Can we really separate outdoor pursuits from nature?
Photo Credit Andrew Walmsley. Measuring Karrie Knight Portugal, Europes recorded tallest tree in 2017
Last month, we came across this article, ‘Has outdoor culture become too detached from nature?’ In it, writer and photographer Alex Roddie recounts an email he received requesting that he include less nature and wildlife in his writing and more ‘outdoor subjects’. As someone who sees nature and wildlife as a vital and beautiful part of the outdoor experience, Alex was shocked by this email, and at the inference that humans are above nature even when immersed in it – whether climbing on it, walking through it or swimming in it.
(Treewalkers soaking up the sun in Russia at their 2020 campout)
At BCC, we love the challenging elements of enjoying the outdoors. There’s an undeniable thrill to working out the best route up a new tree or finally arriving at a suitable campsite after hours of slipping and sliding on muddy forest paths. Surely, though, it wouldn’t be the same without the sights, smells and sounds of wildlife on the way? Can we really separate outdoor pursuits from nature?
Last year’s campout took place close to home (because…2020) in a familiar woodland with trees we’ve climbed probably hundreds of times before. There wasn’t much physical challenge to it compared to some of the experiences we’ve had before – we didn’t scale new heights or have to solve any unexpected rigging problems. But when a deer stopped below us to graze, completely unaware of our quiet presence above, it still felt like an amazing privilege. When an owl made its soft, insistent calls in the small hours, it still felt as if time stood still. The morning dew highlighting floating spider webs still made us reach for our cameras, smiling as we boiled water for our morning coffee. As we packed up to head home, we had that satisfied, heart-full feeling – from being outdoors, not doing outdoors.
The stories we share from SËRA Foundation and the Siekoya Remolino Community this year will highlight human connection with nature and forests, and we hope that everyone can begin to feel that connection, no matter where they live. There is so much to be gained – for humans and for nature – when we notice and cherish our connection with the natural world.
See you in the trees.