Welcome to O.W.L. Outdoor Wisdom and Learning
What is O.W.L.?
"Nature provides for those who have the Seeing Eye. There is food, drink and the wherewithal for living anywhere, for those with Outdoor Wisdom and Learning."
Back in the late 1970’s, when I was 8, I used to enjoy visiting my uncle and aunty for many reasons, one of which was due to what they had in their garden. Next to the house there was a large vegetable patch and next to this was a chicken run, which included geese and turkeys towards Christmas time. Scattered throughout the run were several apple and plum trees. The fact that they grew their own food fascinated me totally.
Over time, picking plants from the garden developed into looking at what was growing in the fields and hedgerows that surrounded the house. Starting with the common plants I soon learned to identify various berries, field mushrooms and how to track the occasional rabbit or pigeon.
Soon the streams that ran through the fields were used as routes for adventure and wading through them for hours on end was the norm. Following the water up and downstream led to more places to explore and other plants and animals to identify and study.
When I was 10 we moved house and within minutes from where we lived were two woods with all the associated plants and animals living in them. Weekends and school holidays were spent exploring these and learning about what could be found in them as the seasons changed. Tracking and stalking animals increased and after a while I could move silently enough through the woods without disturbing most things.
Through my teenage years this love of the outside continued to develop and I practised and experimented with as many ideas and techniques that I could find. I began to attend courses, some were good and some were bad but there was usually something that could be taken from them. I learnt from people who came from all walks of life- civilian, military, scientists, geographers, geologists, hunters, conservationists...
After school I completed the four year BEd (Hons), specialising in Geography, to become a teacher and spent the next 12 years working in schools bringing the outside inside when I could.
Eventually, in 2008 I set up my own company called O.W.L. - Outdoor Wisdom & Learning to spend more time working with children and adults using the outside.
The two main routes that O.W.L. offers are Forest Schools and Living off the Land.
With Forest Schools I have had the chance to work with the children and staff of several hundred establishments in and around the city of Stoke and the counties of Staffordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Birmingham, Manchester, London...I have also had two international students attend my courses.
With regards to Living of the Land I have been able to work, train and share skills with members of the public from all ages and backgrounds, including people from over a dozen foreign counties. The numbers run into the thousands but everyone came away with knowing what they wanted to.
Finally, for those of you who may be interested, below is a short list of some of my personal and professional credentials linked to delivering the experiences that I do. Hopefully, as you read on you will be able to see what makes O.W.L. different from other providers e.g. true knowledge, experience, relevant skills sets, passion...and not just something that was done to ‘jump on the band wagon’ or as a ‘good idea’ which some are.
Qualified Teacher (1995) BEd (Hons) 2:1
Instructor for Living off the Land (combined skills equivalent to Degree onwards)
Emergency First Aid in the Wilderness- Level 2
Forest School Instructor- Level 4
Forest School Leader- Level 3
Forest School Supplemental First Aid- Level 2
Activity First Aid- Level 2
Enhanced DBS (a.k.a. CRB)
Safe Guarding- Level 2
Food Hygiene- Level 2
Manual Handling plus People
Health & Safety
RIDDOR and COSHH
Ofsted inspected through schools
British Sign Language (Introduction level)
(For more details please see the rest of the website or contact me)
And, as Ellsworth Jaeger, 1945 once said..."Let us follow the trails into the unknown. Let us keep alive the spirit of adventure and of romance, and drink deep of the great cup that nature holds for our thirsting spirits and bodies."