Word from the wild. A note from Mark

In my work at The Wild Network I have always believed in the power of collective action if we are to rewild childhood. With that there was always a strong sense that starting to form answers out of uncertainty and complexity would come from stitching together numerous existing solutions from a wide cross-section of provision and not the creation of another big central organisation. More than ever now I see more value in new ways of organising rather than organisations if we are to overcome the complex societal barriers we face in this work. Equally, it is time for less talk and (a lot) more action.

To achieve our networked approach it has been critical to keep our central core as lean as possible and invest funds into projects and initiatives rather than overheads. Collective action has its challenges and despite being lean it remains hard to fund a core function in any sector and to solve any issue. For the last few years I have been sherpa for this part of the journey, supported by the board and over the years a number of inspiring people have played a huge role in creating impact. Together we have built community around the issue and have raised awareness not just of the issues and the barriers to them but also starting to draw attention to the many thousands of passionate individuals and organisations making change happen. It is these stories of you, the inspiring parents, grandparents, local activists, teachers, educators, environmentalists, naturalists, play workers, GPs and many others who give life to the network. Through you we have a chance to showcase what a wilder world for our children in our families, communities and schools might look like.

Growing this sort of organising system is not always easy, it is a new way of working. It also requires diversity of voice and perspective to make it work – it can never be about one person. That is why the time is right for me to move on from The Wild Network and allow new ways of working to emerge and new ideas to flow. The great news is that there are a couple of exciting projects in the pipeline and the future looks wilder than ever. These projects will help the network start to really deliver value at a grassroots level, focussing on many of you Wild Things making change happen on the ground, in classrooms, in the woods, beaches and on the streets. More on that over the next few weeks as they come to fruition.

On a personal level, The Wild Network has been an extraordinary learning journey and I have been constantly inspired by the huge numbers of people who I have met who are voraciously and passionately doing everything in their power to provide solutions that rewild childhood. I have learned so much, more than in any other work I have done and for that I will be forever grateful.

My work on human and community level rewilding is only just beginning and over time I have felt an increasing urge to get my own hands dirty. Whilst there will always be a pivotal role for organising from afar and for new creative solutions, there is also a deep and urgent need for solutions out there on the ground. It is time to join all of you Wild Things in making change happen.

I hope to see you on the trail