First-hand experience of nature: dancing on the palm of a hand

Hayes, Tracy ORCID logo ORCID: (2017) First-hand experience of nature: dancing on the palm of a hand. In: 20th IPA Triennial World Conference: Unleashing the Power of Play, 13-16 August 2017, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Unpublished)

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“Swish, swoop! I am scooped up quickly yet gently and lifted out of the water. Opening my eyes, I look up into the human’s face. She is smiling and quietly explaining to the smaller human next to her that I am a newt. Not just ‘any old newt’, I am special, a Crested Newt, I am great. Because of this I am protected and they must have special permission (I think she said a license?) to handle me. She lays the net against her hand so that I can see out, and the small human can get a closer look…” [to be continued]. This poster presentation takes a playful approach to explore outdoor learning experiences, utilising a creatively written story to engage the audience’s attention. The story interprets a first-hand experience of nature from the non-human perspective – that of a newt which has been captured as part of a community-based learning initiative. This was an intergenerational activity, in a public space designed to help children and young people develop a positive connection with nature. I was the person in the story, catching the newts, under the careful gaze of my husband, an ecologist with the necessary license. The ‘small human’ was accompanied by siblings, parents and grandparents. The story’s basis is non-fiction, it ‘really’ happened; the interpretation draws from creative writing techniques to offer an alternative, fictional viewpoint. I aim to share some of the discoveries I have made both within my practice as a volunteer for a UK conservation charity, and in my doctoral research study. This was a Creative Exploration of Young People’s Relationship with Nature. I will show how the simple story shared here provides a useful way of exploring diverse range of inter-generational perspectives on the activity. I will use this to explore several concepts of relevance and value to the play community, including: learning through play; play in informal settings; experiential learning; playfulness of outdoor learning practitioners; play across the lifespan and the changing cultural and parental attitudes to play. I will also explore our need for a careful approach to nature.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Departments: Academic Departments > Health, Psychology & Social Studies (HPSS) > Children, Youth, Families and Community Work
Depositing User: Tracy Hayes
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 14:29
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 18:16


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