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Posted by dom in young people, workshop

25 October 2023

Autism, climate change and anarchy

A young person collecting edible plants whilst on the shoulder of her brother.

A young person collecting edible plants as part of a Reens Wood workshop held in Troon, Cornwall funded by Feast. Photograph: Andy Hughes

A group of us gained funding to co-create an event aimed to engage not only those who could no longer walk to The Reens – a woodland in Troon, Cornwall – but also targeted children and young people. The event comprised an outdoor workshop in Reens Wood and a gaming session in Troon Village Hall, both of which proved to be engaging and educational experiences.

The combination of the workshop in Reens Wood and the gaming area in Troon Hall provided young participants with a unique opportunity to interact with the natural environment and gain knowledge about medicinal and edible plants. The incorporation of virtual elements and creative activities, such as making rafts and Mini Landscapes, added an element of excitement and curiosity to the event. Moreover, the waiting area for children to draw their memories of The Reens allowed them to actively participate from the outset, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.


Two sisters with their mother holding onto a raft they've made in the woods.

A family pleased with a raft they've made to race with other young people in Reens Woods. Photograph: Andy Hughes

Feedback from participants, both young and old, revealed that they thoroughly enjoyed the event and described it as fun, good, nice, and cool. The use of Mini Landscapes as a form of artistic expression allowed families to share their individual perspectives on the landscape and its significance to them, showcasing the rich diversity of experiences within the community.

Indeed, the incorporation of themes like autism and climate change in the Mini Landscapes showcased the young people’s thoughtfulness and inclusive mindset. At first the work they did seemed anarchic and disruptive. However, their was a realisation as the workshop ended that it demonstrated their awareness of important community concerns and their willingness to express and address these issues through creative means.


A young person sitting on the floor of a woodland making a model out of material in the woodland.

Young people making a model to show climate change in the landscape. Photograph Andy Hughes

The theme of autism in one of the Mini Landscapes indicates that the young participants were considerate of individuals on the autism spectrum and wanted to acknowledge and include them in the community narrative. By incorporating this theme, they highlighted the importance of inclusivity and understanding within the community.

The inclusion of climate change as a theme in another Mini Landscape reflects the young people’s concern for the environment and their desire to raise awareness about this critical global issue. Addressing climate change through their creative expression showed their engagement with the broader challenges faced by society and their desire to make a positive impact.

A close of a tank that has been flooded with water after being planted with flora from the woodland.

A group of young people made a Mini Landscape and flooded it with water after arranging plants from the forest floor around its base. Photograph: Andy Hughes