The fact of the matter is, no law enforcement, government, or rescuer group can prepare a community.
Just in the last 5 years alone, nearly a billion dollars has been spent throughout our nation upgrading and retrofitting buildings and structures so that previous disasters are not repeated.  And yet not a single dime is being spent on preparing the people in order to avoid defeating responses to disasters. Case in point: Many of you may not know, or may have forgotten that the World Trade Center was attacked in 1993. If the community won’t open their doors to educate you, don’t just sit there and complain—invite the community to come to you!
I also did another game in which they are given a recipe which they have no doubt ever made before. Push your community to offer realistic training for all community members and especially push your community leaders to TRAIN the so-called “rescuers” for major disasters. Another way you can better prepare is to watch movies and read books that actively engage your mind in which you play a part in--such “what-if” scenarios.
When it comes to better preparing your community, it’s important that you understand that you can’t ride out a disaster alone.
The family, if taught any real skills & lessons can, in turn, take something back to their own neighborhoods.
I enjoyed reading this I have stepped up my efforts in recruting people into prepardness efforts. Please note that the name you use in the "Name" field above will be the name displayed on your comment. We especially enjoyed the Walnut Boats activity and the Swallow Migration activity, which involves children simulating the epic journey swallows make with their own home-made birds. The games section of the book is perfect for youth groups or schools, as the majority of games require 4 or more children to play and many are suitable for groups of 8 or larger. Learning with Nature is an excellent resource for youth groups or schools looking for some inspiring ideas for outdoor pursuits.
The introduction gives context in the form of an intriguing diagram showing an ‘extinction of experience’ revealed by the decline in roaming radius from home of 8 year olds from the 1920s (6 miles) to 2007 (700 yards), followed by the benefits of increased time in nature. There’s also advice on how to make the most of the book through the art of questioning to nurture curiosity, and a section on Looking after Nature which sets out the interplay between nature and people to allow both to flourish.
If the book lacks anything it’s the benefits of using the outdoors from a formal education perspective. This is an excellent book for parents, teachers and youth leaders alike looking to inspire young people with nature.
The book has clearly been written by people who have their own clear, well developed and straightforward understanding of why challenging, fun and educational activities in the outdoors are not only good, they are essential, enjoyable and inspirational. Simple concepts presented in beautifully illustrated pages in a very non-patronising style.
Many of these ideas are new or are presented in a new context which is a refreshing change from reading about 50 things I was doing ten years ago with children. Some activities will need to be delivered by people who have experience of the safe handling of tools such as bow-saws and palm drills.
The activities are well structured, though some of the activities work best with groups, but can be adapted for the family.
Learning with Nature – special offer available now for Christmas, click here to purchase and find out more!
My initial view on the concept of life-stages was seen through an extraordinarily narrow scope, insofar as, to me, there could only be so many of importance: youth, adulthood and old age.
I can easily imagine a great number of sceptics who would be adverse to the spirituality that Sal whole-heartedly embodies but firstly, there are a great number of fundamentals of appreciation and awareness of the natural world, to which we owe absolutely everything. The first stones began to fill the blanket-covered structure with a heat that surprised me.
Having now conquered the physical aspect, well I say conquered; my head was now buried in the dirt. It took some time to truly soak up all that happened inside that inipi and the purpose behind this particular one. It was an absolute pleasure to take another step to manhood with the help of Sal and the Circle of Life Rediscovery team, I will forever be indebted to them for installing peace of mind as I approach the most tumultuous period of my life. Having joined the Circle of Life team on an internship, Marina and I agreed that the best way to truly understand the work that I would be promoting would be to submerse myself in it. After the melee of tent-picking and bag-dropping, we were able to gather round the fire for some introductions, with the members of staff up first my response (mostly made up of assurances that anyone new to this was not alone) was delayed having momentarily forgotten that I was said staff and not a participant.
