Walks on the Wildside
The vision we have with Walks on the Wildside is to reconnect people, especially children, with nature. Research shows that most children spend more time plugged into something connected to an electricity outlet than ‘plugged into’ real life.
The need to spend time in nature is innate in all people and a ‘nature deficit disorder’ can be the result of a lack of this connection. The soul needs to be replenished and this can most easily be achieved by a connection with nature. Social and learning problems such as ADHD and ADD have been proven to be helped by children relaxing and connecting with nature. With so many moves afoot to do away with or open up National Parks we need to instil in the next generation a love and respect of nature. If we expect children to grow up wanting to save wildspaces we must give them the opportunities to feel them, smell them and be one with them, then they will love them and want to protect them.
What is our plan?
Our plan is to meet at different places on the Blackall Range one Saturday a month for an hour’s stroll in the bush, usually National Parks but private walks are also planned. We hope to be inclusive, inviting people with disabilities and young children still in pushchairs to join us if the walk is suitable, e.g. Mary Cairncross Park. It is envisaged that parents or carers accompany children on the walks. They are not intended to be educational as such but, of course, learning will occur when children’s imagination has been captured because they are interested in something, not because they were told to be.
Who are we?
The people organising the group are three ex teachers who have an interest in children, mindfulness and connection with nature. We are:-
Lorraine See, Martina Gordon and Janet Hamilton, all members of Barung Landcare Association.
The impetus which inspired us was Richard Louv’s book, ‘The Last Child in the Woods’, Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder.
Co-ordinator and Patron
The co-ordinator is Lorraine (Raine) See, ex teacher and Librarian and our Patron is Jill Morris, prize winning author of children’s books based on nature and the environment. Jill spent many years bringing children and books together with her school visits to her home, The Book Farm, at Reesville. She has certainly kept nature-deficit disorder at bay for many children over many years and still spends many hours working on her own wildspace.