Going Full Circle – Earth Day 2021
By Lisa Gylsen, Director

Thinking about Earth Day has made me reflect on certain times in my life when I just felt alive. I’m sure you know what I mean. One of those times for me was when myself and three others from the UK travelled to Canada for the Rediscovery International Leadership and Outdoor Training in 2003. It was a month long adventure training with a community comprising all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. We learned from indigenous leaders who inspired that wild knowing in all of us to come to the fore. Marina Robb was also one of our UK contingent and we quickly bonded with shared interests and friendship.

The first two weeks of the training took place at Pearson College, one of the United World Colleges. The mission of the UWC movement is to “make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.” Although this was not what the training was specifically about it certainly was a theme and the essence of this seeped from the venue into us.

Earth DayWe had numerous workshops and time to interact with people doing this type of work. It was inspiring. The second part of the training was in the mountains north of
Calgary where we stayed in tepees as well as out in the open, learned indigenous skills, and had a number of sweat lodges, all of which imbedded this learning by actually experiencing it in nature.

The original remit of Rediscovery in Canada was to reconnect disaffected indigenous youth to their culture. This caught on and grew not only across Canada but across the world. Rediscovery International now seeks to empower youth of all ages to discover the world within themselves, the world between cultures and the natural world.

Circle of Life RediscoveryReturning to the UK we all participated in a couple of pilot camps in North Wales. The experience and feedback was great. Marina, upon returning home to Sussex, pondered how she could incorporate this new inspiration into a programme to make a difference in her area.

Her expertise and passion was in environmental education so she set up programmes to fill gaps in the curriculum as well as out days for youth to disconnect them from the world wide web and reconnect them with the whole wide world through nature.

I felt extremely honoured to be invited to be a Director of Circle of Life Rediscovery. I still feel lucky and inspired to maintain that directorship despite my move to Mauritius. I am currently raising my two internationally adopted girls in this multi-cultural country where nature abounds from beaches to mountains in close proximity. I often draw upon my Rediscovery experience as well as games and skills from Marina’s books in our home-schooling lifestyle.

Circle of Life Rediscovery has steadily grown and developed over the past 17 years in both its offerings as well as the myriad and tremendous number of people it has benefited. It has truly gone full circle and as such it’s philosophy is now “Transforming education, health, and family through nature.”

CAMHS, Youth and Family Woodland DaysFrom its original focus on education and youth, it has added people with disabilities and their families, disaffected communities, and now are getting significant benefits with their expertise in running programmes for mental health in nature. With a close relationship with the NHS there is increasing proof for the benefits and the opportunities to make a difference are extremely exciting.

On top of all this Marina has found time to develop The Outdoor Teacher to supplement but not replace training in nature for other practitioners.

 

The Outdoor Teacher is an excellent tool, accessible wherever you are. Numerous trainings, train the trainer, online training, highly subscribed webinars offered by highly experienced and passionate individuals make the offerings and support this company provide exceptional.

I am even more excited now than in the beginning to be a part of Circle of Life
Rediscovery and to see its impact continue to grow and inspire.

A Poem for Earth Day

 

A Poem for Earth Day

The Lost Words Blessing

 

Enter the wild with care my love,
And speak the things you see
Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you travel far from heather, crag and river
May you like the little fisher, set the stream alight with glitter
May you enter now as otter without falter into water

Look to the sky with care my love
And speak the things you see
Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you journey on past dying stars exploding
Like the gilded one in flight, leave your little gifts of light
And in the dead of night my darling, find the gleaming eye of starling
Like the little aviator, sing your heart to all dark matter

Walk through the world with care, my love
And sing the things you see
Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you stumble through machair sands eroding
Let the fern unfurl your grieving, let the heron still your breathing
Let the selkie swim you deeper, oh my little silver-seeker
Even as the hour grows bleaker, be the singer and the speaker
And in city and in forest, let the larks become your chorus
And when every hope is gone, let the raven call you home.

 


Forest School Activities Online TrainingCircle of Life Rediscovery

 

Circle of Life Rediscovery provides exciting and highly beneficial nature-centred learning and therapeutic experiences for young people, adults, and families in Sussex woodlands, along with innovative continuing professional development for the health, well being and teaching professionals who are supporting them.

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