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Try your Puck at some Shakespearean flower spotting

The Woodland Trust has partnered with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to create a set of woodland themed activities aimed at primary school children.  It is encouraging Cumbria pupils to go out and find the plants and trees described in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The activity supports Shakespeare Week which runs from 12 – 18 March 2018. Organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare Week gives primary school children a fun insight into Shakespeare’s works, life and times, immersing them in cross-curricular activities such as performing the plays, storytelling and narrative exploration.

The Woodland Trust taking part by highlighting how flowers and plants, such as honeysuckle and primrose, had vibrant roles in the majestic forest in the 16th century play.

The play describes the natural environment filled with oxlips, wild thyme and the sweet scent of musk that surrounds Titania as she sleeps in the forest (act two, scene one):

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”

The forest is home to fairies including the tricky Puck, Queen of the Fairies Titania and runaway lovers Lysander and Hermia – colourful characters that make studies of the play so appealing to primary school students.

The Woodland Trust’s activity sheet stimulates character, writing and setting analysis. Primary school children can create a woodland theatre from natural, loose objects and tell their own stories of mystical adventure.  Find out more here: woodlandtrust.org.uk/shakespeare

Karen Letten, School Engagement Manager at the Woodland Trust explains: “We are always looking for exciting ways to engage school children with the woods and making it educational and rewarding for both students and teachers. We were able to fill our activity sheet with some iconic plants from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – we are sure pupils will love to search for them in their local enchanted wood”.

Sally Gray, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust added: “This year Shakespeare Week has a storytelling and poetry theme, and we’re delighted to work with the Woodland Trust to give pupils a host of activities that develop different skills and enable them to discover Shakespeare’s stories in an exciting, cross-curricular way.”

Shakespeare Week is free to access for teachers, families and home educators. Go to shakespeareweek.org.uk to sign up for hundreds of free resources, fun activities and events to explore and celebrate Shakespeare’s creative genius.

Although Shakespeare Week begins 12 March, the plant spotting activity sheet is available throughout the year to primary schools that are signed up to the Woodland Trust’s Green Tree School Award scheme. Schools are given access to eco-activities and awards are available when the school tallies enough points for completion.

The Green Tree Schools Award has seen over 9, 800 schools sign up since it was launched in 2008 and offers the opportunity to bring the great outdoors, wildlife and green issues into the classroom.

It is free for schools to take part in, and during 2018 the Woodland Trust is also offering free packs of trees to schools. Find out how your school can get involved at woodlandtrust.org.uk/schools

Cumbia has some wonderful woods that are home to a variety of oak trees. Why not take a look in Great Knott Wood in Windermere and Dufton Ghyll Wood. You can find your local woods at woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods.

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