When I have conversations with others about growing up, I am always aware that my early experiences were really rich, varied and came from a supportive family community with a tradition of getting outside. I was privileged to have multiple opportunities to connect with the natural world from a very young age. Early memories include visits to the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield, myself and my sister pushed from the city centre in a huge pram to play under the trees with our fluffy owls and bears, each owl a different but distinct shade of pink!
I was able to draw on these experiences in my early career as an education ranger in Sherwood Forest, to help give structured and supported play and learning experiences for a whole range of ages. Activities with pre-school children were always extremely rewarding; teddy bear picnics, animal track hunts, building animal homes, art frames and nature colour matching were great ways to connect the very young to nature.