Feathers and Marina performed the wake up call, Tunkashila is a song of awareness, consideration and gratefulness. After a night spent round the fire as one group, typifying the events that preceded it, Sunday’s duties were resumed and then it was all about enjoying the moments we had left in light of our experiences so far.
With the most important part concluded, it was time to contemplate what I had learnt; that being just what an inspiring gift the natural world can be. In our time of fast-paced, exam-pressured, high-tech culture, where does learning with nature have a place? When adults are asked to recall a time in their youth when they were happiest, invariably they refer to times spent outdoors and with friends. We need an education that includes learning and understanding how the world is much more than human-centered, and that instills in us a sense of belonging and curiosity about life. We have taken hundreds of young people out into nature for a one-time afternoon session, overnight or weeklong camping trips, and regular on going woodland programs.
There are hundreds of activities that we could suggest, but here are a couple of the simplest, most accessible, and effective.
Depending on your age group, it can be fun to add objects that engage the imagination even more, such as something that could be a gnome’s hat. Before launching into any biology around botany, plant life, and transpiration, it can be a fun challenge to try doing leaf puzzles with your class. In the end, we hope that our children will be healthy and happy, and that they’ll have a good future.
To equip trainees to deliver Forest School to a high standard and to be committed to continued professional development. Qualify the trainee to become a Forest School practitioner, able to set up and run an excellent, life-enhancing Forest School programme.
What qualifications does our trainers have?In order to deliver any accredited qualification (in England and Wales) the trainer is required to have a minimum of a level 4. Keep your eye on our emails to download the next FREE activity sheet – coming soon just in time for the Easter break. The Greek-Australian community is preparing for a mass migration from Greece, as the country’s economy is crumbling and people are preparing to vote on the upcoming referendum.
The global markets suffered a heavy blow after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for a referendum late on Friday, June 26, putting an end to the negotiations with the country’s creditors. Greek citizens have been plagued by austerity measures such as pension and wage cuts for many years and the country’s leaders decided to leave the decision making process to the people, instead of making an agreement for even more severe reforms. However, the fear of a Greek economic collapse has spread beyond Europe, reaching thousands of Greek-Australians whose relatives are still living in Greece.
Furthermore, many Greek-Australian families are preparing to help their friends and relatives migrate to Australia. Australian Greek Orthodox Community President Harry Denalis led a protest outside the IMF offices.
The superbly talented Millstreet Community Singers have been dedicatedly preparing for the official launch this Friday night in the Wallis Arms Hotel, Millstreet of their much anticipated Audio CD under the wonderful direction of Marie Twomey and under the recording expertise of Neil Moylan and Leo Fitzgerald in their state-of-the-art Studios.
Bill O'Riordan: I always said millstreet people were very progressive when we got the chance ! Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. All kinds of studies were done afterwards as to how to make the buildings and the perimeter safer—ten thousand pound planters placed strategically around the outside, pictures of truck drivers taken for all deliveries and bomb-sniffing dogs were employed—yet NOTHING was done to make the people safer.
Get yourself educated on the 10 Principles of Preparedness—particularly the first three areas, Spiritual, Mental, and Physical.
Hold parties in your home in which you discuss what needs to be done as a group in the event of major disasters. And they are given only a few short minutes in which they have to create the recipe and make it edible.
I was appalled to hear of a fireman in my community who completely dismissed a question raised by one of his students during CERT training.
All of the successful Olympians will tell you that they run the race mentally before they run it physically.  That’s important for all of us to do in being suitable prepared. We have lots of food and water storage and so when the masses are out ransacking the store just before a storm, we've already got all the necessities we need. I forgot to ask - but I'm very interested in what you have been reading concerning human responses to disasters.


Featuring a foreword from Chris Packham, the book is packed with dozens of activities and games as well as survival skills and a brief note on looking after nature. The activities are suitable for ages 3 to 16 and will help develop practical skills, awareness and respect for the natural world.
There’s a large range and each activity has clear advice on resources needed (often none, which I like), number of people, age, duration and how to do it.
