Wandering on the margins: supporting young people to experience nature through the companionship of a responsive adult.

Hayes, Tracy (2021) Wandering on the margins: supporting young people to experience nature through the companionship of a responsive adult. In: RGS-IBG 2021, 31 August - 3 September, Online. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In 1956 Rachel Carson urged parents to take their children outside as “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful… full of wonder and excitement”. She emphasised that, “Daily, intimate, sensory experience is essential to keep that wonder bright for a lifetime…the early companionship of a responsive adult is the best way to make it happen”. But what about the children and young people, who live separately from their families, or whose families are overwhelmed by dealing with more pressing concerns? Those who find themselves surrounded by adults who are not responsive, people who have forgotten (or perhaps never knew) how to play? What happens to the young people who enter adulthood never having experienced nature in this way? Who helps them to discover the wonder and then keep it bright? Nature has never seemed as vital as it does today as we live through/with the Covid-19 pandemic - the last year has emphasised how important it is for our health and wellbeing to have access to a local outdoor space (see Natural England, 2020).
This paper takes a transdisciplinary, storied approach to explore young people’s relationships with nature. My methods for eliciting data included a combination of auto/ethnographic reflections, anecdotes, memories and ‘magic moments’ (Hayes and Prince, 2019), plus qualitative data from participant observations, informal interviews and focus groups. Participants were predominantly from marginalised (oppressed) groups, for example: young people in care; young people identified as at risk of exclusion from school; young parents; young people not in education, employment or training; young people with a range of differing abilities. Embracing everyday language, I create stories based on these experiences. I will share one of those stories here as together we explore the above questions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Departments > Institute of Health > Social Work, Children and Families
Depositing User: Tracy Hayes
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2021 13:28
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2021 13:28
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6222

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