About

Instructors

James Watson, Founder

Photo of James Watson

From an early age, James has sought a more profound understanding of the comforts that nature provides. As a child, the natural world, the hedgerows and woodlands around the village where he lived offered him this. As the years passed his desire to understand the mysteries of Nature grew. This yearning has led him into the studying of indigenous cultures, both their physical skill and beliefs as well as our European ancient archaeology. Through his pursuit to wilderness James has studied and followed many paths to develop the numerous skills and knowledge he has today. Studying Environmental management and Ecology at College and University, being involved with eco building, sustainability and woodland management, as well as studying under the world's most legendary and inspirational teachers of survival, deep ecology  and primitive technologies, Tom Brown Jr., Bill McConnell, Peter Groom and John Lord to name a few.  

James has frequently written a column in a well-known UK survival magazine as well as offering his expertise and advice to museums, universities and as well as been interview for national magazines and television shows. He has dedicated his life to passing on the knowledge, as he feels it is of great importance to the modern world. James has a deep respect for the skills of all our ancestors and those people of today, who live close to the earth.

James is passionate about all the subjects he offers at Native Awareness, but his great delight is in expanding his and others awareness, so to develop a greater understanding of the natural world around us and find our true place within it. 

Darren Vietch, Instructor

Photo of Darren Vietch

Darren has been under close mentorship with James since he was 14 years old. When James first met Darren he saw a bright future as he showed such an enthusiasm for naturalist and survival skills. Now as an adult he still brings this great passion and enthusiasm to the Native Awareness teaching team.

His love for bows and arrows borders on being an obsession. But he creates plenty of time for working on all the other vast skills that are offered at Native Awareness, the hand drill fire technique being another skill that he excels in.  

When Darren is not in the woods with Native Awareness you will find him working with 'disengaged' children. Although this work can be challenging, Darren finds great pleasure in passing on the skills of our ancient ancestors to these young adults. 

To see Darren in action please click on this link, YouTube 

Zara Watson, Coordinator

Zara's role at Native Awareness is multifaceted. She has a great desire to fulfil the student's nutritional needs and has a great passion in cooking, seasonal food that is sourced locally. People are always amazed, when they take a Native Awareness class as they expect to be eating slugs and snails but are delighted to be served Zara's home made food, with a pudding in the evening too! Zara takes great pride in her knowledge in catering for those who are meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans and for those who have special dietary requirements.

She also is in charge of behind the scenes at Native Awareness as she organises the volunteer crews in collecting materials etc. She also helps with analysing our students skills and techniques and giving encouragement to them whilst learning new processes  such as making fire by friction for the first time. 

Dr Peter Groom, Instructor

Photo of Dr Peter Groom

Peter Groom is an Experimental Archaeologist / Environmentalist based in Staffordshire.

With over 30 years experience in the environmental sector; initially as a Field Officer for The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, then as a Senior Ranger, and then a Senior Lecturer specialising in Countryside/Habitat Management, Peter has long been aware of the relationship between human activities however small and their environmental consequences.

Peters formal qualifications include;

PhD,

MA Experimental Archaeology,

MSc Environmental Management,

BSc Environmental Studies,

Postgraduate Certificate of Education,

Together with a range of industrial training and assessor awards. He gained his PhD at the University of Edinburgh, researching Mesolithic fishing and foraging strategies on the West coast of Scotland, this involved the manufacture and use of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer technologies.

His recreational pursuits include; all aspects of natural history, bushcraft, primitive technologies, natural textiles, beekeeping, organic gardening and fishing. 

Peters range of environmental knowledge and experience combined with his skills as an experimental archaeologist, means that he is well qualified to join us at Native Awareness. 

Daniel Carpenter, Instructor

Photo of Daniel Carpenter

Dan Carpenter has studied with Native Awareness for several years and was a student on the first Earth Living Programme.

He has volunteered on a number of subsequent classes and returned to the second Earth Living Programme as a guest instructor in willow basketry.

His passions include a variety of primitive crafts, all of which make reverent use of organic materials to help develop a closer relationship with nature. These include basketry, pottery and fibre crafts, as well as bow and arrow making. He is devoted to pursuing a caretaker approach to the natural world, including the people within it.

In his day job, Dan works for a national organisation set up to promote practical participation in creative activities, and he is a founding trustee of the Heritage Crafts Association - a charity created to safeguard traditional craft skills that are in danger of dying out.

Laura Carpenter, Instructor

Photo of Laura Carpenter

Laura is a medical herbalist who studied herbal medicine for over 10 years, culminating in a BSc (Hons) Herbal Medicine. She has a practice in Cardiff and runs workshops, herb walks and online courses.

She is keen to bring back the lost knowledge of our traditional native plants and how they can be used for health and healing.

Laura has taken several Native Awareness classes, her other interests include traditional crafts, basket making, painting and knitting.

Jasper Kemp, Instructor

Photo of Jasper Kemp

Jasper has been involved with Native Awareness for a number of years. He has also taken classes at the Tom Brown Jr. Tracker School in the USA. During his time, Jasper has undertaken various roles at Native Awareness; student, volunteer, intern as well as Instructor.

A first class degree in zoology has helped to fuel his passion in animal tracking. As well as his obsession with tracking, he is passionate about all the skills covered in our curriculum; be they traditional tanning, stone tools or nature awareness.

When not assisting on classes Jasper can be found teaching an array of skills to disadvantaged children and people with special needs. Jasper brings an excitement to his teaching and his passion and energy can't be matched. He tries to find the adventure in everything, from the smallest disturbance in a track to climbing a tree! 

 

 

What to look for in the woods this month:

July