Spring is in full emergence
"Change and growth is everywhere", writes Mark Sears, Chief Wild Officer of The Wild Network, "I always find it hard not to be intoxicated by this abundance and wildness everywhere." Mark shares his thoughts as we celebrate five years since the Natural Childhood Report and highlights some changes ahead.
It's now 5-years since the Natural Childhood Report was published and the idea behind The Wild Network was born. It feels like so much has changed over that time, the evidence base to support the mission has become deeper and stronger and there is undoubtedly increased awareness of the benefits of time outdoors in a natural environment - Wild Time.
What is still unclear though is the extent that this awareness is translating into action on an everyday level - the barriers that prevent wild time from happening are perhaps deeper and stronger than they have ever been. It is clear to us as we move into the next chapter at The Wild Network that finding solutions to address these complex systemic barriers is more vital than ever.
The Wild Network has always been built as a collective movement
So we offer a genuine (and huge) thank you to the hundreds of you who responded to our requests for input into our Wild Lab Birmingham project with Birmingham City Council and the Childhood Gateway project with DEFRA. We’re excited about the opportunities these projects offer and we’ll share where we get to you on them as soon as we can. I am hoping that you will see many more similar requests in the future.
In order to overcome the barriers it is clear that you, our network, offer a unique wealth of collective intelligence.
Our intention has always been to find ways that bring influence and shape new interventions. Increasingly now we’re finding partners and funders who are keen to work with our network to solve problems. Our challenge will be how to do this in ways that add value to you, our community, through the process. Our aim is that whatever we discover and develop as a result of your collective wisdom gets offered back to you in ways that support you, your organisation, family, community or school to take action.
This spring we have also signed off a programme to develop our web platform and over the next few weeks we’ll be looking for your help here too. Our intention is to refine what we offer with a much clearer set of tools to support you to take action. We want to become much more focussed on overcoming the barriers that we all experience on a daily level and on working with you to find the best ideas, organisations and initiatives out there - the inspiration network for Wild Time.
As we enter this next chapter of The Wild Network we say a fond farewell to Nick Stace as Chair of the board. Nick has been invited to be a non-executive director of the Financial Conduct Authority and needs to step back from some other day-to-day commitments. Stephen King takes over as Chair on a temporary basis whilst we review board membership and structure.
I feel very excited about the next chapter for TWN. More than ever before I feel that if we are to create the conditions to rewild childhood in our schools, families and communities then we’re going to need to do much much more than tell people about the benefits of wild time.
If we are going to succeed in this mission we actually have to find ways for us all to turn intention into action on an everyday level.
Thank you for your on-going engagement and support - it is what makes us tick.
Let the blossoming begin.
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