and outdoor learning

Connecting people with nature and each other

About Badger Forest School

Badger Forest School & Outdoor Learning was established in August 2013 by Claire Whalley and aims to Connect People with Nature and Each Other through a variety of exciting learning opportunities in a range of outdoor environments.


We aim to give children and adults a positive learning experience within an outdoor environment.


  • We strive to provide children with experiences that encourage confidence, self esteem, independence and ready to take part in lifelong learning. This is done through small achievable tasks and developed over regular sessions. We strongly promote appreciation, awareness and knowledge of the natural environment throughout the seasons, using all their senses, learning to respect and care for the environment.


  • We are passionate about hands on learning, giving time to explore, experiment, take risks, work as a team, taking part in team challenges as well as individual. We allow time for children to take part in child-initiated play and learning to encourage decision making and positive wellbeing.


  • We play games to teach children to understand boundaries and set standards of behaviour, to work cooperatively in groups and to respect each other. We encourage positive relationships between all participants, modelling positive reinforcement, praise and feedback.


All L3 leaders are experienced educators, outdoor first aiders and hold enhanced DBS certificates. Everyone is mobile so we can travel to your school, pre-school, college or other setting, carrying our insurances and risk assessment with us.


Claire Whalley


Founder of Badger Forest School and Outdoor Learning


Claire is an experienced primary school teacher, with 16 years experience. She is a Level 3 Forest School Leader and qualified Beach school leader. She lives in Wadebridge, North Cornwall.


Claire trained as a Forest school Leader at Bridgwater college in 2008 and has been passionate about it ever since! She has worked in a variety of places including a Montessori school in Thailand, mainstream schools in the UK and a British school in Portugal. She has regularly implemented Forest School and outdoor learning into the primary curriculum and has seen how it creates positive learning experiences and wellbeing. She is dedicated to sharing this ethos with children from 0-99 years! She moved to Cornwall from Somerset and set up Badger Forest School & Outdoor Learning in August 2013.


Claire now loves working with schools, pre-schools and colleges in term time. She has recently led workshops at the Eden Project and at a variety of festivals.


David Whalley


Forest School  Assistant


David (AKA ‘Daddy David’) is a very important person at Badger Forest School and is Claire’s dad, accountant and brilliant fire assistant. He is now retired and loves coming along to help in the woods. You will usually find David chopping wood, singing camp fire songs and making dens. In his spare time he loves surfing, playing tennis, kayaking, yoga and ballroom dancing (not bad for nearly 70!)

Ysella Wood


Freelance Forest School leader


Growing up in Cornwall, Ysella has always adored nature and the great outdoors. After successfully completing MSc in Zoo Conservation Biology with her research placement in South Africa, she embarked on an environmental education internship with the Wildlife Trust.


Gaining Forest School Leader Level 3 in 2013, Ysella volunteered at Badger Forest School whilst working at the Eden Project, before moving to Oxfordshire as a Forest School Coordinator in an urban primary school. There she successfully established Forest School, developed the grounds for effective outdoor learning and gained valuable experience of teaching within school setting.


Aiding personal growth such as self-confidence and resilience, inspiring others and sharing new discoveries in our amazing natural world, is something Ysella finds truly magical and special.


Ysella is thrilled to be back in Cornwall again and on the Badger team - she cannot wait to share her passion with you!


Barney Whalley


Forest School Assistant


Hi my name is Barney and I am 1 years old. I have been coming to Badger Forest School since I was 10 weeks old and I have the best job in the world. I love exploring the woods, meeting new friends and playing in the stream. I am in training to be a therapy dog. I look forward to meeting you all soon.

Julie Ricard


Freelance Forest School leader


A teacher and a potter, Julie has recently trained as a Level 3 Forest School leader to combine all of the things she loves with her passion for the outdoors and nature. Having worked in education in many different roles, she enjoys working with all ages and abilities. What she loves most about Forest School is that it gives everyone a chance to discover what they are good at and explore the world in their own way. Amongst her many favourite things at Forest School are firelighting, tool work and natural art and she loves helping children and adults to get creative in nature. Most of all, she believes in the amazing benefits of outdoor play and learning for us all.



Forest School Assistant


Denise’s love for nature and being outdoors stems from growing up in Cornwall and having free rein to explore the coast and countryside. After leaving Cornwall at 16 to explore the wider world Denise was, on her return, motivated to study a BSc in Countryside Management. This was due to discovering many of her childhood haunts had fallen under development. Denise says “one of my greatest motivations is to encourage a connection to nature for one and all. Fostering a connection with natural spaces will, I dream, encourage more creative ways to live alongside nature rather than build upon it”

Denise has a background in social inclusion, working with many individuals from a variety of backgrounds in a variety of settings. She believes that everyone should have an equal access to opportunities. Since qualifying as a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner in May 2016 Denise has specialised in working with individuals on a one to one basis. This role pulls together her working experiences so far. Denise is truly inspired at how outdoor learning experiences enable an individual’s confidence and abilities to flourish in a short space of time. “It’s my dream job and I am delighted to be part of the Badger Forest School team”

Nick Waitz


Freelance Outdoor Leader


Nick has always enjoyed the outdoors and grew up in a city with access to a large wooded garden in which to have many imaginative adventures and learn much about nature. Having moved to a Cornish Village when he started secondary school really allowed him to explore and begin to understand nature's ecosystems. He followed this interest to become a Science teacher and outdoor education instructor to then work for 7 years in a very 'outdoorsy' school. The Permaculture Design Certificate led him away from the classroom and into the growing of food, design of abundant landscapes, building of ponds and planting of trees as well as learning many other sustainable technologies. He was immediately drawn to the ethos and 'down to earth' practicality of Forest School and he is at his happiest when supporting others in their explorations and discoveries in nature.