Rewilding & Ethos

Why Bewilder?

Rewilding and allowing nature to thrive

“At Rewilding Britain, we define rewilding as the large-scale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature is allowed to take care of itself. Rewilding seeks to reinstate natural processes and, where appropriate, missing species – allowing them to shape the landscape and the habitats within. It’s focused firmly on the future although we can learn from the past.”

Rewilding Britain

Rewilding is sometimes interpreted as taking humans out of a landscape and allowing nature to thrive without us. Whilst we agree it is often necessary to create sanctuaries for vulnerable or returning flora and fauna, we also believe it is necessary for humans to rekindle their own wildness, some of which can only happen through experiencing a direct connection with wild nature.

In the end, if we seek to create a truly balanced future on this planet, where humans can thrive alongside all other life, then we must find ways to cohabit with it, not just create reserves for nature, as we have for our indigenous people, whilst we carry on regardless. Some of the rewilding projects and concepts out there seem to be focused on just that, keeping us – as humans – out. 

“How do you live in an age of bewilderment when the old stories have collapsed and no new story has yet emerged to replace them? The first step is to tone down the prophecies of doom, and switch from panic mode to bewilderment. Panic is a form of hubris. It comes from the smug feeling that I know exactly where the world is heading – down. Bewilderment is more humble, and therefore more clear-sighted. If you feel like running down the street crying ‘The apocalypse is upon us!’, try telling yourself ‘No, it’s not that. Truth is, I just don’t understand what’s going on in the world.”

Yuval Harari


Conservation can have both positive and negative connotations

What is it we are seeking to conserve? By conserving, do we maintain the flow of change and dynamism that is nature at work, or do we seek to fix it in the imagined state of a bucolic past? Often conservation feels, as is written above, like the creation of reserves against the imposition of human ways on the Earth. This has, without question, been necessary at times. 

Britain has a wonderful natural heritage, though so much has been lost in our taming of the landscape here.

We at Be Wilder Camps are committed to protecting the wild spaces that are left, even those where we may now bring humans to stay and enjoy. Our first project, at Redwood Rare Breeds in Somerset is situated on a farm committed to conservation of landscape and species. The farm is specialising in breeding farm animals and the like considered endangered in this country. However, they are also committed to protecting their wood and grasslands and have embarked on an ambitious programme of tree planting over the last years. 


Reconnecting with nature

At Bewilder Camps we are advocates for more and deeper connection between ourselves and nature, be that in the wild or closer to home, in our gardens, allotments, parks and open spaces. We aim to facilitate this connection through our camps and activities, both directly through programmes and indirectly through the environments in which our camps are set.

Nature connection activities that can help us hone our awareness include forest bathing; foraging and nature identification walks; woodland night walks; tracking and other wildcraft experiences and more.

These activities are particularly important in a culture where we spend so much time on our screens and devices unable or unconcerned about truly seeing what is around us. 

If we are to build a future that encourages biodiversity, rewilding, regeneration and restoration, conservation, planting of trees and creation of microhabitats, then we must come to, first, a better understanding of our natural environment, how it works and our place in it; and second, a better relationship between the rest of the natural world and ourselves. We are an essential part of nature and the only separation is that found inside ourselves.

 


For thousands of years, for many people on earth, The Story Of Separation has dominated our way of being. According to this story, we are separate individuals whose purpose is to maximise rational self-interest and conquer nature and death in a universe of atoms and void. At a time of social polarisation, ecological collapse and political crisis, this story is unravelling, and with it our sense of who we are in the world. Propelled out of the old story, we enter the unknown, a space of bewilderment into which a new story, a new reality, can come.

Charles Eisenstein

The Pledge

Participants Pledge: We ask everyone who comes to experience a Be Wilder camp to make a pledge to connect with nature and each other.

Landowners Pledge: We ask all landowners who host Be Wilder Camps to pledge a firm commitment to the principles of rewilding and sustainable land management.

Nature is our friend. Be Wilder Camps are about connection. Connection with each other, with our friends, our family, our tribe. Connection with nature, with the wild things, with the night stars, the trees, the wind, the rain and the sun.

We will always seek to work with nature, not against it or by imposing ourselves on it. In practical terms, this means creating our camps with awareness of the landscape, of the existing flora and fauna, and attuning to the place itself. It means always trying to work with the lowest impact possible and with care in our approach. It also means choosing carefully who we work with.

You will not find a Be Wilder Camp in places where we do not share an ethos for love of nature and commitment to ecological regeneration and all that means. Because of this, each Be Wilder Camp will be different, made for the place it finds itself in. Like mycelium, we seek to make connections with the living environment we are part of and bring mutual benefit to each party.

 Moving forward, we will seek to direct resources into proactively rewilding landscapes, working with landowners to create spaces for biodiverse life to thrive and, where appropriate, for humans to interact with and enjoy, as well as work to protect. 


Bewilderment. A very bad thing if it is a diversion from what you know to do. But when the honest truth is that you don’t know, then to admit that and to succumb to the unknowing is a necessary stage of the process of letting in a new understanding”

Charles Eisenstein

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