Posts filed under ‘Personal Development’

Taking Time for the Little Things

Take time to notice the little things

I often read Richard Louv’s highly inspirational blogs and various posts.  He is the author of Last Child in the Woods, the man who coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder”, and is a keen advocate for getting our children into the outdoors to experience nature, and more importantly to make the connections that we are rapidly losing as the pace of modern living continues to accelerate an alarming rate.

One of his recent blogs, The Little Things, struck a particular chord with me, and I wanted to share it with you.  In his post, he invites his audience to be mindful of the little things, the things in our daily lives that we constantly overlook.  The familiar smells, sights and sounds in the minutiae of life.  He asks his readers to pay attention to the familiar things when the house is empty  (“in the silence, look for the little things”), and when the family returns again, to do the same.  “These little things are everything”.

You can read the full blog here :

Similarly, when you are out in nature, even if this is in your back garden or yard, or the local park, take time to be mindful here too, to be aware of “the little things,” the things you take for granted, the things you overlook as you rush through your busy life.  Slow down, take the time to stop and listen.  And in your imagination create a little mind map of your experience.  You will be pleasantly surprised at what you notice.  Perhaps memories will be evoked.  Perhaps you will be inspired to be creative.  Maybe you will notice some sounds that are no longer there; a particular bird song that is missing, for example.

And in being mindful of the little things, the bigger things can gain their proper perspective and context, and life becomes much richer.

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Education 4 Conservation has a series of workshop programmes designed to focus participants on the “little things” through awareness of sound.  The first of the workshops, Soundwalk Warwickshire, will be delivered in spring 2012.  

December 30, 2011 at 8:41 pm Leave a comment

Soundwalk Warwickshire – an appeal for help

We have made it through the first round of the Nat West Community Force funding application.  We have now been invited to post photographs and videos and have to put some effort into encouraging people to vote for our project.

As well as posting photographs and videos another idea would be to create a dynamic and media-rich presentation that would tell the world all about Soundwalk Warwickshire and what we are trying to achieve.

To achieve this we need some volunteers to help us put this together .  I have put the basic framework of the presentation together, but now need to add in graphics, additional photos, video footage and a soundtrack.

If you would like to get involved and help us get this programme off the ground please get in touch.

About Soundwalk Warwickshire

Soundwalk Warwickshire is part of our larger Wild Echoes workshop programme which focuses on acoustic ecology.  Our aim is to explore the natural world and our cultural heritage through sound and acoustics.  We will offer a wide range of activities from the very simple to the highly complex.

At a very basic level a soundwalk could simply be a walk in the park, woodland, farmland, an urban environment.  The only criteria are that the soundwalker(s) become attuned to their aural landscape and take some time to reflect on their experiences.

At a more complex level we will be recording natural and displaced natural sounds and using art and technology to create soundscape pieces.  We will also explore what sound, noise, silence and acoustics means to different cultures across different timelines.  For example, exploring historical soundscapes and comparing them with modern soundscapes.

If you want to be a part of this exciting journey, then please get in touch.

August 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

Learning from nature

Working with large, charismatic animals is surely one of the most rewarding things you can do, and I’ve long known that we have so much to learn from them.  Indeed humans have been learning from other species for millenia.  It is so sad, then, that we continue to persecute the Earth’s large mammals to such an extent that population numbers are now drastically reduced to dangerously low levels.

The proud beasts of the forests and plains survive in pockets of wild habitat that are also shrinking as a result of human encroachment.

The link to the article below in today’s Independent touches on the importance of trophic cascade (the importance of apex predators in the web of life), and also the parallels that can be drawn between our species and others.  For example, the importance of family groups and social structures.

Big cats are on the brink.  This article is a plea for us to take heed and to really learn the lessons, not just for the sake of the big cats, but for our own as well.  The world will be much diminished if these wonderful creatures disappear from the landscape once and for all.  With fewer than 900 tigers left in India time is running out….

July 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Young People learn new skills

Young people in their natural shelter

Eight young people gained new skills and experience that will help them with their next steps in life, whether this is finding a job, a place on a training course, or coping with life in general. 

The Bushcraft and Personal Development Workshop took place over a nine week period, with the young people spending one day a week in the forest, leading to an overnight stay in natural shelters they had built.  This was followed by time in a recording studio mixing and editing their found sounds into music tracks, and editing film footage. 

Click here for the press release distributed about this programme.

July 11, 2010 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

Bushcraft and Personal Development

Education 4 Conservation in partnership with Wild Earth, has just successfully completed the first of three Bushcraft and Personal Development workshops, with funding received from CSWP (Coventry, Solihull, and Warwickshire Partnership), and the Warwickshire Youth Opportunity Fund.

Working with a group of young people aged 16 to 19, the six week programme has included learning bushcraft and forest skills which are a great way of connecting with youngsters, personal development, and CV writing and job search skills. 

Setting up a camp is an integral part of the course, and involved making fires, shelter-building, collecting water and gathering wild foods.  Everything is back to basics.  Fire is created by friction, so involved a bit of hard work and knowing the right techniques.  Shelters have to be weather-proof (and in snowy and wet conditions this in itself is a challenge), and food and water have to be safe to eat and drink. 

As well the camp basics, the young people also learn about nature, but more importantly, they learn a lot about themselves.  Many courses use the hackneyed phrase “confidence building”, but in this case it is great to see young people’s confidence in their abilities really develop. 

The group has to work as a team in order to get everything done.  If a fire is not built, there is no heat to keep warm and to cook food and heat water.  Everyone has to pull their weight to collect wood and kindling, and keep the fire tended.  The shelter keeps everyone dry, especially in wet and cold conditions, and is an essential part of the camp.   Collecting and purifying water is another important task. 

In this country, we are never very far from civilisation, but some basic orienteering skills are essential as it is still possible to become lost when you’re in a forest or woodland.  Map reading and orienteering skills are also valuable skills to learn. 

Although it is hard work, and for many young people bushcraft is something completely new and unusual for them, everyone has fun and really enjoys this part of the programme. 

The other essential part of this course for this age group was to learn CV writing and interview skills.   The woodland experiences were used to focus on key transferable skills that are necessary in finding a job and adapting to a workplace or education setting.   Communication, teamwork, perseverance, project management, using initiative, are all skills that employers like to see. 

Some fun indoor activities using visualisation techniques and role play highlighted the connection between the lessons learning in the camp and woodland, and how these could be used to make a CV more interesting, and also give the young people good experiences to talk about at interview stage. 

The group spent time developing their personal profiles for their CV, and practising interview techniques in a simulated job interview setting. 

The next six week programme is due to start in March 2010, followed by work on the larger Nocturne acoustic ecology programme. 

If you would like further information about our courses and workshops, please contact us.

February 28, 2010 at 10:19 am Leave a comment

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