For the Love of Learning Epi#116
For the Love of Learning – Building Community in Nature
Monday, September 18, 2017, 6:30pm-8:30pm EDT
Monday, September 18, 2017, 11:30pm-1:30am BST
Tonights show discusses the importance and science of getting out into the great outdoors to learn and explore in nature. The panelists include experts in survival and wilderness skills. In particular, we discuss how being in nature as a group inspires teamwork and builds community.
Having grown up in the English countryside, Mat has had a passion for all things outdoors from a young age. When Mat was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 11, exploring and adventuring in nature was his sanctuary from school. His frustrations with the services for young people continued after school too, as he was met with difficulty finding an apprenticeship due to the legal restrictions placed on 16-18 year-olds on building sites. Despite his confidence taking a knock at school, Mat never gave up and has always been an incredibly hard worker. Combining this energy with his passion for outdoor education, adventuring and teamwork, he has travelled the world completing extreme fitness and endurance events both on land and sea.
Mat’s skills in survival, teamwork and leadership led him to set up Roots Adventure, an outdoor education and training company “Where the outdoors becomes the classroom, and fresh air and exercise are the teachers”. The ethos of this company is to learn how to work together as a unit in nature, and build community. Mat has also co-founded, with his partner Louise, a functional fitness company called the Uprising, which encourages young people to get outside and working together to solve problems and complete challenges.” In addition, Mat is supervisor for the build team for Spartan Races and Lead Krypteia (Teacher) for the endurance events internationally.
Mat also has a great interest in ancient history and all of his endeavours follow his desire to reconnect people with their roots, lead a simpler way of life and engage with the environment around them.
Sue Webber founded Whittle & Spark Outdoor Adventures, a forest school that takes groups out into nature for adventures in play and learning. She combines woodcraft skills with a deep understanding of and respect for nature. Sue delights in working in the wilds in all weathers with groups including individuals who have never met before, forming caring, cohesive groups. Her gift is in giving them the freedom to reinvent themselves. Sue attended the first ever Forest School in Britain as a child, which was grown out of the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry. Her experiences of being in a school that facilitated a love of nature inspired her to major in Botany at Royal Holloway University of London gaining a 1st class honours degree and coming away with a deep interest in plant-animal interactions and animal behaviour. She joined Surrey Wildlife Trust developing training programmes for wardens and rangers of priority habitats. After working in nature conservation, mainly as the biodiversity coordinator for Surrey, for 14 years, Sue returned to her childhood experiences. She set up Whittle & Spark specialising in outdoor education and joined a growing movement across the UK.
Thomas has trained with Tom Brown Jr, Jon Young, Sal Glencarelle (who is part of the Woptura lineage) and many other mentors and native teachers. Thomas set up Trackways in 1995, which teaches a wide range of skills from basic Bushcraft courses, Wildcraft Survival, Tracking, Nature Connection & Awareness and Wilderness Spirit work. With 22 years of survival skills teaching experience, he has now trained thousands of people and inspired the creation of many other survival schools. He has taught Ancient English woodland crafts since 1992.
Thomas is passionate about getting young people involved in the outdoors and works with schools as well as running a successful family camp in the outdoors since 2000. He is also an artist and wrote and illustrated a children’s book this year called “The Glimpse”. His book about his teaching is due to be published in early 2018. Thomas conceived and ran the Wildheart Gathering in collaboration for 8 years. He has practiced meditation and yoga for 35 years and trained as a martial artist since the age of 8 and is currently training in Le ho Ba fa.
Katie works for Project World School, a community that encourages self-directed learning and immersion into different cultures as a team. She has travelled extensively around Africa, Thailand, the US, Canada and Peru, learning and living with indigenous people. Prior to this, Katie studied towards a PhD in the philosophy and sociology of teen mental health concluding that there needs to be a fundamental shift in the environment with which we raise our children in the West. As well as rigorous academic training, Katie helped to set up and run a youth club in Devon, UK, which is still thriving. She has worked in forest schools, an organic farm and, in the past, has been involved in endurance events such as marathons and long-distance cycling. Katie noticed, both personally, and with the groups of children that she spent time with in nature, that being free to play outside is essential to learning, bonding and connecting with each other and our own indigenous wisdom.
As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website RaisingMiro.com and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teen son at: ProjectWorldSchool.com. You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.
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