However I think those working in this context will easily recognise ways of using these activities in their work. I glanced briefly at the introduction expecting to be presented with the usual list of academics’ justifications of why learning and playing outside is good, quoting myriad obscure references with long names and concepts that mean little when you are thinking – ‘shall we go outside today to do something?’. For example – there are assumptions made that practitioners already know how to make things like bread dough and if they don’t, they can easily look it up – we don’t want to spend money on a book that tells us how to make dough – we want to spend money on a book that takes bread dough outside for an interesting experience.
Many of them use risk and adventure as vehicles for effective experiential learning meaning that these activities will appeal to older children as well as the younger ones and indeed many adults.  I can see these activities turning up in LTL training sessions.
Others can be safely delivered by anyone who can be trusted with a spot of clay or some melted candle-wax. Some make new games out of old concepts, others do require specific items but these are generally not hard to source. I like the extra  information provided on what’s being learnt and provides some inspiration on questions you can ask your child to enhance their learning. Teaching the traditions of the Lakota people, one of the Transformative Learning courses that Sal leads allows the participation of the Rites of Passage or life-stage honouring; that is the ceremony of honouring the transition from one stage of our lives to another.
How can such a complex culture with such deep-rooted ancestry contain such a simple notion? My prior engagement with one was only as a spectator and even that brought out a certain compassion but it still didn’t serve as an accurate precursor.
Our self-important, technological age has spent so much time doing its best to destroy it that its become an issue of desperate importance. This was the round of prayer, a term that was stigmatised by none other than myself due to my adversity to religion. My problems were put into perspective and it was time to hone in on the reason why I was there. Something that may appear to an outsider as cliche but I was as pessimistic as they come and yet here I sat. With the first camp of summer fast approaching, it was decided that my latest camping experience since Cubs would be located in, hopefully-not ironically named, Battle. Introductions over and responsibility resumed, the team fanned out into a clearing to get in to some team games.
This surreal commencement of the second day set the tone for what was surely going to be a tough one for the boys, with just how much activity was planned but the message was to stay aware and stay focused. Once the tents were taken down and the bags packed, the group set about putting up the Dormice houses, excited at the prospect of aiding in conservation, it served as a fitting precursor for the eventual wind down and farewells, each group able to make their contribution, symbolising their time at the camp; before my favourite event of the weekend. Our clever screen world keeps us busy and on the go, but does not help us to communicate, feel loved, gain the satisfaction of the quiet mind, and relax. If we ask students to describe what things smell and sound like, their attention is drawn to notice the smells of soil, how rough some tree bark may feel, or the sound of the wind through branches.
They develop their sense of balance by moving, not by sitting down, and exploring the world around them.
It is common for 14-year-olds to not know that a book is made from a tree or that the fuel for their school bus comes from the earth long before it comes from the petrol station.
Once many objects have been gathered, you could use them in many ways depending on your aims and objectives.
Since Friday, Greeks have been living in a state of panic, especially after it was announced that the banks would not open their doors for at least one week, while also imposing capital controls that do not allow people to withdraw more than 60 euros per day.
Sounds like a great life I’ll admit but please stay where you are, Australia is not for you. In spite of many fire marshals expressing grave concerns about their lack of training after the 1993 WTC attack, nothing changed in training the people.
I have frequently held “Preparedness Parties” in which I prepared yummy meals made right out of the pantry, handed out recipes, and we discuss specific preparedness topics. They are also given a pressure cooker in which they have to make the meal.  (Most folks have never used a pressure cooker before)  And lastly, they are only given a few other tools to use such as only a quarter cup measuring cup, one spoon, one fork, and a pitcher. The student asked the question “What about during an EMP?”  The cocky fireman quipped back “That’s not a life threatening event.”  Can I just tell you that when I heard that my blood boiled?  An EMP is NOT a life-threatening event--REALLY?  Exactly how is the elimination of life lines, refrigeration, oxygen machines, surgical machines, automobiles (including emergency vehicles) classified, then??  A carnival??
