About

Project Rewild has been set up to reintroduce children back into a habitat from which they have almost completely disappeared – outdoors.

We want to inspire children to climb trees in the woods, to run in wild meadows, explore rockpools along the shore, scramble over rocks, splash in muddy puddles, paddle in streams, pick wild fruits, light fires, make bow and arrows, to go outside, get muddy, make friends and fall in love with nature again! We want children to play free and be wild.

To do this we want to help everyone, to break down some of the barriers that stop children playing outside. We want to support parents, families and communities to work together, so we can all be outside more, we can all have the confidence to let them play freely. We need to rewild our children, for them, for us, and for the future sustainability of our planet.

 
Rewilding: “The planned reintroduction of a species into a habitat from which it has disappeared in an effort to increase biodiversity and restore the health of an ecosystem”
— Merriam - Webster dictionary definition
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Project Rewild aims to:

  • Make outdoor activities and play accessible to more people (get people outside more)

  • Create spaces where children (and parents) can be a bit more ‘wild’ – less structure, fewer rules and more fun!

  • Help people to access natural spaces in our local area, to discover, explore and enjoy.

  • Empower parents, families and communities to have the confidence to go outside more and allow their children to ‘play freely’

  • Create connections between people and communities, as well as connections with the natural world

  • Improve Health and happiness by spending more time outside in nature

  • Support sustainability by improving emotional relationships with nature and helping children to grow up understanding, loving and caring for our natural world


 
 
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Luke Funnell is the closest to an ‘elemental educator’ that I have encountered and his work with children and young people is a testament to what can be done when we seek to support the growth of genuine relationships, both with ourselves, and with the wilder world.
— Daniel Ford - Between the factory and the forest: towards a wilder education
 
 

About Luke

Luke is a father of two young children and a full-time house husband. He has worked as an outdoor instructor and facilitator for many years leading transformative woodland projects for children, teenagers and adults. He is qualified as a forest school leader, advanced level bush craft and survival instructor, health and social worker and teacher. Luke has spent the last 3 years training in deep ecology, nature connection and nature philosophy based on Native American teachings.

Luke has over 20 years of experience working with children and teenagers as a youth worker, teacher, playworker, behaviour adviser and residential social worker. The work he is most skilled in and passionate about is working with young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

“I have been working with at risk and vulnerable young people in society for most of my career; without doubt the most important and profound changes I have witnessed in these individuals is when I work with them in nature. I passionately believe in the therapeutic and transformative effects of working with people in this way. I enjoy engaging and inspiring people to be outdoors more and I feel it is my purpose to help reconnect people with nature.”

“As a dad it saddens me to think of my children growing up in a world where they will not play outside with friends without adult supervision. They won’t spend hours exploring wild spaces. I know the world has changed a lot since I was a child but I passionately believe that children need to grow up around nature, they need to play outside, and they need to have the space to roam freely with other children. I have set up Project Rewild in an attempt to re-introduce children to playing outside in nature, to show a new generation that it really is amazing out there! To do this I want to offer accessible opportunities for children and families to spend time outside in nature”.

“Project Rewild is not another Forest School group, I don’t want nature to be experienced as another club or school subject. Time in nature and free play is absolutely essential to our children’s development, and to our ongoing health and happiness. I want to inspire children, to engage them, and entrust them to play in, and enjoy nature. I want to see children playing in woodlands and outdoor spaces again, to get muddy and learn about nature by touching, smelling and tasting it. I want to rewild our children (and everyone else!)


 
 
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Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).
— Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods