and outdoor learning

Connecting people with nature and each other


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.


Ysella Wood


Freelance Forest School leader

Education Coordinator


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!


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!)

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.

Kelly Jeffs


Freelance Forest School Leader


Much of Kelly’s childhood was spent outdoors, growing vegetables, climbing trees and collecting ‘treasures’. She enjoys all aspects of being outside and it was this love for nature that inspired her to study Landscape Architecture, gaining a degree and a post graduate diploma. Kelly worked on a number of projects across the south of England and then took her passion over to New Zealand where she lived, worked and played for five years. Alongside her enthusiasm for the outdoors, Kelly loves to work with children and believes that children really thrive when given the freedom and space to explore their natural world. Kelly qualified as a Level 3 Forest School Leader in 2016 and since then has been working with a range of children in the woods. She loves watching children’s confidence and self-esteem develop over a series of sessions and is furthering her knowledge of child development and play therapy in the outdoors.

Ellie McEwan


Freelance Forest School Leader


Despite growing up in Norf London, Ellie was lucky enough to live near some green spaces but really developed her love of the outdoors spending summers exploring her Grandparents farm in Ireland.

Working towards the Forest School Leader award, is the next step on Ellie’s professional journey, which started as an Au-pair. Even (way) back then a child’s broken leg didn’t stop her from finding a way of getting outside! During 18 years working in Early Years Ellie has gained a Montessori Early Years Diploma and BA in Early Childhood Care and Education.

Ellie has always felt strongly about the importance of children having access to rich outdoor experiences and the more time she spends outside with children the more passionate she becomes. Naturally then she sort out forest school when she moved to Cornwall in early 2015 and discovered Badger Cubs for her two daughters, Amelia and Niamh, and now seems determined to never leave….



Denise Taylor


Freelance Forest School - Nurture Leader


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”

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.