Deep Nature Immersion – Camps, retreats and adventures.
Director of Life Rocks
Whilst using nature-based resources for education in the home and classroom environment is great, connecting to Nature is much more than just learning about Nature – it is about getting INTO Nature and connecting with Nature. Some time spent outside daily, a walk in the woods every week, eating whole foods, gardening - all of these are great ways to connect with Nature, but sometimes we need to go a little bit deeper. Deeper experiences leave impressions of feelings and states of mind that remind us as we grow about the magical and connected times we have spent in Nature. These memories will keep us coming back to Nature for nourishment. Steiner schools adopt the idea of camps early on in their education because they recognise the need for deep discovery, adventure and experience. Even from year one at school, there are overnight stays and overnight campouts under the stars that include stories, fire, stars and exposure to the elements. From year 3 onwards, the camps become more advanced and go for longer. All of these camps extend the comfort zone of the child, helping them to gain perspective and contextualise the “normal life” that they lead with contrasting experiences of the other world (Nature). We are usually so embedded in our daily habits and routines ( big people and little people alike) that we need to fully step outside of our normal life to rejuvenate and amplify our system. Deep immersion in Nature, where we leave digital devices at home and spend 3 days or more in Nature, is vital to the development of children and adults. Our modern lives are often now dependent and constantly influenced by technology, and if we have never spent time away from our devices and neither have our children, this is a crucial experience to have. Some people will call this a digital detox, which is useful to rewire the reward centres of our brain, so that we find slower paced, Nature based, activity centric things more rewarding and enjoyable. Our physiology prefers this slower way of living, so our bodies in this environment will resonate with health and vitality. This experience of vitality and memories of awe and connection will provide a great anchor for children ( and adults) to not become lost in digital realities because they remember what it felt like to be immersed in Nature. In Australia, there are amazing Nature educators and experiences being held in the realm of traditional bushcraft, nature immersion, bush camps, ancestral skills, and initiation for young people. Life Rocks recommends finding groups near you to connect with that are interested in Nature time, deep immersion and education around Nature connection. In NSW, Nature Philosophy with Kate Rydge and Sam Robertson run amazing experiences for families called bush camp. They also run vision quests for adults. Both experiences will improve the connections of your family, self and our connection to Nature and community. Check out their work over at https://naturephilosophy.com/
Top Tips for Deep Nature Connection - Establish a regular sit spot for you and your kids to visit at least a few times a week. A regular place in Nature that you can build familiarity with. - Plan for a big trip, hike or camp out. Go for 3 days or longer. Leave devices in the car or at home. Only use the phone for emergencies. Allow some space for you and your children to move through the frustration of not being stimulated by devices and media.
Reach out to community, friends, and family who also want to create these experiences for you and your family. See what activities or adventures you can add into the trip to make it enticing and fun. Canoeing, rock climbing, a field trip with local bush men and women, bird watching, snorkelling, etc.
Prepare stories to tell by the fire. See what stories your children want to tell, if they are feeling brave enough or feel inspired to.
Cook on the fire. Activate those ancient senses. For more ideas on Connecting Children to Nature - buy the book! By Asher Cloran