Networking in nature

In the Participation Cymru team we love spending time outdoors and the opportunity of holding a network in the open air is an idea we’ve thrown around for a while.

So, just after the early May Bank Holiday weekend we held our first ever practitioner network event that took place in nature with the help of Tom Moses from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Here is a summary what happened:

Firstly, the weather was absolutely glorious!

Networking in nature Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire South West Wales Regional Participation Cymru Network - Portfield Gate Woods

Not even a hint of rain

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Instagram: @tamsininnit

Tom started the fire earlier that morning, so hot tea and coffee was served upon arrival.

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Jill Simpson, from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park showed us this beautiful, tactile piece of community made woodland furniture (it’s so much more than just a bench) that was designed and created by local young people.

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Matt, a volunteer for Pembrokeshire Coast took us for a walk along a bridleway where we learned map reading and basic orienteering skills.

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Along the way we met some inquisitive young cattle who were very keen to say hello

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

It’s possible to make tea from various plants, roots and fungi found in the woodland (but never eat anything you’ve picked in the wild unless you’re absolutely sure that it’s safe!)

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Our mid-morning snack: warm bread fresh from a Dutch oven with freshly picked wild garlic.

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

We used a participatory voting method – ‘pebble voting’ to decide which of the teas tasted the best (dandelion seemed to be the most popular).

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

It wasn’t just tea-testing, cows and pretty walks however; the topic of the networking meeting was behaviour change. Participation Cymru posed the question for organisations who are implementing the National Principles for Public Engagement in Wales: what behaviour change has to take place within an organisation? Answers on a magnetic whiteboard…

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

We recently published a checklist of implementation for the National Principles with questions relating to each principle. Has your organisation had to change its behaviour when engaging? Have you had to try to influence the behaviour of others in order to make improvements? Join the conversation but leaving a comment below.

Finally…leave (almost) no trace

This water soluble air-drying clay is an excellent way for people to ‘leave their mark’ in nature without causing any damage to the environment. We took all of our rubbish with us.

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Networking in Nature: South West Wales Participation Cymru event

Many thanks to Tom, Jill and Matt from Pembrokeshire Park National Park Authority who helped make this event a success.

Are you thinking of holding a community event or meeting outdoors in Wales? If you are, please tell us so we can help you promote it.

Keep checking our website for details of future network events.

Our ‘All Wales Network event’ entitled ‘Engaging with diverse communities’ is taking place in Llandrindod Wells on 14th July it’s FREE to attend!

Sarah

2 thoughts on “Networking in nature

  • Really enjoyed reading this, especially as I have signed up for #30DaysWild this June with the Wildlife Trusts. Now I just have to persuade the rest of our team to step outdoors for one of our regular monthly meetings!
    Jackie
    PAVO mental health team

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