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Community Learning: Connecting with nature to improve your mental health and wellbeing

Course overview

Weekdays at Merrist Wood College.

If you have a keen interest in the countryside and wildlife and would like to learn some new skills whilst getting active and meeting new people, then you might enjoy being part of the Countryside Group at Merrist Wood College, set in the beautiful Surrey countryside.

Join a community of like-minded people who enjoy working outdoors and caring for the environment. Reconnect with nature and yourself. Sign up today and embark on a journey of personal growth and environmental stewardship.

These courses are designed to support you through your journey into employment while promoting positive mental wellbeing. You’ll expand your general knowledge of the world around you. It might even lead to a new career in conservation!

This is one of our Community Wellbeing courses.

Our Community Wellbeing programme offers a series of FREE* courses to develop skills, knowledge, confidence and improve mental health and wellbeing for adults aged 19 and over. You are eligible for these funded places if you are aged 19 or over (at the start of the course) and earning an annual salary of less than £25,000 per annum (from 31 July 2025).

* If you earn above the £25K threshold, courses will be charged at £5 per hour.

For further details and terms and conditions, please visit our Community Wellbeing Page.

 

You’ll learn more about the plants growing in your local area and learn to identify trees in leaf. You will also explore tree ecology and cultural uses.

Topics covered in the course may include:

  • The different characteristics of flowering plants and using identification keys to name plants.
  • How and when to identify native reptiles in the field. Impacts affecting reptile populations and distribution.
  • Learn to name common trees and how to use an identification key to name unknown species. You will gain information on how these trees have been fundamental to the development of our culture.
  • How to identify mammal species by their characteristics. How their ecology may influence their habitat preferences and distribution. How species conservation status and population can be measured through surveying.
  • Learn how to use trees’ characteristics to accurately identify trees in the local environment. We will also discuss the ecology and cultural uses of tree species.
  • How and when to identify native reptiles in the field. Impacts affecting reptile populations and distribution.

You’ll learn more about the plants growing in your local area and learn to identify trees in leaf. You will also explore tree ecology and cultural uses.

You should have a natural curiosity, a desire to learn, and a willingness to get close to the natural world.

The following would also be very useful:

  • Pens and paper to take notes
  • Old clothes and sturdy footwear
  • Wet weather clothing in case of rain
  • Sun cream and a hat, in case the weather is hot

Explore our diverse range of courses in wildlife, conservation, and wellbeing:

  • Conservation of British Habitats
  • Practical Habitat Management course
  • Level 3 Diploma in Wildlife and Conservation
  • other courses in the Community Wellbeing series

Please search the website for further details.

We recommend you attend all sessions to get the most out of our courses.

If you require additional support, please advise us before enrolling so that we can investigate if this is available.

There are catering outlets on campus, but you are more than welcome to bring your own lunch/snacks/drinks with you.

There is free car parking on campus.

Course Starts in 206 Days
  • Flexible start - 19 July 2025
  • 10:00 - 14:00
  • Saturday
  • 1 Year
    • 16-18: Free

      Funded places are available on this course. Read the course description for details.

    • Adult: Free

      Funded places are available on this course. Read the course description for details.

Enquire about this course

Alternatively enrol by phone quoting OC02CP0A096Q or ask a question

Meet the tutors