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About the Bushcraft Education Blog

My aim in starting this blog back in 2013 was just to share ideas of how to use what has become known as 'bushcraft' in educational settings. In 2015 two additional regular contributors joined the Bushcraft Education blog and now contribute a range of material to the blog. Martin and Richard both contribute to this blog on a range of topics and you may have read posts on Deer Stalking, Environmental Science, Gun flints and more already, if you want to find out a bit more about them look them up here.

I would probably attribute the term bushcraft to Ray Mears or Mors Kochanski, prior to their books on the topic the skills now known as bushcraft would have been called 'survival skills' and were often based closely on military survival training.
Bushcraft seems to me to be based more on native and primitive skills and the idea that you can use your skills to live in the woods and wild places rather than merely survive them. Also whereas learning survival skills might have been seen as an emergency preparedness measure bushcraft is a hobby or leisure time activity which doesn't need to be so regimented or extreme.

Inspiring Bushcraft Books 

I have become convinced by my experiences of teaching bushcraft, forest schools, environmental education and countryside and wildlife management that bushcraft can be and indeed should be used as a tool in all forms of teaching. I have seen my own children's enthusiasm and understanding of nature grow at a young age and their skills develop as a result of taking part in Bushcraft activities (see my post One Dangerous Thing You Should Let Your Kids Do to see my sons first experience of using a knife) . I have seen students of all ages benefit from the growing experiences provided by being outdoors, I've heard comments such as;

"all students were totally engaged, even those that sometimes find it difficult" and "Learners found it easier to engage with sessions" from staff and learning support assistants who accompanied a group of special needs students who I taught for several session where I integrated bushcraft to support their 'land-based studies' curriculum (for more detail see my blog post Creating Bushcraft Teaching Resources and Proving it's Value in Environmental Education or for a full write up of the project I did with those students see Research into the relevance of 'bushcraft' within real world environmental education).

Never work with children or animals; how about children with knives?

I've also seen students who engaged with bushcraft sessions on plant identification drastically outperform those who did not take part in any buschraft tuition in a plant identification test. In my observations of the students I heard some of them referring to their bushcraft experiences such as "I remember eating that it tasted awful" and "thats the one we used to make friction fire kits" this additional experience which may have been more engaging than the guide books, dichotomous keys and classrooms where the other group had learned may have been the difference between average test scores of 56% for the group not taking part in bushcraft and 81% for the group which did (for more information on my research see my blog post Bushcraft Research or for the full write-up see The Value of Bushcraft in Format Education. This research was also published in an abridged format by the Institute for Outdoor Learning in the Autumn 2013 edition of their Horizons Journal). 

Although this started out purely as a way of showing how bushcraft can be used in teaching it has become much more broad than that and hopefully has helped people new to buschraft learn a few skills and those who are experienced bushcrafters learn a few things as well. Because I spend so much time working outdoors with students and because of my background in game and wildlife management I sometimes have the opportunity to do things than many bushcrafters don't always have access to this has allowed me to run a few really interesting series on this blog including the on going Foragers Diary, the Bushcraft and the Law series which was all about the legalities of foraging, firearms, traps, knives etc.. and something I'm particularly excited about this year the Applied Bushcraft series.

watching wildlife is a fantastic part of bushcraft. 

'Applied Bushcraft' has become my new buzzword and really sums up my interest in bushcraft, I don't just want to play at it I want to use bushcraft in my work as a teacher, countryside manager, deer stalker and as a parent. And I think it's a shame that many of the skills of bushcraft get relegated to 'recreation' when actually a lot of them are still used in the woods and field of the UK and arround the world. We are rationalizing buschraft out of our lives, perhaps more so in this country than any other and it's such a shame if only we could all apply a little more bushcraft to our lives.      

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