Who we are
All our team are experienced, qualified, and supported to deliver excellent and safe health and learning experiences outdoors. They are here to support you.
Michéal Connors: BSc (Hons), PGCE (FE),
Dip Couns, Dip Sup, MLUK
Michéal is co founder of Outdoor College. He is an educationalist with a special interest in outdoor learning and nature connection. He has led different learning areas in FE colleges in London and the South West. In the past 10 years he has been focussing on outdoor learning thorugh The Natural Academy which offers adults opportunities to develop careers in Green Care, Nature Health & Wellbeing and Ecotherapy. As an eco-psychologist, mountain leader, author and holistic health and wellbeing professional he has over 25 years of experience of education, training and facilitation of learning. He is a qualified psychotherapist, supervisor and FE lecturer. He taught and led departments in counselling and psychotherapy and has a deep understanding of innovative education. He has been working in the health sector for the past 12 years developing self-care services for people with cancer and with long-term conditions. Within this role he created eco-therapy services and nature and health residential courses for people affected by cancer. He is currently working with a number of different nature-based organisations helping develop sustainable reciprocal nature connection services and education programmes. He is a musician, poet, song writer, Father and Grandparent.
Rhonda Brandrick: Dip Couns,
Dip Supervision, Forest School,
Health & Tutor Life Skills
Rhonda is a nature-based practitioner, supervisor, counsellor, teacher, author and nature vision quest guide. She brings a wealth of experience from her many years of working with the heath, healing and wellbeing of people individually and in groups. With her deep curiosity about our human-nature reciprocal relationship with the earth and our on-going personal and collective development within this, she has been apprenticing as a wilderness guide with Animas Valley Institute and Bill Plotkin for the past 5 years. She is dedicated to helping nature-based practitioners develop the skills and knowledge to work with people and also for them to have access to the support they need to work optimally with their participants. Rhonda loves dancing, Samba drumming, dream working and is a Mother and Grandmother.
Alice Sidwell, BSc Psyc. MTI.
Alice is an Outdoor Educator, Massage Therapist, and Environmentalist with a background in inclusion and community play. With a degree in Psychology and training in Massage and Bodywork, Ecopsychology and Nature based practice, Intuitive Herbalism and Playwork with Environmental play, Alice brings a holistic, compassionate and energetic approach to her work with people. As an Outdoor Educator Alice has worked as a group leader, developed training and support for teenage volunteers, run a sustainable food project and foraging walks, mentored children and young people at risk of exclusion from school in the outdoors and on a working farm. She is excited to be creating a progressive learning and healing environment for young people where she can also use her gifts and love and of organising and connecting people to help impassion young people and support them towards careers which work with the land.
Alice practices yoga, swims outdoors, grows food, makes preserves and herbal remedies for her family and loves dance and to ride her bike.
Rachel Manley (BA hons)
Life Skills Tutor
Qualified Level 3 Forest School Leader in 2012 and set up WildWood Adventures the following year running Forest School programmes and workshops, wild family days and holiday sessions. She has designed and run long term Forest School programmes for a number of schools. In addition she now offers broader accredited Level 1 and 2 Outdoor Learning training for teachers and inset days for schools in and around Bristol aswell as providing activities for Pukka Herb and Woodland Trust events and regular content for the RSPB children’s magazine.
The idea of educating through nature brings together Rachel’s experience of teaching young adults English as a qualified TEFL teacher in the UK and abroad, and years working for the Wildlife Trusts in Oxfordshire. She attributes her connection to nature from growing up immersed in the Devon countryside.
Rachel continues to offer Forest School and Level 2 Outdoor Practitioner Trainer and develop her practice through being the secretary and active member of the Forest School South West group which provides quarterly practitioner gatherings and skill share. Last year she organised a conference open to all FSA members providing a variety of workshops and CPD. She regularly enhances her professional skills and has attained Level 2 food hygiene certificate, Paediatric First Aid, Basic Knife skills, Senco support and Storytelling course.
Adrian Brooks (MSc)
Adrian is the land owner and co founder of Outdoor College. He has spent far too many years to mention in the construction industry, so has now set his sights on building and developing something a little bit different but with a shared ethos and similar principles.
Creating an engaging and stimulating environment to allow people to maximise their potential. So instead of bricks, glass and air conditioning, it will be trees, plants and fresh air.
Adrian’s project management skills have been readily transferable in setting the objectives and goals for the Outdoor College and then moving this forward with the team to fruition. He also has the task of ensuring compliance, quality and financial control, so may have the unenviable task from time to time to reign in the more creative members of the team!
Adrian is acutely aware that individuals, groups and communities need to be inspired towards positive change that will help us all live, learn and work as well as we can, sustainably, happier and in greater harmony with our natural environment. This was both his and Michael’s vision and the forming reason for the Outdoor College.
We have a remarkable resource with our fantastic woodland and if we can combine this with our new health and transformational educational offering, then we will make great strides to achieve our goals and move our vision more towards a reality’
As you would expect, Adrian likes nothing better than being in the outside, be that with his family or just on his own, sat in his favourite quiet spot.
Jonny Watler, BA(Hons)
Health & Land Management Tutor
Jonny is an Outdoor Educator, Organic Grower and Gardener with a background in therapeutic horticulture and mentoring young people. After completing a degree Jonny has worked in, studied and campaigned around sustainable food production. Jonny has completed a two year apprenticeship in Biodynamic Horticulture and Agriculture at Ruskin Mill College, a college for young people between 16 and 24 with special educational needs. As well as working on the farm and garden Jonny also undertook work as a tutor at the college. Alongside this work Jonny has sought to deepen his practice through completing his full Permaculture Design Course and also a Coppice Management course at the Green Wood Center, as well as a Certificate in Ecopsychology and Nature Based Practice and a foundational year in Intuitive Herbalism. Jonny also works as an Outdoor Leader and Educator, working with school children leading walks and teaching outdoor skills for Swainswick Explorers. Rewilding, ecology and travelling in remote places are particular passion for Jonny.
Rhiannon Marshall BA hons
Rhiannon is an organic vegetable farmer and gardener and has been involved with a variety of community land skill projects. She begun developing her horticultural skills as a cut flower farmer in Wiltshire. After completing an RHS level 2 qualification in practical horticulture she went on to work at The Community Farm, where she pursued her passion for farming and food production. The farm is also heavily focused on community engagement centred around reconnecting people with their food system. She is keen to develop bidoverse agroecological farming methods, innovative soil health practices and continue to work with the community to sharing skills and experiences.