Lost in the woods

In a rapidly urbanising world, I feel outdoor education is a vital tool that can be utilised to nurture environmental connections and potentially change the way people interact with the natural world.

Hello, my name is Emily Hawker, and I will be the 2021 Outdoor Woodland Learning intern at Nower Wood.

Growing up overseas, I was very fortunate to have been surrounded by an abundance of wildlife during my younger years. Those formative experiences instilled within me a deep appreciation for nature, a passion I pursued while studying Environmental Conservation at Bangor University.

During this time, I realised my ambition to understand the connection between people and the environment, which led me to evaluate an outdoor learning programme piloted across North Wales for my undergraduate dissertation.

In a rapidly urbanising world, I feel outdoor education is a vital tool that can be utilised to nurture environmental connections and potentially change the way people interact with the natural world. From my research, I learned that children in particular benefit enormously from positive physical interactions with the environment and find the idea of bringing communities together through nature extremely exciting.

Over the next six months, I’ll primarily be involved with the outdoor learning department, though I’ll have the opportunity to work with other parts of the Trust. In July, for example, I will be spending a week with the ecology services team.

I’m eager to apply what I learned whilst studying to something outside academic theory and to gain new experiences across the environmental field. I’m a few weeks in and the job has already been pretty full-on.

Aside from befriending Banjo (the office dog), I’ve helped with sessions at Nower Wood and visited a couple of schools involved with the ‘Wilder Schools’ initiative. Sharing the joy children express whilst outdoors has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. I’m excited to see the greater impact our work has on people’s lives and look forward to learning how working with communities’ ties into the Trust’s greater mission. By the end of my time here, I’m hoping to have a better understanding of what’s involved in putting environmental agendas into action. 

It’s such a privilege to have been given the opportunity to join this amazing team and I’m delighted to call this wonderful woodland my office.

I’d like to thank Hitatchi for supporting me through this experience - My first taste of ‘real world’ environmental work and I can already see how we are creating a better place for humans and nature! I’ll be posting regularly on our blog, Facebook page and Instagram, so if you’re interested in seeing what's going on, don't forget to check them out. I’ve also got a couple of talks coming up, so keep an eye out for those and I’ll see you again soon.

Emily.