The Joy of Singing to the Trees

On a nippy but clear and sunny day last February, I was privileged to join Leona and Damian and a selection of fifteen or so other lovely humans for Live Wild’s Singing in the Woods event, in a secret woodland location in South Manchester combining two of my favourite things; singing and trees. What’s not to love?!

The day began with teas and some freshly made cleaver water to open the throat and clear the system. Then we got on with the business of raising our voices to the trees, combining in song from languages from around the world, encompassing a range of rhythms and vibrations but consistently infused with simplicity and joy.

During our lunch break, we lit the fire with a simple ceremony and accompanying song, and heated some curried soup to warm and soothe us for the afternoon’s activities

The group had mixed feelings about singing in public at the outset of the day. We all wanted to sing, but we had varying confidence about our abilities. When we began, our feelings ranged from unabashed enthusiasm to anxiety, nerves and outright fear, but not long into the day everyone’s inhibitions had been thrown to the winds in the safe and reassuring hands of our enthusiastic, experienced and knowledgeable facilitators. We sang, we danced, we harmonised and experimented and we lifted our hearts and voices to the trees. And actually, we sounded pretty good!

It is emotional and a little magical to sing in nature, it feels like a two-way exchange with the plants and wildlife. It’s well known that plants thrive when gardeners talk to them, I like to think that our vocal efforts were as well-received by our rooted audience as we were healed and nourished by the presence of the trees, the flowers and the accompanying chorus of the birds.

Leona and Damian will be singing again in Calderdale on Sunday 23rd June.

More information and tickets

 

It’s About Time- by Alan Creedon

When you delve into nature you delve into yourself

When I give myself the time to connect I allow another world to meet my own. It’s about the slowing of step and of thought into deliberate, coordinated movements. It’s ‘making something’ of time which is different to what I usually might. I will ‘mould’ time into an experience of connection.

Even if it’s just to have a moment to think about time, I will go into nature and slow. Often I ‘take’ some time to do something, but I’d rather ‘make’ or ‘create’ some time for it. This gives me a feeling that there’s ‘enough’ time whereas I could easily tell myself I’m ‘stealing’ a few minutes or  on ‘borrowed’ time. Why would I want to borrow time when I can create it myself?

There’s something about time that’s malleable. We don’t simply live in clock time because often a ‘moment’ can feel a lot longer that the clock will tell you. My six year old daughter came downstairs the other night at 10.30pm wondering why it was dark because she was in certainty that it was morning. Sometimes ten minutes can feel like an hour (definitely has happened to me when meditating!) and sometimes an hour can go by fast as a drunken night.

My favourite way to slow time is to walk more slowly, to think more slowly and to sit.

So I go to where I can slow the most.

And that’s where rocks are and trees are, where I can sit and just be. I look at the trees and they tell me to take it easy, that I am who I am, and no matter what I look like, I can sit and just be, rooted to the spot. A tree has one place for all its life and I can call it patient and wise. I sit on a rock and it tells me of storm and rains, water and winds that shaped it through millennia and how it sits there and wants for nothing I could understand anyway. In the moments when I contemplate water – where it’s been and where it goes on its endless tour through air and ground – I feel like a passing breath of this world’s journey, a tiny but significant moment in its story.

We can’t save time in a bottle but we can place as much meaning as we can upon it. Create it, make it, stretch it, speed it up, slow it down, ignore it, whatever! I spend time in nature with intent because there I feel rich and so I spend as much as I can.

Make more time for nature.

Do you know what Nature Mentoring is?

Nature Mentoring is a really amazing way to enable young people to really deepen their connection to nature in a profound life enhancing way. It’s a relationship that is built between young people and their experienced and passionate adult mentors who over time will skillfully work to bring out the unique passions and abilities of each young person. In nature mentoring young people explore their relationship with nature, deepen their connection to themselves and each other and they learn outside in creative, inspiring and fun ways. Mentors take the role of the coyote sometimes, sometimes they are the teacher but often they are just there to draw out the inherent wisdom that is there to be gained through direct experience in nature.

So why is this important?

In modern times two major changes with regards to nature mentoring have occured.

  1. The role of the community and extended family has diminished massively. Some young people are lucky to have an uncle or family friend who takes a deep interest in their upbringing but on the whole the main or sole responsibility these days is laid at the feet of the overstretched nuclear (or not so nuclear) family and the under resourced target driven schools. We just don’t tend to have mentors.
  2. The second change is how much time we spend outdoors. One report said that children spend less than half as much time outdoors as their parents did. Green spaces are just not as accessible, safety is more of a concern and being indoors with computers and TV is much more appealing to our youngsters. Our children just aren’t going outside (an average of less than 4 hours per week in fact).

‘At Live Wild we strongly believe all children need connection, they need mentors and they need nature’.

Research shows that time with groups in nature impacts brain development, language, social skills, creativity, coordination, happiness, physical and mental health and wellbeing…..the list goes on. And research on positive adult mentors in out of school settings, both formal and informal are shown to support young people with confidence, self esteem, engagement in school and the ability to form positive relationships in future life and more.

The Eight Shields Institute (http://8shields.org/about/) in America has developed a model to work with young people based on experience and knowledge shared from indigenous cultures from around the world. This model has been bringing about great results.

