Victorian Child and Nature Connection Newsletter -
May 2013
Victorian Child and Nature Connection
Kids do better outside, change agents do better together

Dear all
We've had a very busy start to the year with some fabulous events and we have some great things in store for later this year. This newsletter will update you on all these exciting VCNC happenings!
What we've been up to so far in 2013
*"Connecting to Country, sharing the stories", presented by the Victorian Child and Nature Connection and Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne - 13 March 2013

Our first VCNC mini seminar of 2013 had a once-in-a-lifetime line-up of speakers and began with a traditional welcome to country by Dean Stewart and a Tanderrum ceremony performed by Trevor Gallagher from the Royal Botanic Gardens with Natasha van Velzen dancing some traditional stories for us.

Participants then joined three acclaimed Indigenous Australian artists on a journey to celebrate our connection to land, our past, our roots, our history and the synergies of cross-cultural meetings and explored how we can help our kids develop a deep affinity with country and the natural world. 
We experienced first-hand stories from our three special guest artists about how they utilise sounds, smells, sights, memories and emotions to express their strong ties to country.

William Barton, one of Australia's leading didgeridoo players along with his mother, Delmae Barton, Dreamtime opera diva, mesmerised us with their music as the grounds of the gardens throbbed to the sounds of the didg and Delmae's soaring vocals. We all joined in and together created a shared dance and vocal piece following a fascinating discussion of stories, music and how these connect us to place, particularly as children. 
Glenn Romanis, sculptor and visual artist, worked with us in two groups outdoors to collaboratively create a natural 'installation' art piece. The brief was for us to utilise the nature around us to create an artwork which told a story of place. We worked under an ancient River Red Gum which overlooked the lake, once a bend in our sinuous Yarra River. Together we made an amazing artwork depicting the clans of the Kulin Nation, their totems and the story of change in this special place. 
A highlight of the day for many was when several curious swans joined in the celebratory 'swan dance' through the artwork- they seemed very much aware of what we strange humans were up to!
You can check out some great images of the day on our Facebook page:
* "Child and Nature Roundtable" - 8 February 2013
VCNC was delighted to co-host this roundtable discussion with Sports and Recreation Victoria which was creatively facilitated by Jason Clarke from Minds at Work.
During the roundtable, representatives from over twenty organisations came together around the shared goal of getting more children outside in nature. We discussed opportunities, barriers, challenges we face in getting our messages out in a culture that is both risk adverse, time poor and soaked in messaging from companies wanting our kids to sit inside. We brainstormed solutions and ways we can work together to create shared messages and synergistic campaigns. Watch this space for more collaborations and innovative outcomes 
What's in store for later this year:
Great Aussie Campout - with Australian Camps Association and the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne- 12 October 2013
VCNC is delighted to announce our involvement in the Great Aussie Campout event to be held at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne!
Imagine some one hundred people, mostly children and first time campers, spending a night under the stars in the Woodland Picnic area of these iconic gardens. This will be an amazing opportunity for an experience in nature, living the 'tread lightly' approach to low impact camping, listening to stories and observing nocturnal native animals.
Nature and children: why they need each other- 29 October 2013
The second annual seminar co-hosted by VCNC and the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne promises to be a fascinating event with international 'resilience' expert, Professor Michael Ungar speaking on the ways in which time outside, particularly in outdoor camp settings, promotes resilience in young people. Mark the date in your diary!

Please check our facebook page for other upcoming events being delivered by groups and organisations around Victoria who are doing fantastic work connecting children with nature:

Warm regards

Cecile, Chris, Dimity and Jess
Victorian Child and Nature Connection

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