For the weekend birthday celebration for Luke, we take him and seven of his school friends (and Kaya) camping at Youlbury Scout Activity Centre, on Boars Hill just outside of Oxford. The weekend is sizzling, by far the hottest of the year, and the camping is just perfect, pitched up against a delicious old woodland conservation area. The kids do lots of activities such as zip-wiring, climbing and go-karting, but to me the most magical time is when they just explore the woods, either exploring them with me on a nature treasure hunt, or else just hanging out making games and stories in the woods.
I have just finished reading “Feral” by George Monbiot, and extraordinary and inspirational book about rewilding, which I will comment more on this later. But here is an appropriate quote.
“Of all the world's creatures, perhaps those in greatest need of rewilding are our children. The collapse of children's engagement with nature has been even faster than the collapse of the natural world. In the turning of one generation, the outdoor life in which many of us were immersed has gone. Since the 1970s the area in which children may roam without supervision in the UK has decreased by almost 90%, while the proportion of children regularly playing in wild places has fallen from over half to less then one in ten.
Parents are wrongly terrified of strangers and rightly terrified of traffic. The ecosystem of the indoor world has become even richer and more engaging…”
Yadvinder Malhi is an ecosytem ecologist and Professor of Ecosystem Science at Oxford University