Sacred Earth is a community focused organisation with social aims and objectives. Here are six brief case studies which demonstrate some of the social impacts which we are making as an organisation.
Earth Steward Apprenticeship
Now in its seventh year, the Earth Steward Apprenticeship is a year-long course for young people aged between 13-17 which is designed to inspire awe, wonder and respect for nature through practical, sensory and playful outdoor activities. It enables participants to develop real connections with plants and animals, become more deeply engaged with their local community and develop a sense of belonging through knowing their place on the earth.
The programme helps participants develop skills to help them thrive in the natural world, discover their role as integrated members and care givers of nature, become more self-reliant and adaptable and develop strategies for taking sustainable practices into adult life.
Warden Park Primary Academy
Now in its fourth year, this is a weekly programme (which takes place over ten weeks each year) for 9-10 year old children who attend Warden Park Primary Academy, located in the Bentswood council estate in Haywards Heath. On site at the school, we deliver a programme of forest school activities with a focus on engagement in nature, development of core skills, better awareness and love of the outdoors.
Many of the children we work with have very little access to any form of nature. Through the art of nature play we enable them to begin developing a relationship with the natural world, providing opportunities to discover, explore and challenge themselves. This helps build self confidence and respect for themselves, each other and the world around them.
Now in its third year, this monthly programme (run in partnership with Cultivating Curiosity) is for children aged between 3-13 years. Over sixty families are currently involved. Nature connection exercises, bushcraft, woodland crafts, wild play and a variety of other forest school activities are used to educate and strengthen children’s relationships with themselves, their peers and the natural world.
It provides opportunities for children to engage with with woods in a safe way. The programme also benefits parents, not only in terms of childcare but also in the opportunity it offers them to be members of a wide reaching community which is actively engaged in the mentoring of their children and the support of one another.
We regularly host events in which individuals, families and organisations which are part of our East Sussex community network come to share food and fellowship and work together for a few hours on some of the community-led initiatives running at our Horam site. In the past some of these activities have included planting a community orchard, natural bee keeping, rubbish/waste clearing, Equinox celebrations and creating Biodynamic preparations. We’ve also run a team-building day for the Environment Agency and we host regular volunteer days throughout the year.
As well as strengthening our network, these events offer people access to nature, opportunities to participate in inclusive, regenerative cultural processes and develop land-based skills.
Herbal medicine for equine-assisted therapies
A recent event we ran for Greenwich University/Hadlow Down College, the day focused on the practical aspects of providing herbal medicine for horses, including foraging and processing herbs and making ointments, poultices and fermentations. Events like this support students who attend mainstream educational institutions by providing practical, experiential learning opportunities, enabling them to achieve a better understanding of the important part that “alternative” natural remedies can play in the healing process.