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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Friday, 14 October 2011

BOOK REVIEW “Discover Nature Awareness”. By John Fenna

Geoffrey McMullan is an imposing figure with an aura of calm, non-threatening, authority. Having served in the British Army for 22 years and received a British Empire Medal for Conservation and Anglo-German Relations, Geoffrey has studied survival techniques and tracking, both in the Army and since, and set up his own establishment “Natural Pathways”, teaching survival skills, with Hannah Nicholls. He now runs his own school called Pathfinder-UK which he established just over a year ago.

As well as this, Geoffrey is an avid “birder”, has taken part in worldwide bird projects and, as an accomplished artist, illustrated several books. He has also led expeditions for Raleigh International. and in 2008 gained a Masters degree (MSc) in Addiction Psychology and Counselling.

Geoffrey has been using nature awareness for many years to help others, particularly those with addictions, to discover how they can help themselves into active recovery.

Not a bad CV! A practical man of action, a caring therapeutic worker and an artist!

With his latest endeavour – the book “Discover Nature Awareness” - Geoffrey is introducing his experiences of nature awareness to a wider audience and does so in a clear, easy-to-read way in an attractively laid out and beautifully illustrated volume (colour illustrations by Kiki Krvisdijk and line drawings by Geoffrey McMullan) of nature-based games.

The first half of the book explains the “what, how, which, where, when, who’s” of nature awareness, with the “games”, how to play them, what to expect etc, forming the second half.

With great skill, Geoffrey has avoided making the concept and exploration of nature awareness sound “all fluffy, tree-hugging”, which some might expect it to be, but shows that exploring nature awareness has some very real benefits in a very real world.

I spent a couple of days with Geoffrey, taking part in some of the games, along with some recovering addicts, and saw first-hand how the “games” can be powerful tools for reconnecting people with a world that seems alien to them – the natural world!

I found the experience personally challenging and discovered some things about myself that I had not realised before. In all, the couple of days proved a quite emotional experience, which I still think about. It was obvious to me that others playing the games were also learning a great deal.

The games are great fun to play and can be used to work with groups and individuals at various levels from fun with children to therapy with challenged adults and all points in between!

In “Discover Nature Awareness” Geoffrey lays out a clear pathway to explore nature awareness that any, and all, can follow.

Nature awareness is being used by many different educational establishments – not least some bushcraft schools – and this volume should be a great help in getting this subject more widely appreciated at all levels.

“Discover Nature Awareness”

A collection of nature-based games for adults and children of all ages and backgrounds

2011 Copyright Geoffrey McMullan

For information contact Pathfinder–UK

School of Natural Awareness and Tracking

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