A massive welcome and a big huge thank you to Lisa Lillywhite- the woman behind our newest guest feature. She's the fabulous creator of The Smart Happy Project, and she shares our passion to reconnect children to nature. She attended the Gathering of Nature's Marketing Department last year and here's what she's been up to following the event:
In April 2014 I attended the Gathering of Nature’s Marketing Department, hosted by The Wild Network/Swarm Partnership. I came as an individual, not on behalf of a large organisation. Now over 12 months after the event, the connections and inspirations I made there continue to flourish.
What did I want?
I had recently started the beginnings of a publication on natural geometry - it exists currently as The Smart Happy Project website of geometric observations for children. I knew I needed to broaden my horizons to a nationwide conversation, to discuss with those working in different areas of the nature scene.
It was amazing to place myself as part of that scene. Sometimes it can be hard working alone all the time. Creatives need to collaborate, it's part of the process. Opportunities to meet so many skilled and passionate like minded individuals don't come along often. Such a wealth of creativity all in one place for a shared goal. Who wouldn't want to be part of that?
Writers, coders, musicians, poets, educators, facilitators, designers, the list of skills went on. Of course with any of these things it is what you make of it. To talk to people, introduce yourself, explain what you are doing is never easy when you are on the edge of an idea.
Re-imagine the world.
Great things can happen when you get passionate people together to re-imagine our world. I took part in the schools challenge and ideas developed there have gone into action and continue to grow. I’m not a teacher but as a designer I contributed to broadening the outlook of education in nature.
What has happened since?
I came away full of enthusiasm with lots to follow up on. Where to start? I needed time to let it all sink in. After theming editorial content around concepts of numbers and natural geometry I approached some of the people I met about being involved.
Gradually things have moved forward. Chris Holland has contributed writing on ‘strength’ in nature and Sonia has generously offered her poetry. I also met Fiona MaClellan at the event and recently we have worked together on compiling summer activities full of natural science ideas and observations. Her illustrations have brought the ideas to life and I know that because she attended the event there is a shared passion I can rely on.
Sometimes I am paralyzed by the sheer amount of things that need to be done. But I remember that many of those I met in Bristol are independents like myself. Working outside of the corporate world in areas that we are all passionate about. I'm grateful to the event for making me aware of that and I feel privileged to remember that I took part in something extraordinary.
Fantastic things really do happen when you bring passionate people together to change the world just a step at a time.
~ Lisa Lillywhite
Visit The Smart Happy Project website to learn more about geometry and numbers in nature, and to download free summer activities
[photo credit: Melanie Black Photography/Andrew Rees]