Over the last year we (Trudi and Daniel) have been refining how we can best provide nature connection opportunities for families in Perth. Through Educated by Nature we have set up regular Mud Pies Nature Playgroups, run successful KIN Village school holiday programs, have established two after school Bush Inventors’ Clubs, developed a partnership program with libraries and have provided one-off events for families with young children.
Although the benefits of nature connection are well documented and widely known work still needs to be done on finding ways to reduce the barriers. Families, schools and individuals still find it difficult to make nature connection, time outdoors and a return to basic play elements a valued part of everyday routine.
Nature connection looks different for different people. We see this adventure as an opportunity to expand our repertoire and increase the tools we have to offer a more diverse range of nature connection experiences for children.
In 2014, when we told our upper primary students that we would be setting up our own ‘Wild Space’ enterprise, one of the students asked if we would be working for ‘pinecones’ too or if we were working for real money.
Starting up a social enterprise, we often feel we are working for pinecones. We have managed to scrape enough ‘real money’ together to book our airfares and the main training course. There are a lot of amazing people we would like to visit and learn from but we are afraid that the bus drivers, hostels and supermarkets will not trade in ‘pinecones’ with us.
This is where you come in. We are asking for support to make this the richest and most educational experience possible so that we can return to Australia with the knowledge and skills to enhance the nature connection experiences for the Western Australian community.
There are numerous amazing nature connection programs in the USA and UK. We are venturing on a study tour and training mission to connect with these people in person – learning new skills, techniques and programs to bring back to families and schools in Western Australia.
Throughout this adventure we plan to record and upload a video blog to help support the nature connection community. Here are some of the programs we intend to visit with the funds raised:
- IslandWood – Outdoor Learning Centre, Bainbridge Island, Seattle
- Wolf Camp and the Conservation College – Lake Sammamish, Seattle
- Wilderness Awareness School – Nature Connection and Survival Skills School, Dauvall
- Brightworks – Tinkering School, San Francisco
- Nature’s Theatre – Outdoor storytelling, Sacramento
- Nature Kids Institute – Nature Connection Advocacy and Communication, Sacramento
- 8 Shields – Art of Mentoring training, Camp Navarro
- Ithaca Children’s Garden – Anarchy Zone Adventure Playground, Ithaca
- Play:Ground and other Adventure Playgrounds – New York City
- Cowgate Under Fives Early Childhood Centre – Nature Pedagogy, Edinburgh
- Auchlone Nature Kindergarten – Founded by Claire Warden, Perthshire
- International Association of Pedagogues Conference – Trudi speaking alongside David Sobel, Anders Farstad & Claire Warden, Scotland