Skelton Grange Environment Centre, run by The Conservation Volunteers, celebrated its 20th anniversary this weekend!! Based on a ten acre nature reserve at Stourton in south Leeds, the award winning eco building and education centre has enriched more than 100,000 lives since it was opened in 1992.
On Saturday May 12, the Skelton Grange team celebrated with over a hundred former volunteers, staff and supporters. People came with families to meet old and new friends, take part in green woodworking and craft workshops and enjoyed photos and film from the twenty year archive. Guests were also treated to a fabulous buffet created by a Skelton volunteer who now runs her own organic catering business, accompanied by beer from a local independent brewery.
As darkness approached, the group went on a lantern-lit, promenade of storytelling, music and theatre, a very entertaining and hilarious walk through the story of Skelton over 20 years.
One of those who joined the celebration is Tom Crouch who first visited Skelton Grange aged eight.
Now aged 27, Tom is a regular volunteer at the centre teaching the next generation of children about the environment.
"I loved coming as a child and learning about wildlife. Since then I've gone on to be a full time environmental educator in America and now I'm back volunteering at Skelton two days a week. A lot of the children who visit Skelton Grange come from urban areas and haven't had the chance to explore. It's really good to be able to help them discover nature and learn about their environment."
The reserve functions as an outdoor classroom where people can learn, play, explore and discover and throughout this year there will be a number of public celebration events.
Skelton Grange is managed in partnership with National Grid, and combines volunteering, learning and community action and has a lively Friends of Skelton Grange community group which runs practical tasks to improve the centre, training opportunities, open days and trips to other projects and locations.
The centre also runs Wild in the Woods sessions that improve children's self esteem and confidence through exciting woodland challenges and tasks. Holiday play-schemes operate from the centre and free Wildlife Club meets monthly.
To find out more about Skelton Grange and join in with its activities, please visit www.tcv.org.uk/skeltongrange. If you would like to support the centre's amazing work, any donations made today through Local Giving will be doubled, and we can do twice the good stuff!