I relish opportunities to spend time with others who have a love of story, share my experiences, learn from and be inspired by them. My doctoral research was an interpretive, qualitative exploration of young people’s relationship with nature, by considering how young people make sense of outdoor learning experiences that have been provided for them as part of a targeted intervention. Findings from my research emphasise a need for playful, creative and emotional approaches; an ability to enable young people to feel comfortable being in nature, rather than always doing things to, in and for nature. The natural world can be a magical, enchanting, playful place for children, however it becomes all too serious as we grow older and become aware of the state of the world, and the urgent need to protect it. This message is very important, however we need to think more carefully about how we convey it.
For me this involves the use of story – to elicit research data, interpret it and then to disseminate so that it stimulates inter-disciplinary dialogue in an engaging and understandable way. It necessitates challenging more traditional forms of academic research and writing, and embracing more creative approaches. I aim to make my work as accessible as possible, and to avoid the use of technical jargon or overly academic language. This has not been easy; aiming to be different can be an isolating and lonely experience and I seek out opportunities for companionship. My own childhood was shaped by Beatrix Potter and Enid Blyton. It is fair to say that I’m more interested in Faraway Trees than Ivory Towers. My ultimate aim is to share my wonder and excitement of being in nature with others so that together we can conserve it.