Black Isle mum inspired to help 'wee wild hearts' connect with nature
A VENTURE to encourage more children to embrace the outdoors is being launched by a Black Isle mother.
Allana Mackay, who has set up Wee Wild Hearts, will be running sessions featuring activities from building shelters to toasting marshmallows in woodland near Tore.
The Munlochy mother-of-two was inspired to pursue the long-held dream by the experience of her nine-year-old son Kyle who struggles in a classroom environment but thrives in the outdoors and was recognised for his path-gritting efforts within his community over the winter.
"It highlighted that one size does not fit all for our children today," she said. "We need to give them more opportunities to connect with the outdoors and our natural surroundings in this technology-driven world that we live in."
Ms Mackay works full-time for children's charity MFR Cash for Kids and will be running the venture as a personal project in her spare time.
She has completed a course with an environmental charity at Findhorn to become an accredited woodland activity leader while the outdoor adventure venue, Wildwoodz, has made its site available to deliver small group sessions.
Members of the Community Payback team have helped to create paths through the woodland. Wooden items such as a bug table have also been provided by members of Tom's Cap Cabin, a group based at the Culduthel Christian Centre which gives its proceeds to Christians Against Poverty.
"We will be shelter building, doing bug hunts, camouflage and concealment games, marshmallow toasting and just embracing the natural surroundings while having fun in the forest," she said.
"It’s a very therapeutic place for us adults to be so the health benefits for children are incredible. It ignites a passion to get back to basics and ditch the screen time for some green time once in a while."