About Peni & Melissa
Happiest on her small holding sowing seeds, growing and harvesting vegetables for the local community and her family. She loves the whole process of seed to harvest and is a passionate fermenter. When not busy in her garden, Peni can be found on a windy hillside planting trees with Melissa and a group of children. She is a qualified Forest School Leader, mother, permaculturalist, market gardener, greenwoodworker and a professional musician.
As well as working with Green Steps, Peni has worked as a Youth Worker for Dr Mz and Outdoor instructor for Pendine Eduction Centre in Carmarthenshire.
“I am passionate about getting young people outside and connecting with nature and themselves. Being outside physically, in their bodies is really grounding and helps them to be present with what is happening now as opposed to living life on a screen.”
Melissa grew up in the shadow of Table Mountain, Cape Town and from her early days has been nourished by the beauty of the earth. After years of WOOFing she ended up at the Lammas eco-village becoming a bee keeper, seed saver, gardener and growing willow for basket making. She spent many years at Coleg Plasdwbl teaching basket making to students with complex learning difficulties.
Melissa’s Forest School journey began 2005 and she qualified as a Forest School Leader in 2008. Together with Peni, Melissa has spent many hours in the woods helping young people connect to nature and themselves. Her passion is to teach others what she has learnt along her journey which includes food growing, basket making and heart communication.
“I love to share the wonder of nature with children and adults. I believe it is the right of every child to play, outside, in the woods. Reconnecting with our food and building resilient communities is the most fundamental skills we can learn.”
Green Steps have been working in partnership with the Woodland Trust since 2016 when we became part of the Tree Charter celebration. We have worked with Dr Mz youth group and Coleg Sir Gar in Green Castle woods doing woodland management, coppicing and tree planting. During 2018 we worked closely with schools local to Coed Ffos Las, the Welsh Centaury Woodland Trust site to name the parcels of land. We have been the lead providers of the regional Tree Planting week since 2018. www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
Green Steps are freelance tutors for Tir Coed, a local woodland charity. Since 2016 we have delivered bespoke days as well as three month accredited programmes in sustainable woodland management and greenwood working skills. Working with both children and adults with learning difficulties, we have offered a range of activities that all work to boost people’s self-esteem and sense of well-being. www.tircoed.org.uk