Candlelit Dinner with Tony Juniper at Wilderness Wood, Saturday 5th January

Tony Juniper book cover

On the first Saturday of each month through 2013 our sister company Wilderness Wood is hosting candlelit dinners served in their beautiful timber-frame Barn.

On Saturday 5th January they we’ll be joined by acclaimed environmentalist Tony Juniper who will be introducing his new book What has Nature ever done for us? (released Jan 10th; signed copies on sale at the dinner).

Full details are available here.

Tony is an independent sustainability & environment adviser, including as Special Advisor with the Prince’s Charities International Sustainability Unit & as a Senior Associate with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership. He’s a founder member of the Robertsbridge Group that advises international companies. He speaks & writes on many aspects of sustainability & is the author of several books, including the award-winning Parrots of the WorldSpix’s Macaw & How Many Light Bulbs Does It Take To Change A Planet? He was a co-author of Harmony, with HRH The Prince of Wales & Ian Skelly.

Tony began his career as an ornithologist, working with Birdlife International. From 1990 he worked at Friends of the Earth; he was the organisation’s executive director from 2003-2008 & was Vice Chair of Friends of the Earth International 2000-2008.


Stephen Joseph OBE, executive director of Campaign for Better Transport to speak at next Wilderness Wood Candlelit Dinner

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Continuing a series of candlelit dinners with guest speakers expert in sustainable living, on Friday 3rd August at 7.30pm our sister company Wilderness Wood in Sussex is hosting a delicious 3-course locally-sourced dinner cooked by our Executive Chef Oliver Rowe & served by candlelight in the timber-frame woodland Barn.

Special guest for the night is Stephen Joseph OBE, executive director of Campaign for Better Transport and one of the UK’s leading experts in transport & the environment. Over dinner Stephen will describe his personal approach to the challenges of providing real travel choices that enable us to get around in ways that enhance the health of people, communities & the environment. Bye bye traffic jams!

 

MENU

A glass of wine & foraged canapés on arrival

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Braised artichoke hearts with gremolata

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Barbecued lamb chump steak with braised chard, new potatoes

& rosemary & anchovy sauce

OR
Aubergine flatbreads with pomegranate molasses, chopped salad and seasoned yoghurt

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Raspberry and thyme pannacotta

Organic & fairtrade teas & coffees

Local beer & selected organic wines will be sold by the bottle or glass

 £35 per person

(Wilderness Wood oak & chestnut members receive 2 half-price places per year of membership)

Please call 01825 830 509 to book (bookings close 5.30 Wed 1st August)

Overnight camping available / the wood can recommend local accommodation & organise onsite babysitting

More details here


Last few places available for candlelit dinner Friday 6th July at Wilderness Wood

Howard Johns CLD for web_0

Continuing a series of monthly sustainability-themed dinners at our sister company Wilderness Wood in East Sussex, renewable energy maverick Howard Johns will be telling his personal story over a delicious locally-sourced 3-course dinner. LAST FEW PLACES AVAILABLE – BOOKING CLOSES 11.00 THURSDAY 5TH JULY – CALL 01825 830 509

From protesting in the treetops to protesting in the red tops: the creation of a community energy revolutionary

A delicious 3-course locally-sourced dinner cooked by Executive Chef Oliver Rowe served by candlelight in a timber-frame Barn with Howard Johns, head of the Solar Trade Association, founder of Southern Solar and passionate advocate of renewable energy.

After completing a degree in energy and environmental technology Howard spent a few years protesting on environmental issues before moving to Italy to learn how to install solar panels. He returned to the UK, trained as a plumber and an electrician, and set up Southern Solar with two friends in 2002. In addition to running Southern Solar, he was appointed chairman of the Solar Trade Association in 2007. He is also one of the founders of OVESCO in the transition town of Lewes in East Sussex. The organisation is dedicated to making the area carbon-neutral.