We at Live Wild have been tracking this work for some time and in recent years have trained and worked with this model and ‘The Art of Mentoring’ (https://artofmentoring.life/aom/) in a number of projects. We know that there is now a growing body of knowledge and awareness of the benefits of long term deep nature connection mentoring and we want you to be a part of it.

With this in mind we are excited to launch the:

Monthly Nature Mentoring Programme 2018

Starting 14th January 2018 and then every second Sunday of each month.

For 5-8 year olds and 8-12 year olds

With only a few of its kind in this country and none in the north of england we are excited to offer monthly sessions in the beautiful woods near Hebden Bridge where we can really create a thriving healthy culture of nature connection with the young people we work with.

 Are you interested for your child or someone you know?

Email info@livewild.org.uk
Places are limited and booking is essential so don’t miss out

For information about when and where this is happening and details about how to sign up please email and we can send more information to you with full details. Please also feel free to pass this to anyone else you think might be interested.

Call 07979 207206 to speak to Leona one of our Nature Mentors.
And if you any questions at all please contact us.

Live Wild 2017 Celebration and looking into 2018

Live Wild
Here’s some of what we got up to in 2017!

Wildlings Holiday Club. We successfully ran our amazing Wildings Holiday Club throughout every school holiday!

‘This was the best day ever!’ Noah aged 8.

Adult Courses Our adult courses included Bushcraft, Foraging, Whittling and Nature Connection. So much fun was had eating foraged delights, cooking on the fire, connecting deeply with nature and learning in beautifully connective groups. Watch this space for more in 2018.

‘Wonderfully empowering, encouraging, inspiring-want to do more of it!!!  Just right – you packed an amazing amount in without ‘stress” Birgitta

  

Funded places Thanks to the Todmorden Windfarm Fund and CCFC we were also really pleased to work with 6 different Todmorden Schools and be able to offer 60 FREE places to children who  would not have normally accessed Wildlings. Amazing!

‘I don’t know what you did yesterday but I haven’t seen my daughter this happy and this excited about anything for a long time, she is so keen to come today….thank you” Parent

Forest School.Thanks to Pennine Prospects were also funded to run two 6 week forest school programmes accross Calderdale teaching children about our local woodland heritage. What a treat! Working with the lovely Field Lane Primary in Elland and St Josephs Primary in Todmorden we were able to inspire 60 children within their local woodlands and have fun getting into character as our cave women alter egos!

‘This has totally transformed the way my children play. Suddenly they want to play outside all time really creatively and imaginatively.  Thank you!’ Parent of St Joseph’s School child.

Monthly Nature Mentoring. And what a wonderful winter wonderland we had to play in on our Monthly Nature Mentoring Taster Day.

‘Nature Mentoring is a really amazing way to enable young people to really deepen their connection to nature in a profound life enhancing way’.

We know lots of people are interested in our forthcoming programme which starts on Sunday 14th January, but remember your child’s place is only secure once the payment has been made and booking form is received.

Click here (info@livewild.org.uk) to let us know you are interested and we will send you all the information you need.
Places are limited and booking is essential so we wouldn’t want people to miss out.

 

Live Wild passionately believe that we all need connection to each other to ourselves and to nature. For more information do not hesitate to contact us.

Our Web address is:
http://www.livewild.org.uk

Our mailing address is:
info@livewild

Spring 2017 Woodland Women Day

Wow! What a fantastic day in great company with many creative and inspiring women.  We began the day check in with ourselves taking some time to connect with our bodies and internal experience.  A few of the days treats involved harvesting birch sap, whittled our own roasting skewers, learnt fire starting techniques  and made a delicious lunch of foraged delicacies to cook over the flames. Thank you to every one who made it such an enjoyable time together.

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Live Wild’s First Fire Forage and Family Day! April 14th

A fantastic day of nature connection games and bushcraft skills including fire making and foraging. Fun for the whole family, friends and loved ones in a beautiful woodland setting. Go Wild with your kids! Our specially trained and experienced forest school leaders are excited to inspire and delight adults and children with Bushcraft, Fire Making, Hunting Games, Den Building and lots of adventure and fun all in a beautiful outdoor setting in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. An opportunity for adventure in a supported context and lots of other interesting ways of building confidence, nature connection and a love for the outdoors. Suitable for children 5 and older.

Eventbrite - Fire and Forage Family Day

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Weekend Retreat With Live Wild and Treesponsibility! 21st April- 23rd April

We are excited to announce a a new collaboration between Treesponsibility and Live Wild

We have created an opportunity for a whole weekend of deep connection, relaxation and nature immersion along with an opportunity to give something back to the earth by spending part of the time planting trees restoring the natural habitat of the area and helping to build flood resilience. Learn about foraging, whittling, have guided solo time in nature and have an opportunity to repay nature for the gifts we receive by planting trees.  What a treat!

Lovely home cooked vegan food, accommodation and facilitation from our amazing Live Wild Nature Guides and Treesponsibility all for the amazing price of £120,  including everything!  For more details click here.

Eventbrite - Live Wild and Treesponsibility Weekend Retreat

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