at Avon Heath Country Park – one of the largest heathland parks in the county.
The workshop involved children from two very different schools – Turlin Moor Community School, a local school, and Montecute School for youngsters with learning disabilities – to get together and learn about natural habitats, a far-flung cry from their usual lives.
The two-day course gave the children the opportunity to work together for the first time, and also the chance to see Mike Chapman, a renowned sculptor, at work. His task was to create sculptures of some of the creatures native to the park, using the children’s creativity and intriguing ideas to influence the designs.
He was delighted to show the children how he creates sculptures out of natural resources: “I passionately believe that children should be involved with real art early on and not have it as something they’ve got to try to understand. I want it to be something they play with, climb on, feel and get excited by – and these kids have been a classic example.”
Avon Heath Country Park provided the ideal setting for the workshop. The site encompasses 60 acres of rare heathland, and is home to many endangered species such as the sand lizard – of which one of the sculptures is based on – and the Dartford Warbler. The children all participated in a fun and informative walk through the Park and then helped build a giant dragonfly sculpture, all working as a team to help produce a fantastic natural masterpiece.
ICM was proud to sponsor the workshop, which will hopefully be repeated again in the Autumn to allow even more children to share in the experience.
By Susanna Woods