MENU

£35 per person (Wilderness Wood oak / chestnut members receive 2 half-price places per year of membership)

Woodland nibbles & a glass of wine or juice on arrival
Broad bean, pea, cucumber, goat’s cheese & lemon salad
Seabass baked en papillote with glazed summer vegetables & roast garlic aioli (this dish can be served with twice baked spinach & Sussex Crumble soufflés for vegetarians)
Gooseberry fool with home-made shortbread biscuits

Organic & fairtrade teas & coffees

A selection of organic wines and beers will be sold by the glass & bottle

Overnight accommodation available in Wild Camps – or try glamping in a beautiful converted Horsebox

For enquiries and to make a booking please call 01825 830 509


Getting the kids out there – avoiding Nature Deficit Disorder…

Last Child in the Woods

This post is written by Joanna Yarrow Founding Director of Beyond Green and Wilderness Wood Director

I had the privilege of being brought up in the middle of a 62-acre Sussex woodland.

The upsides of an outdoor childhood
Of course, as a status-conscious child I moaned about the lack of TV and (early edition) computer games. Despite my gripes, I knew even then that my surroundings were affecting me beyond just limiting my street cred. With no burning interest in botany, entomology or ornithology, I somehow nonetheless picked up a barrage of country lore that baffled my schoolfriends. I won cross-country races without really trying as my legs were strong from years on foot and bike. I knew how to find free snacks and stay warm and dry outdoors, how to cook campfire feasts and what to do if the flames got out of hand.

I was bewildered by tough London 16 year-olds shrieking with excitement at their first experience of bouncing on a thick bed of pine needles on visits to the wood. I envied their outfits but was shocked by their hysteria. Where had they been?!

Does it matter that kids don’t get outside?
Of course very few children will experience quite such a nature-immersed childhood as mine. But in our ever more sanitised and mechanised world, most children have at best a hands-off relationship with nature. After tens of thousands of years of children playing and working primarily outdoors, the last few generations have seen such interaction with nature vanish almost entirely. And the evidence suggests that this dissociation with nature is more than just a sad erosion of a nostalgic ideal of childhood. In his excellent book ‘Last Child in the Woods’ author Richard Louv argues that the implications for children’s physical and mental health – and for the future of environmentalism – are immense.

The ‘biophilia hypothesis’ suggests that humans thrive best when they interact with nature. Studies on people ranging from prisoners to hospital patients show that those with a view of a natural landscape heal faster. Others show that children playing in natural playgrounds think more creatively and are more likely to play inventively and cooperatively than in concrete ones.

Lack of outdoor play is a contributor to the rise in childhood mental health problems and obesity. And lack of exposure to nature is a possible contributor to the rise in attention deficit disorder.

What’s keeping kids indoors?
When he interviewed parents, Louv found the main thing keeping kids indoors was parental fear. Although statistically abductions are lower than in decades, ‘stranger danger’ means many parents are afraid to allow their kids outdoors. Combined with a reduction in green spaces nearby and requirements to ‘keep off the grass’, it’s little wonder that kids succumb to the attractions of computer games, social media and TV (the average Brit now watches over four hours of TV per day!).

Getting out there at Wilderness Wood
So it’s wonderful to have the chance to address this trend head-on in our wood. In our 62-acres of lovely Sussex countryside we provide a whole range of opportunities for kids and their families to get a taste for the great outdoors and build the confidence they need to re-engage with nature.

Visitors can explore a network of nature trails and a woodland adventure playground. They can cook outdoors year-round in Wild Cookout glades, enjoy local organic food and drink in our timber-frame Barn café, and sleep under the stars in Wild Camps or ‘glamp’ in our beautiful converted horsebox.

As well as providing a great place to explore we bring the place to life with a range of activities designed to bring kids (and accompanying adults!) out of their shells and demystify the outdoors. Educational activities for schools complement their curriculum (from minibeasts to ecosystems). Our team of enthusiastic rangers run hugely popular birthday parties (with themes ranging from Gruffalo Hunts to Robin Hood and Fairy Gardens) and every weekend and on school holidays we run activities that individual children and families can book into – from Survive in the Wild and Castaway Adventures to Monster Hunts and firelighting skills.

We’re also running a growing number of courses for all ages including bushcraft skills, outdoor cooking, foraging and basic woodcraft which we hope will foster lifelong passions, as well as Easter, Christmas and other seasonal festivals.

We can’t all live in the middle of a wood. But I hope that a day or two at Wilderness Wood can help to rekindle some of the magic of the outdoors for children and their families. Our biggest achievement will be if we can inspire people to keep on embracing nature when they go home – even if it’s just a rampage in the park. Please keep ON that grass!


