Ecotherapy Activities

Please note we are currently pausing recruitment on the Ecotherapy Programme. We will re-open recruitment at the end of April 2024. 

On this page you can find out more about our Ecotherapy groups and where there are spaces. Ecotherapy participants can also access one to one mentoring support. If you would like to join Ecotherapy, complete an enrolment form or contact the Ecotherapy team via:

Monday Groups

Plot to Plate  – Mondays 10:00am-12:00pm year round at the Holgate Allotment site. Full for now.  

Help to manage the St Nicks allotments and learn practical skills. The site has raised beds, fruit trees, a variety of vegetables and a wildflower area that runs alongside a beck. This group is peer led. It is a quiet and spacious site, there is room to work on your own project in one area of the allotment or work together with the other volunteers. There is often healthy produce to take home!

Bearing Fruit – Mondays 1:00-3:00pm year round at St Nicks. Full for now. 

Be a part of our community orchard at St Nicks Local Nature Reserve; managing existing wildlife habitats and creating new ones. Help us look after our established fruit trees, soft-fruit sites and Yorkshire heritage apple trees. Learn conservation skills such as scything, pruning and hedge laying from our experienced tutors. A friendly and welcoming group where novices or those with more experience can learn at their own pace.

Tuesday Groups

Discover Nature - Tuesdays 10:00am-12:00pm year round at St Nicks. Full for now.

Join a safe and nurturing environment in which you can learn much more about the natural world. Sessions are seasonally themed and led by an expert tutor. Each week focuses on a different species or habitat with the opportunity to participate in wildlife-based activities, animal surveys and field trips planned around the migration of birds and animals throughout the year. The group usually takes an accessible walk and enjoys hot drinks and refreshments upon returning to the centre. We also arrange talks from local experts. There’s always something new to discover.

Discover Nature 'Closer Look' - Tuesdays 12:30-2:30pm year round at St Nicks. Full for now. 

An opportunity to learn about local wildlife in a friendly environment. Each sessions starts with a discussion about our chosen topic. We then head out onto the reserve for hands-on activities to record and learn about local species e.g. bumblebee surveys, bird territory mapping, and wildflower identification workshops. Participants will be provided with notebooks/journals to record key sightings, seasonal changes, and their response to nature. We aim to provide you with the skills and experience to become volunteer surveyors, adding to the pool of citizen scientists helping monitor the UK’s natural world. 

Willow Weaving - Tuesdays 3:00-5:00pm year round at St Nicks. Full for now.  

The Willow workshop will focus on basic willow weaving skills, which will then be practised and repeated to develop confidence and expertise. The group will batch make bird feeders, dragonflies, giant flowers and baskets, moving beyond learning to familiarity and ease with the weaves. No experience necessary, all tools and materials provided. Sessions will be outside, weather permitting. The course will run year round and will take short breaks throughout the year. Tutor Angela Cole will run the weekly sessions. To find out more about Angela’s work, please visit her website: Yorkshire Willow Baskets

Wednesday Groups

Art-based Creative Writing - Wednesdays 10:00am-12:00pm term-time at St Nicks. Full for now.

These sessions are an exciting way to develop creativity whilst making new discoveries about nature through observation. This group starts with the introduction of a theme for the morning’s writing or art followed by a short walk around the nature reserve or a peaceful sit. Taking in the sights and scents of the reserve for inspiration the group then gather to discuss their ideas. The tutor offers tasks and guidance for participants to contemplate whilst creating and making based upon their experience in nature.



Thursday Groups

Words from the Wild - Thursdays 10:00am-12:00pm year round at St Nicks and ‘on location’. Full for now.

Words from the Wild offers friendly social sessions for those interested in books, ideas and imagery with a link to the natural world. The sessions are run by Eco Book Club tutor William Davidson. There is no pressure to read the book independently, the experienced tutor picks passages for the group to enjoy as a shared reading experience each week. This is followed by a nature inspired writing task which the group discuss and then consider as they explore the reserve with the writing still fresh in their minds. Hot tea and biscuits are enjoyed by all at the end!

Wellies and Wheelbarrows - Thursdays 1:00pm-3:00pm year round at St Nicks. Closed for recruitment until Spring 24

In this group you will learn gardening, DIY and woodworking skills. Learn how to garden creatively using a variety of means including the use of container planting and making the most of smaller spaces. Growing activities include natural pest control, feeding, plant care, repotting, vegetable growing, herb gardening, and seed sowing and collecting.

Or learn handicraft and woodworking skills to repair, improve and decorate areas of the garden and the Eco-chalet or build nesting boxes for birds, hedgehogs and insects. There are activities that can be done with others from the group or tasks that can be done individually if you prefer to work alone. A tea break is enjoyed by everybody with time to socialise or explore the gardens. We have a seated area with tasks that can be done sitting down if you prefer.

Friday Groups

Making Tracks – Fridays 11:00am-1:00pm year round at Millennium Fields. Group paused until the end of March 24.

This group helps to support the conservation work of St Nicks at Millennium Fields in York, whilst improving participants’ mental and physical wellbeing. Participants will have the opportunity to learn new skills, meet others, build confidence and improve our local wildlife habitats. The group will manage orchards, woodlands for butterfly conservation and riverside habitats for Tansy beetles. Tasks will include conservation skills such as coppicing, scything, planting and seed sowing.

The sessions are flexible and no previous experience is necessary. There will be a break half way through the session. Accessible toilets and facilities are located nearby. On local bus routes and cycle pathways.

Location: Millennium Fields meeting point.

Upcoming Groups

Bushcraft 2024 -  new dates and details to be announced soon.