The Team

We are a team of qualified Forest School leaders with experience of delivering outdoor programmes to a wide range of groups over the last five years. We love being out in nature, especially in woodland areas and we want to share this with as many people as possible so that they can become stewards of the natural world for the future and encourage their own children to discover the joy of being in the natural world. Because of the support we give each other, we’re a really strong team and this is of great benefit to the participants on our projects.

 Jan Barr in the woods with a groupJan Barr

As a former primary school teacher, I am acutely aware that mainstream education does not suit all children. I’ve worked as a Forest School Leader since 2011. The ethos is focussed on child-led learning and building self-esteem & resilience through group work in a woodland setting.

I love working with people & I love being out in nature so I have found my passion. Not only does the work we do improve the lives of our participants (and it turns out that all ages from toddlers to retired people can benefit) but it has had a massive positive impact on my life too. I feel incredibly lucky to have found a job that I’d do for free and yet be able to earn a living from it.

Geraldine new and resizedGeraldine Keita

I returned to the UK about ten years ago, and now raise my three young children in the east part of the Scottish Borders.  I spent my own childhood between the two extremes of Shetland and Hong Kong.  Wherever I have lived I have always search out the wild places, be that through hiking in Hong Kong, to coastal/forest walks in the UK.

My interest in, and care for the environment was instilled in me at an early age by my parents, and led me to read Environmental Studies BSc (Hons) at University, and I wish to pass on this passion about the natural world to others.  I feel that it is essential for children and young people to get active outdoors throughout the year, away from screens and technology, and through forest school become good team-players, confident and resilient individuals, who get along with others.

Ruth NobleRuth Noble

I have always enjoyed spending time in the outdoors, whether camping (in my camper van) or hiking. I studied French which led me into a career in publishing, however a few years ago I became very bored with looking at the computer and started volunteering on Forest School sessions. Soon I was offered the opportunity to train as a Forest School leader and since then I have never looked back!

I am now completing a Masters in Outdoor Environmental Education, part of which has involved a placement in local schools delivering ‘Ecoheroes’, an environmental education programme designed to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint. I am also qualified to facilitate ‘Carbon Conversations’ courses for adults, again aimed at reducing carbon emissions. My main aim is to help reconnect people with nature and I think Forest School is a great way to do this.

When I’m not out in the woods doing Forest School one of my ‘hobbies’ is trail running, discovering the hills and forests of the Borders and beyond.

Cat new and resizedCatriona Hamilton

I’m a Mum to two teenage sons & a carer to my eldest who has a complex medical history & learning difficulties. I grew up with the wonderful outdoors as my playground, climbing trees, up the river fishing or away into the woods building dens. I loved learning about wild flowers & wildlife and ‘growing my own’ in my Dad’s allotment. These early years taught me so much, though I doubt I realized that at the time. I was too busy having fun. I feel that way too many kids miss out on that today, due to the amount of time they spend indoors attached to their games consoles & smart phones.

I have worked in the woods for over two years now, on a variety of projects with children & young adults. As a trained Forest School Assistant Leader, I am able to support others to learn & develop a range of new skills. It’s very rewarding seeing the positive benefits offered by Nature Unlimited’s programmes, (which are based on the Forest School ethos) whilst working with wonderful like-minded people, within the most beautiful workplace I could wish for.

MichalMichal Kielo

Father of 3 daughters, scout since the age of 8, then scout leader and instructor.  I have been volunteering for Nature Unlimited since early 2016. I am interested in all outdoor activities, archery, survival and trained in bushcraft. Camping and spending the night in my hammock have always been a big part of my life. Now as a father I would like to pass my passion to my daughters and other children. I do believe that nature and contact with it is one of the most important parts of early education and will benefit to all of us in the future. The foundation of my ideology is simply concluded in an old Cree Prophecy: “When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money”.

Carleton Blackwell with his two dogsCarleton Blackwell

My love for the outdoors started at an early age, coming from a farming and construction background.  As a boy I would spend my summers learning all the countryside ways from the old boys on the farm, learning to live off the land. At the age of nine, I was sent off to a military style school where a retired SAS major took me under his wing and filled my weekends making dens, traps and learning to live under canvas.  I left school with lots of great memories but not a lot of pieces of paper. So I went straight into a three year, old style, apprenticeship in horticulture where I learnt all about plants and their uses from, again, an old boy who wanted to pass on his knowledge before retiring.  I passed as the top student and spent the next 10 years as a nurseryman. Adventure in the outdoors was still calling so I joined the TA where I learned more outdoor skills, team work and leadership skills. 

I then got married and we had our first son and decided Essex was too busy so moved to Scotland ten years ago. We then had our second son up here.

Since moving to Scotland, I have been honing in my bushcraft skills and completed my Forest School training. Working with Nature Unlimited gives me the opportunity to help kids learn by doing, like I did, as sitting at a desk doesn’t suit everyone.

I have also been a SBC walk-it leader for 8 years and volunteer with other groups in my spare time.

Untitled Angus Fernie

I was born and raised in East End of Glasgow but moved to Cumbernauld when I was aged six. The move, at that time to a brand new town, was to a young lad brought up in Glasgow like living in a fantastic playground. I spent many a happy day playing in the woods around the new housing areas.

After leaving school I served my time as an apprentice, qualifying as a welder fabricator,  however I was unsettled and needed a change. I left Cumbernauld and joined the army,  serving as a tank soldier based in Germany and Canada for three years. When I returned I moved to London taking my new, young wife with me. We lived in London and then Northamptonshire where we raised two wonderful children who have now blessed us with two wonderful grandchildren.

We moved back home to Scotland 10 years ago and have lived in Galashiels since returning.  Fortunately for me I was able to take early retirement which has given me the gift of time.

When  I was living in Northamptonshire I became a school governor working with my wife who is a deputy head teacher in primary education. The joy of helping young children to achieve even small steps cannot but underestimated . When the opportunity presented itself to help out with Nature Unlimited I jumped at the chance. My love of cooking, outdoors and sharing any skills that I can pass on to others has made it so worthwhile. If we can make a difference to just one child or young adult then it’s all worth it, that’s why I joined the team.