I recommend “Red Dawn”, the “Jericho” television series (you’ll have to rent it), “2012” (it gives great perspective, but very little “story”), “Twister” (in surround sound is awesome!) and “The Day After Tomorrow” for some movies to learn from. Like the folks that got together and cleared a street so a girl could make a cancer treatment appointment. The activities, some of which are split by season, are varied and suitable for families of all sizes. An initial flick through reveals great images and a layout of activities that is easy to follow. The language of the book is gentle and thoughtful, we are asked to harvest sticks of wood ‘respectfully’, one activity refers to the ‘heartbeat of a cow’. Learning with Nature is full of activities, games to get children outside, keep them motivated and most importantly of all having fun. My main role over the weekend was to help Mark and Jill entertain and educate the children, while parents continued on their rites of passage; though I was delighted to hear I had been given the chance to partake in the evenings sweat lodge. More and more piled in and already questions of whether I was even up to it haunted my peace of mind.
Yet, during the lodge, I truly did pray and pray with such a degree of intent, I shocked myself to just how much emotion was surfacing through me, something I would have otherwise felt embarrassed of.
This ritual, though led by a man who was mentored for over 15 years within this Native American lineage, is a global ceremony of indigenous people, it is not indoctrinate to one culture and instead spreads universal truths, the reason I think it was far more hard hitting than one may consider religious ceremonies. Some had children to raise, others had careers to define and there were those who had seen their children grow to become adults themselves, with their time to appreciate that on the horizon. While cliques were evidently in place, you could already begin to see communication and teamwork developing among boys who otherwise wouldn’t, in a classroom environment. The continued timetable of physical exercise woven with educational crafting was the order of the day once the morning duties were completed. Our work aims to bring the subjects outside while building meaningful relationships with the natural world. One consequence of this sensory focus is improved, descriptive writing full of imagination — with an added bonus of high marks on writing assignments! We all need encouragement to take risks, building up our resilience and confidence — the skills that will equip us all our life.
You could talk about classification and group the objects according to whether they belong to the animal, mineral, or plant kingdoms. We start by choosing a leaf that is at least as long as an adult’s palm and tearing it into four or more pieces (depending on age and ability of your students). This may be a PTTLs level 4, or a secondary teaching qualification, going up to masters level. The Greek people need to be heard without the blackmail from leaders of the European Union,” he said, adding that the crisis has already caused a mass migration of Greeks to Australia, but a “no” vote to the upcoming referendum would significantly increase the number of people who wish to leave the country.
They should read their history and see what people went through in the past and respect the work and achievements of its migrants.
Two-thirds of the on site fire marshals didn’t even know where the stairwells were at the WTC in 1993. And yes, I’ve even created some games that help hit a point home that are entertaining, funny, and memorable.
I created a bunch of cards with various supplies on them, including spiritual strength and physical strength. So here they have a foreign recipe, foreign ingredients, and alien tools.   Once the timer starts, chaos ensues.
If I'm within about 50 miles of town on a day trip I take a pack and enough gear to give me a couple of days.
A side box titled Invisible Learning gives an idea of what we might expect when using the activity, advice I found either reinforced my own ideas or alerted me to new possibilities. I have to confess I went completely off task at one point as I was trying to remember if I had any essential oils hanging around so I could try sniff-tracking with them or if we had any suitably shaped wood for the burning bowls. A bug hotel suggests that we make ‘diverse rooms for the insects’ rather like some sort of more boutique or art-house style bug hotel, a cut above your cheaper end motel. The book is split up into sections covering games, nature activities, seasonal activities and survival skills. Despite this, there was some accuracy to my preceding anticipations and that was the stark reality of how we, in todays society, treat age, be it children or the elderly. After arriving at the beautiful venue, to which we are all grateful to Penny and the family, and setting up the camp for the kids, there was time for a few brief introductions, at which point I had already begun to question my prior conceptions.


Sal stood and, after receiving a cleansing of cedar from Marina, entered the lodge while offering a blessing of gratitude to all relations, followed by all the women and the men – who followed his every action. Cultural learning is not about conforming, its about educating, its about realisation and its about how you shape your actions going forward.
