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

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Treecreeper visited my Sit-spot...

A Sit-spot is a place where you can sit in silence and spend time alone. But are you really alone? This is a place to allow your senses to take in your surroundings. Sitting still and being quiet is very relaxing, but perhaps not the easiest skill for some to master. With children I usually start with a fifteen minute sit-spot and building it up to a maximum of twenty minutes, depending on how much time I have with my group.

With adults I get them to spend up to an hour in a sit-spot. However, for their first time I would normally get them to do a twenty minute sit-spot. I ask them to be aware of how insects behave around them; and how does their presence affect the wildlife around them, are they setting of alarm calls from nearby birds which, in turn, alert other animals.

This is known as a ‘concentric ring.’ The longer you stay in a Sit-spot the more the animals will become aware that you mean them no harm and the more they will visit you, and the more you will become aware of your surroundings and the events that take place within it. By staying still and quiet and by changing how you are feeling you will find that wildlife will no longer recognise you as a typical human. As your energy settles down, animals will begin to come closer to you, thus presenting you with an opportunity for some amazing close encounters with nature.

On one occasion I had a Treecreeper fly straight towards me and land in the tree directly above my head where I was sitting for my sit-spot at Tom Brown’s Tracker School in the States, in all my years of bird watching I have never experienced such an event.

At the same time a Red Squirrel was calmly eating a nut within a few feet of me, and only when I changed my energy, by switching back into my head with excitement as the Treecreeper alighted directly above my head, (the Treecreeper was so close I could feel its tail feathers on my hair) did the squirrel realise I was there and alarmed and moved off slowly so as not to draw attention to its self.

This was a very powerful moment for me as were many of the other activates Tom had us do throughout the course.

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