Spring Nature Connection Newsletter 2016

HI, Thanks a lot for taking the time to have a peek at this spring newsletter.

What’s in it?

  • A recipe for a lush ‘sugar-free’ beetroot, date and chocolate cake
  • Some recent favourite views of nature pictures
  • News of a new resource that I am creating and some courses coming up
  • A report from Mind on the Ecominds research project on Mental Health and Nature Connection.
  • A short video on Phil Water’s research on something close to my heart – using stories to facilitate nature connection.

So let’s crack on:

Storytelling for outdoor learning

Firstly big thanks to all those that filled in the survey about the forthcoming Storytelling for Outdoor learning resources I am launching in May. I had over 150 responses and over 90% saying they thought they would find it useful training and confidence building for their outdoor learning sessions. I will be sending out another email about it soon with another video and this time with free resources to share.

Choc barley malt n Beet Cake:

Chocolate Barley malt n Beet Cake

With season veg in abundance in my weekly veg bag, and having too many beetroot I thought I would have a go at making a ‘sugar-free’ version of a chocolate and beetroot cake I make. It worked out really well – even if the photo doesn’t do it much justice!

Here is the recipe:

  • 200g grated beetroot,
  • 100ml sunflower or plain tasting veg oil
  • 200g of pitted dates all copped up finely
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 100g crated carrots
  • 100g grated chocolate
  • 2 or 3 eggs depending on your taste for eggs
  • large tablespoon of barley malt syrup
  • pinch of salt
  • heaped teaspoon of baking powder
  • Dribble of milk or apple juice if it needs to be a bit more sloppy

Get the oven on to preheat to gas mark 6 / 200°c. Mix up all the ingredients in a bowl, thoroughly, but in no particular order. Line a bread tin with some baking parchment (I just line the sides and bottom). Pop in the over and check it after 40 mins..might need another 5 or ten mins. I hope you enjoy it!

Winter picture faves:

Transformational Bird Language

In May I am running another Bird Language course in a lovely combe near Sidmouth.

This course will transform the way you understand the song of the land for ever!

Learn to understand bird language and use it as a teaching aid.

For forest school leaders, teachers, outdoor educators and parents. Learn new games, mapping activities and sneaky ways to get people out in nature sitting still, listening…

How do birds communicate and what are they doing? What can we learn from this? 

Our ancestors had an innate knowledge of what was going on around them – understanding the voices and body language of birds gives us clues to the concentric rings, the ripples of communication going on in the animal world. You can also tell things like which direction the wind is coming from and whether it will rain or not from watching the birds.

Participants will:

  • hear some inspirational stories,
  • try new bird language teaching games to play with children and adults,
  • have a go at mapping and gleaning techniques,
  • see how the activities link to learning in schools
  • learn about the 5 voices of the birds
  • spend time alone, in stillness, observing nature
  • deepen your connections to place and people.

This course is invaluable for anyone working in the outdoors with children or adults, who enjoys sharing the wonders of nature with others because it will give you an advantage and help you understand what the birds are telling you.

“A little bird told me.” Many of us know the meaning of the phrase. You will come to know how the phrase came to be!

For more information and to book your place click this link: http://www.wholeland.org.uk/bird-language/

Ecotherapy Works!

Over the last few years quite a bit of money has been spent by the mental heath charity Mind on researching the effects of spending time in nature and doing ‘outdoorsy’ things. The result? Ecotherapy Works!! Click here for the full report and video: http://www.mind.org.uk/about-us/policies-issues/ecotherapy/

Narrative Journey

Finally, here is a short video from Phil Waters about using the narrative based journey to encourage learning outside of the classroom.

Wishing you a lovely spring!

All the best,