I thought not only of the hardships people dear to me were suffering, the debts I owed to those who make my life just as enjoyable as it is but also to the people around me, who a few hours ago were strangers. There is objectivity in relation to the natural world, it is our lives on it that are subjective. The complexities that every year of life adds to us as an individual cannot be overstated, when you truly think about the impact that even the most minute moment can have, it seems cruel to rigidly categorise age as we do. A whistle-stop tour of the camp ensued, while also dabbing my hand at some fire-making, before an overview of the timetable; one of the few but precise staff meetings that enabled such a fluid running of the camp.
Taking a moment out and finding a secluded spot to reflect on all that had happened, all the growth I had witnessed and all the contemplation I myself had endured, I was able to truly quantify the magnitude of natures power. For example, a tree becomes a living being with its own characteristics and often with healing properties. You might keep some of the more robust items in a bag and have a child feel inside, pick one up, and describe what he or she can feel while the others guess, thus developing vocabulary and understanding of adjectives. The most important question of our time is how we can look after the natural world, because we need so much from it to sustain us.
Our lead trainer is qualified up to Level 7 in Environmental Education and Management, qualified primary school teacher, with over 25 years working with young people in the outdoors. Take some time out and connect with nature, inspire your children and most importantly – have fun! We are very concerned and many people are sending money, anything and everything they can to help,” she said. If I could summarize the most significant reoccurring theme in everything I’ve read, it is that human beings need to better mentally prepare for these kinds of events. I'm concerend though about what I should take for across the country trips when I know I would not be able to get home.
The references to invisible learning ensure that no activity fails to hold its own and everything can contribute to effective teaching and learning. The book has a sense of a refined collection to it not a random gathering of ideas. The book is straightforward to navigate and gets the right balance of pictures and text, which can be all too often overlooked in books.
Families and individuals, younger or older, the diverse nature of the group had become apparent and even the children, ranging from 5-12 years old, were all driven by varying curiosities. As I sat, in a space with no more than that which my body filled, I listened closely to Sal’s words on suffering and the relation it holds to the purification process. The final two buckets were each poured in the same manner as their predecessors and I began to think about my life-stage, being a student who’s approaching his final year at university but through a newly found positive scope.
After initially lying down and gazing at the sky, not far from the lodge, I came to my feet and made for a nearby patch of long grass, all I wanted was to be fully engulfed by the surroundings and connect. That is why I have found Sal’s work on Rites of Passage so inspiring, it allows the seemingly unbreakable boundaries we ourselves apply to age to be broken down into far less frightening entities. And so, I was left to tend to the fire while the greeting party was sent to the coach, periodically poking the burning branches, I sat as the previous apprehension rose back up, before the voices of twenty young men began billowing through the woods.
You can expect a trip like this to evoke the discovery of new surroundings and characteristics you were otherwise unaware but of relationships, and the willingness to develop them, among already familiar acquaintances was a surprise for me. Its ability to transfuse the peacefulness and tranquility into a scope for rationalising thought is a truly wonderful gift, a realisation that I will never forget. In fact 45 percent of the workers at the WTC did not even know the buildings had stairwells! So many people actually gota tad bit stressed out because they aren’t able to trade enough for food or water. Folks are even panicking.  It’d be quite funny if it wasn’t such a real representation of what can happen if people don’t better prepare with their tools and what they intend to eat in a survival scenario.
My over-whelming feeling when looking through the ideas is that I really, really want to try some of these.
While these are somewhat general, I think every one of us can admit to conforming to at least one of them, somewhere down the line.
I was still unaware to the degree of importance that age held but at least had begun to see the complexities that even a difference of a year can make. We spend our entire lives trying to avoid suffering, many of the statements I made about age are obsessed with it and yet so actively produce it but here all twenty of us sat, willingly exposing ourselves to it.
