School makes connection with nature

Thriving Roots camp helps children learn about the natural world

Victor Chester

Victor Chester

Thriving Roots Wilderness School aims to connect kids to the world beyond four walls and square screens, according to program co-ordinator Alaina Hallett.

“Thriving Roots is based on rediscovering what it’s like to be truly helpful and awaken to what it feels like to be fully alive,” Hallett explained. “So much of modern life is living in boxes and staring a screen.”

Thriving Roots Wilderness School bases much of its focus on 8 Shields, a program pioneered by renowned naturalist Jon Young, co-founder of the Wilderness Awareness School, which aims to forge connections with the natural world that surrounds us, Hallett said.

The school conducts deep nature mentoring camps on Thursdays at Louise Taylor’s property in Saanich on Killdeer Road.

“The land is really special and Louise cares for it in a magical way,” Hallett said. “We’re really grateful for the opportunity she provides.”

A camp completed this summer involved 16 kids between eight and 14 years of age.

“We bring them into a natural world where they can fulfill their curiosity, inner wildness and sense of adventure,” said Hallett. “It fosters a greater appreciation for nature and all living things.”

Participants learn about edible and medicinal plants, survival skills, shelter building, carving and how to identify birds and their vocalizations.

Saanich resident Helena Jeeves said her daughter Natalie is thriving in the program.

“She has a chance to play in the woods as I did as a kid, learning about nature and how she belongs in it,” Jeeves said.

Her daughter has also embraced the opportunity to learn more and develop strengths.

“Her ability to understand and learn from her surroundings has grown exponentially,” Jeeves noted. “Her confidence has grown significantly.”

The programs run throughout the year, with the next sessions being currently scheduled to begin around the middle of September.

For more information on the cost and scheduling, visit thrivingroots.org. Hallett also suggests that adults interested in similar nature mentoring programs conducted on Salt Spring Island should check out wisdomofearth.ca.