James Watson, Founder
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
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.
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.
Hana Jones, Guest Instructor
Hana has been walking a path close to nature and the Earth since she can remember. She grew up with one foot on each continent, with her early childhood in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and subsequently here in Britain. She has had a wide-ranging career, always working closely with people either as a body worker, remedial exercise teacher or trainer. She has many years of experience supporting people through personal development processes within the whole range of the healing, balancing and group work that she facilitates. As part of her vision to bring our children back into nature and to ensure we have caretakers for our planet in the future, she currently trains teachers to become Forest School leaders .
Hana first went to The Tom Brown, Tracker School in 1998 and has continued to study with Tom in the philosophical and spiritual aspects of Grandfather Stalking Wolf's teachings. She has been privileged to work with Black Wolf Jones, an elder and medicine teacher of the Ojibwe tribe, and spent a period of time in the rainforest of Papua New Guinea learning from the indigenous people of the Hunstein Range. In 2001 she trained with Malcolm Ringwalt of Earth Heart to run a protected Vision Quest and has frequently been part of the Protector team for Earth Heart Vision Quests, including two 100 person quests, since then.
Guests, A variety of specialists
The Native Awareness School are fortunate in being friends with many worldwide experts in the field of deep ecology and survival skills, sometimes they may join the teaching team at Native Awareness.