Direct experience of nature promotes sustainable lifestyles

Direct experience of nature promotes sustainable lifestyles

“…empowering individuals to restore and maintain the Earth’s natural systems, it also supports the well-being of future generations by promoting sustainable lifestyles.” John Aquilina

The most sustainable lifestyle is to live completely with the land, an integrated part of this wild system we call nature. But we can’t all run off and live in the woods (as much as I’d like to!). To save the world, we need to save ourselves first. And to save ourselves – we need to get outside and play.

Play to Save the World!

“If we learn to enjoy being in wild places, we will look after them better.” Ray Mears

Playing outdoors was a major part of many of our childhoods and our parents and our grandparents before us. The world has drastically changed and a generation of children are growing up without a connection to the natural world.

Cities and towns have grown and faster communications pervade our virtual world. Many children prefer to play indoors because that’s where the electrical sockets are. And many parents are quite happy to let this continue, so a child’s only chance of a connection to nature might be through her educators. But environmental education can all too often place the emphasis on the global environmental situation.

Global V’s Local

Encouraging children, and some adults too, to make that first step towards rekindling a relationship with nature can be a difficult task. Understanding that the ice caps are melting is a far cry from enjoying a direct personal experience. Richard Louv was right when he wrote:

“The future of children in nature has profound implications not only for the conservation of land but also for the direction of the environmental movement.”

Reconnecting to Nature Through Direct Experience

Direct personal experience of nature in unbridled, wild play has a huge amount of benefits physically, psycologically, emotionally and spiritually. It can also lead to a deeper understanding of the relationship between ourselves and the environment. This is where sustainable living for the future exists. This is where Environmental Education exists – as a way to facilitate this direct personal experience.

The Next Step

Hannah has been leading school and youth sessions with a bushcraft theme for many years.

BUSHCRAFT FOR SCHOOLS

The Schools programme offers a wide range of activities where students can get hands-on experience. Activities include:

  • building shelters
  • collecting wood – building and lighting a fire (without matches!)
  • making cordage from natural fibres, such as nettles
  • studying wild edible plants
  • animal movements and tracks
  • playing nature awareness games to help understand animal behaviour
  • and many more…

Activities can also be linked directly with subjects already being covered by students on their school curriculum. And of course, bushcraft and survival skills already facilitate requirements for some elements of the National Curriculum and Key Stages.

BUSHCRAFT FOR YOUNG ADULTS

The Youth programme is focused on team based activities. The participants are set a challenge and develop new skills and increase awareness as they work together. This also helps to increase communication skills among the participants. This type of programme often highlights the teams and individuals strengths and weaknesses.

“A purposeful programme that can increase self- and nature-awareness.”

If you’re an Environmental Educator, school/college teacher or youth leader and wish to learn more about how bushcraft and survival skills knowledge can help you and your students reconnect with nature, contact Hannah through the Natural Pathways website.

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