A member of The Parks Trust’s Outdoor Learning Team, which works with around 6,000 adults and school children across Milton Keynes every year, has been recognised as an Accredited Practitioner by national body the Institute for Outdoor Learning.
James Walsh, who has worked for The Parks Trust for three years, received the accreditation after completing a comprehensive portfolio of work and passing an interview panel with two independent assessors.
The work in his portfolio included published articles in industry magazines, personal reflections on practice and the issues facing the outdoor learning industry, detail around his experience and an ongoing professional development plan.
His portfolio had to demonstrate expertise across eight areas; such as the promotion of responsible and sensitive use of the outdoor situation; understanding the nature and potential of outdoor learning; values and personal integrity; and competent outdoor practice and risk assessment.
Phil Bowsher, Head of Environment, Education & Volunteering at The Parks Trust, commented:
“We are very proud of James and the hard work he has put into achieving this prestigious accreditation. This is a difficult course to complete and reflects his dedication to providing the adults and children of Milton Keynes with informative, interesting and exciting opportunities to explore and learn about our local environment. As well as demonstrating the high calibre of those leading our Outdoor Learning programme, this accreditation will also mean James can become a dedicated coach for people looking to achieve the level below this, Registered Practitioner. This gives The Parks Trust a real opportunity to help other people who have an interest in Outdoor Learning. Well done James!”
Neal Anderson, IOL Professional Standards Manager, added:
“APIOL is the premier award recognising the approach, values, ethics and experience of professionals delivering outdoor learning programmes. The Institute for Outdoor Learning is proud to welcome James as an Accredited Member of the Institute and passionate advocate for Outdoor Learning."
Outdoor Learning is an important part of the work carried out by The Parks Trust to engage local communities with Milton Keynes’ green space. This helps to increase active participation, promote responsible behaviour and a sense of community ownership of the parks amongst children and adults.