Seeing the wood for the trees? Joanna Yarrow at the Royal Forestry Society Annual conference

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This is post is written by Joanna Yarrow, Founding Director of Beyond Green

Last month I joined experts from across the forestry and woodlands industry at a conference organised by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) and the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) to look at new ways of valuing the UK’s woodlands and forests.

I’m a relative newcomer to the world of forestry (as a child growing up in a wood I made the most of the outdoor life but studiously avoided anything to do with the technicalities of trees…) and felt particularly out of place as the only person in the room not wearing tweed. There were plenty of in-depth expositions about how to best to calculate the price of a tree. Not much consensus, but some nice scene-setting from Natural Capitalism: “while there may be no ‘right’ way to value a forest, a river or a child, the wrong way is to give it no value at all”.

As perhaps some lighter relief amidst the learned arboriculture, I talked about what we’re up to at Beyond Green’s sister organisation Wilderness Wood in East Sussex. In contrast to the vast tracts of land available to many of the landowners present, we’ve got just 62 acres where we juggle the many challenges of combining award-winning productive forestry with the highs and lows of inspiring and engaging visitors in sustainable living.

When my parents applied for planning permission to build a home in the wood 30 years ago the planning authority questioned the feasibility of two people earning a living wage from managing just 62 acres of woodland. Whilst there’s certainly been no gold-rush in the UK’s forestry industry, 3 decades on we employ 12+ full time equivalent staff plus a number of seasonal contractors. The key is diversity – we juggle a combination of woodland management, production of firewood, poles & fencing, furniture and garden products with education, family activities & events, courses, delicious local seasonal food & drink and more. All under a guiding ethos of balancing ecological, social and economic performance.

In recognition of its approach to forestry and the diversity of its activities, in 2010 the wood won the RFS Excellence in Forestry Award. Last year the BBC Politics Show visited. They wanted to use us as a case study showing how the ‘private sector’ could be a positive force in running woodlands (so therefore no need to worry about that sell-off of national forests everyone was squeaking about). In my interview on the show I pointed out that unless there’s a large and untapped mass of values-driven committed plate-spinners out there just desperate to run woodlands in the way we do it’s very unlikely that market forces alone would result in Wilderness Woods springing up across the country! (But if you are one of those types do please get in touch…!)

So when the good tweedy folk of the RFS beamingly said how nice it was to see us having such fun in the wood I had to point out that if any of them was contemplating doing something similar they should be prepared to feel like this at the end of every day:

One last thought: if forests are as important to the whole nation as last year’s uprising against the government’s proposals to sell of national forests suggested, it would be great if the RFS could attract a slightly more diverse audience:


Beyond Green Living’s looking for new talent

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Beyond Green Living: Communications and Research Executive  

Do you have a passion for sustainability and a knack for getting the word out? Can you find out new things fast and use that knowledge to inspire people to try out different ways of living?

We’re looking for someone to help us make change happen by delivering systematic and professional communications services to Beyond Green Living and across the whole Beyond Green Group.

Beyond Green is a pioneering interdisciplinary sustainability company. We work across sectors, delivering strategic consultancy projects, designing and producing our own sustainable developments as well as a range of practical and applied communications projects. All our works focuses on answering the question ‘how shall we live?’

This is a fantastic if demanding opportunity for a rising star of the communications industry who wants to deepen their knowledge and fast-track their interest in and passion for sustainability.

Read more here: BGL communications and research executive


Joanna Yarrow at Wilderness Wood: an opportunity to branch out

JY sunday times

In the latest article linking Joanna, Wilderness Wood and the big forest debate she appeared in the Sunday Times Home section.

Click the link below to read the story.

Joanna Yarrow in Sunday Times Magazine Home Section


The forest debate looks to Wilderness Wood

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As the nationwide debate on the governments consultation to privatise swathes of public forest hots up, many local and national news publications are looking to Wilderness Wood, a sister company to Beyond Green Living, to investigate how privately run forests can be run in a sustainable way whilst still guaranteeing public access to this precious resource.

Click this link to view the latest article published in The Argus, Thursday 3 February 2011