We all suffer and we all have hardships but when others are facing trials that are mountains compared to your molehill, you begin to appreciate your own suffering and hope that they can conquer theirs. We can reflect on what we leave behind with fondness but also making sure that it is left behind, while we focus on nothing but moving forward, staying thankful for all that we have. By the early evening, we had a finished sweat lodge, eight Dormice houses, hand-made atlatls, foraged, prepared and cooked nettle pakoras and a lesson on safe fire extinguishing for good measure; all by early evening.
As the group rejoined, we headed to the yurt for the final exchanges, each member bringing a gift to give to another, on top of what the camp had already gifted us. Children often soon notice how the veins can help them in rearranging their leaves and detecting differences in the upper and lower sides.
I once even had a Ladies Night Pampered Preparedness Party in which we played games, got paraffin wax treatments on our hands and lots of yummy food to eat.  (The house was full of women who wanted the hand treatments. And they found the generator or shower was useless without some of the more critical items.
The information is uncomplicated to follow and easy to digest, with top tips and interesting facts throughout the book. I believe that can be owed to the children themselves, it is far easier to recognise the affects of age upon children, so the first afternoon was spent noticing the explicit differences. Rays of light were picking through gaps in the blankets, something that was unacceptable and against protocol for Sal and the traditions of the ceremony. The aforementioned teamwork was now being applied to a productive medium, facilitating the safe and efficient use of otherwise dangerous tools. By the stage of preparing the fire for the sweat lodge, attitudes had become spiky and requests began to be ignored, so a short break and a staff check-in allowed a momentary rest bite enabling the camp to remind ourselves of todays message of gratefulness.
Having discovered, explored, conserved and shared, it was time to wish the boys well and say our final goodbyes, ending what was yet another successful camp for the ever-deserving Circle of Life team as the boys were adamant the learnt lessons would be influential in their daily lives. They also discovered that they’d rather not have to trade for items because they have no way of knowing what items others will have. A younger child would be more engaged by interaction with surroundings, an older the interaction with other members of the group.
And you don’t need to spend any money or meeting rooms and supplies.  Libraries usually offer their facilities for free and your community center sure as heck should be able to handle that as well.
All pessimism was left outside of the lodge, the boys were left with only their minds to explore, allowing compassion to blunt the edges of the spikes that had feebly threatened to spoil the days energy. Thankfully, a member who was the doorkeeper helpfully solved the issue, much to my pleasing. It is the awareness of the natural world that can beset the most divine appreciation of it, when you appreciate the world around you, you can be nothing but content; even when you have forgotten your pillow. Instead, the groups appreciation of the lives they lead was complimented with well-wishing for those not as lucky and, through self-exploration, the group were able to incorporate the days message into their approach for the rest of their time at camp; and hopefully daily life.
Again, exploring the natural world can be expected but to explore ones self to such a degree can be a profound lesson.
Sal began to pour water on to the luminescent relics, each pour blessed with thanks (a reoccurring theme for all actions) and a song followed, supported by the circle around him and as the drum kicked in, so did my heartbeat.
I fought to contain my breathing and try to refocus on all the days messages of gratitude, awareness and respect. I had heard from many people knowledgable on this ceremony that facing the dirt was the best way to get a cool breath but fought that inclination with all the testosterone I could muster. Focusing solely on the song that filled the lodge, the surreal nature of the experience really took ahold and allowed my panic to settle, somewhat.
As the first bucket of water was emptied, the door was briefly opened and that was a magical moment. Air reminiscent of the seemingly ancient outside world was a treat and a reminder of just how affective the procedure is for appreciating the things we constantly take for granted. As ladles of water were passed around, one for each person, the liquid seemed to disappear through my system indescribably fast but at least I knew my sweat supply was not empty… Yet. Forest School, a long-term process in natural spaces develops young people’s whole beings. Children who can make mistakes and bounce back, adults who can support young people’s personalised learning, be authentic, and encourage the diversity of talent and skills that every human is born with.



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Rubric: Emergency Supply Kits



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