Today’s post on Bristol Mum is about Adventures in Nature, an organisation which creates inspiring and enjoyable opportunities for children and adults to learn outdoor skills and connect with nature in and around Bristol.
Founded by Lisa Tozer in 2015, Adventures in Nature offers wonderful outdoor events and courses throughout the year at Tortworth Forest Centre, a beautiful arboretum in South Gloucestershire.
There are currently two upcoming Adventures in Nature events: a Family Wild Camping Weekend on Friday 11th – Sunday 13th August and a Women of the Wild Weekend from Friday 30th June – Sunday 2nd July.
In this blog post I talk to Lisa about these Adventures in Nature events, and I also find out more about Lisa herself and her passion for the Great Outdoors…
Hi Lisa, please tell me a bit about yourself.
I was very passionate about the environment when I was at university and got stuck into grassroots campaigning and direct action and after university became an environmental campaigner and project officer.
Whilst it was a great journey, I realised that I wanted to work directly with people and that many people (myself included) were lacking that essential nature connection which keeps us happy and healthy.
I re-trained as a Forest School Leader, Youth Leader and Children’s Play Worker and completed a few bush-craft courses.
I’ve worked with people in the community, and particularly children and young people, for the last 5 years in a variety of settings from community gardens, woodlands, school playgrounds to parks.
I’m currently completing a Masters in Youth and Community Work with a focus on the impact of nature connection for disadvantaged teenagers. It’s been a wonderful journey which has really strengthened my resolve to keep doing this work.
When and why did you decide to set up Adventures in Nature?
I founded Adventures in Nature in 2015 as I believe nature connection is important and wanted to see these opportunities available for everybody.
I have personally experienced the benefits of nature connection for myself and for all those I have worked with and the evidence base is overwhelming – nature connection is key for physical and mental well-being.
I was lucky enough to gain a place on a one year social enterprise course which is run by Dartington College and sponsored by Lloyds Bank, which has helped me to shape and build Adventures in Nature.
In 2016, Adventures in Nature supported around 150 children, teenagers and adults to spend time outdoors through 2 play schemes, a camp for teenagers, a camp for adults and workshops at Small World Festival, The Green Gathering Festival and Shambala Festival.
What activities and events do you offer?
At the moment, there are two key events that I’m running, which are Women of the Wild and Family Wild Camp Weekend. I’ve already sold out of one Family Wild Camp Weekend which is very exciting. I also run workshops at festivals for children and this year I will be at Small World Festival and the Green Gathering.
Please tell me about the Women of the Wild Weekend Camping Experience you have planned.
Women of the Wild Weekend is from Friday 30th June (6pm) – Sunday 2nd July (4pm) at Tortworth Forest Centre, 20 min drive North of Bristol.
The Women of the Wild weekend is a chance for women to come together in a beautiful woodland, to switch off from the busy working week and sink into their surroundings.
As well as enjoying the surroundings amongst other like-minded women, this will be a learning experience aiding women to continue to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family.
They will learn skills such as Fire Lighting, Cooking on a Fire, Wild Food Foraging, Putting up a Shelter as well as plenty of time to relax.
Sounds fantastic! What’s the aim of the event?
It’s a chance for women to get away from it all and to have a deep, connected time in nature, away from the stresses of day-to-day life. It’s also about feeling empowered and confident to learn outdoor skills together, in a supportive environment.
The Family Wild Camping Experience event also sounds amazing, as well! Please tell me more.
Family Wild Camping Weekend, Friday 11th (6pm) – Sunday 13th August (4pm), Tortworth Forest Centre, 20 min drive North of Bristol. This will be a memorable weekend, a chance for the family to relax and unwind in a beautiful woodland setting, wild camping with the option to learn bush-craft skills.
Each night food will be cooked on the camp fire and there will be plenty of opportunities for explore the site, group games, camp fire songs and feeding the resident goats!
What activities can families get stuck into?
There will be woodland games, Wild Food Foraging Tours, Cooking on the Camp Fire, Whittling, Den building, Fire Lighting, Animal Tracking and Woodland Arts and Crafts.
Why did you choose Tortworth Forest Centre as the venue for both events?
It’s a really special place, an arboretum that is being restored to its original beauty by the whole community. Becky Cork has been leading the project for a few years now and has done a wonderful job of rallying people around. She has always describes arboretums as being like tree zoos.
Trees have been specially chosen from all over the world and planted there so that it’s a unique site to visit. Now it boasts 5 resident goats, compost toilets and a welcoming fire circle so there is enough infrastructure there for it to be comfortable whilst still getting the full experience of camping in a woodland.
Previous groups I’ve worked with there have always given fantastic feedback about the site.
How can Bristol mums and dads get in contact with you about either of these events?
People can find out more by visiting the Adventures in Nature website: www.adventuresinnature.org.uk
Visit the Adventures in Nature Facebook page: www.facebook.com/adventuresinnaturebristol
Or they can contact me directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Anything else you would like to mention?
I think what makes these events special is a rare opportunity to camp within a beautiful woodland whilst still having all the conveniences necessary.
We often think of nature connection as something that is endured, the kind of Bear Grills approach of survival amongst the elements.
I think that nature connection needs to be available to all of us, including for those who have busy lives, small children or perhaps haven’t camped before.
I aim to make these experiences accessible so being a short drive away from Bristol is important. I also hire out bell tents for those that may want something that is already set up and a bit more comfortable.
We will be camping in a woodland where you can hear the deer and owls at night, and when we walk around we’ll find plenty of evidence of other wild animals such as badgers, foxes, rabbits and much more.
We’ll be learning about edible plants, preparing and eating them on the fire, that we have lit ourselves using traditional methods such as a flint and steel. We will be getting the wildest experience possible but this is far from a survival experience!
The menu includes Hallumi, Chorizo and vegetable skewers, the site will be beautifully and naturally lit with candles and torches and we’ll be gathering around the camp fire each evening with toasted marshmallows and good company.
At the end of the weekend, I want everyone to feel well rested, relaxed and re-charged.
To find out more about Adventures in Nature, please visit http://www.adventuresinnature.org/family-bushcraft-camps