Sunday, January 29, 2012

...John Muir...

Once or twice a year, I spend a day with fully grown adults, making homes for plastic zebras.
It's hard work. We discuss the approach, design and logisitcs. Do the zebras need a waterside view? How do they deter the pesky lions and where's the shelter from the southwest wind?
The end results are thoughtful, well placed and elegant in their design. It's a day well spent.
The real aim? I train people on helping others reconnect with nature, and homes for zebras is a perfect way in. By the end of the day, even the most mud-shy squeamish are down on their hands and knees, sniffing earth, checking wind direction and handling wildlife with the confidence of a boy scout. It's a laugh too. To be honest, if making a home for a toy zebra is taken too seriously then the day becomes a tad weird.
The participants on this course are training to become John Muir Award leaders. John Muir would have loved to build a home for a zebra, in fact, I think he would have started a movement to create a national park for them.
It's all about the disappearing art of connecting with nature, something that John Muir was incredibly good at doing. Anyone can follow Muir's ethos - go stargazing, write your name in the sand, make a leaf angel or just sit in a wild place and soak it all up. Play, sing, scribble and giggle. John Muir Awards recognise your time spent outdoors going a bit wild. They are free, nationally recognised awards and they are just right for our time.

John Muir Awards and how to take part:

Try a few simple pleasures:

(with thanks to Toby from the John Muir Award office for the link)

...creating zebra homes is serious business...


  1. Every plastic zebra deserves a home of its own. Sounds so much fun, I want to join in! x