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Jess
nature play
Founder

When you aren't creating play at The Little Pocket, what are you doing? In winter you will find me curled up on the couch by the fire with a cuppa and a good book. How many small people do you have and what are their ages? Poppy 7 Digby 4 and Melaleuca nearly 2

Where is your favourite pocket of nature to exploring our community? Akoonah Timbarra Nature Reserve behind our home is a pretty special hidden little pocket. I sit at the head water of Back Creek and imagine the water making its way to the ocean. Early bird or night owl? Early bird - mornings are my favourite time of day. Beach walk or bush walk? Beach walk. I am a salt water woman. As we drive along the mountain top on our morning drive to school the children and I guess what colour she will be today. ‘Gold, silver... blue ’Some days she is glistening gold, others silver and sometimes the brightest most beautiful blue. ‘Good morning ocean’ we say, and some days we can hear her whisper it back. What was the last tv series you watched or book you read? Sandtalk, Tyson Yunga Porta. A great insight into indigenous perspectives. We have it in our Little Pocket library along with many other great books that you are welcome to borrow. What season do you enjoy most? Spring. I love the smell, look, sounds, feel and taste of spring. The 1st of September has always been my favourite day of the year.  New beginnings. Did you find the mountain, or did the mountain find you? This city girl with a salt water heart found a mountain man and then Binna Burra found us.

We had been living in Eungella, a mountain west of Mackay for 6 years and after our second child it was time to move back closer to family and friends in the south East where I grew up.  We headed south with a few bags and a 12 week old baby for a 6 month temporary ranger gig at Springbrook. While we were on the sister mountain Todd got a permanent Ranger position at Binna Burra. We went back to Eungella, said our goodbyes and made the move to our new mountain home on Timbarra Drive which has become fondly known as the Little Pocket. What do you believe to be the biggest benefit of nature play? Mmm..., tough question. How long have I got? He he.There are so many benefits to children playing in nature and every little (and big) person's experience with the natural world is so unique. It can be wild and calm, busy and still, challenging and safe, loud and quiet... it can be whatever you want it to be.   The possibilities with outside play are limitless.

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Renee
Nature Play Leader

When you aren't creating play at The Little Pocket, what are you doing? Connecting and checking in  with nature and each other, big and small. How many small people do you have and what are their ages? My 3 are no longer in the small category, 10, 6 &5. Where is your favourite pocket of nature to explore in our community? Love it all but if I had to pick a fave at the moment we're enjoying creek play, so Lower Beechmont conservation area. I love how the water slows and focuses our play. Being completely present in the moment but also sitting back and watching them all create and play together. There's magic in that for sure. My kind of magic anyway! Early bird or night owl? Early bird but not necessarily because I want to be. Night owl but shouldn't be, must get more sleep.Beach walk or bush walk?  Love both! But not particularly alone though, I much prefer with company. What was the last tv series you watched? Still watching MAFS...Sad. I know! What season do you enjoy most? Autumn. I love the colour change in the leaves and the sky. Also it's a welcomed break from the summer's heat. The first cold snap, a taste of the cooler months to come. Love it. I love getting excited about having the fire on too. Did you find the mountain, or did the mountain find you? Before kids, Sasch and I used to come up the mountain to Binna Burra quite often and do the walks and on the drive up we would say it sure would be a nice place to live. Realising one day it only took 35 minutes to get from Lower Beechmont back to north Burleigh where we lived at the time. It wasn't long after we were starting our family and were lucky enough to find our own little plot of mountain goodness in Lower Beechmont. What do you believe to be the biggest benefit of nature play? They're all big benefits. I love how it slows play down, the quieter and slower you are the more things you see and experience, that's what I notice and love. Also nature's ability to create a level playing field for little ones still amazes me. We may think they need things to play with... They'll get bored...They won't and if they do it's generally for such a short time before you know it they've slowed down and are looking at something small they've found, cause that's one of the beauties of nature, there's soooo much to see, and you don't have to go far to see it.

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When you aren't creating play at The Little Pocket, what are you doing? Monday mornings with The Little Pocket is my favorite part of the week. The rest of the week I work as a cleaner, I mainly do domestic house cleans and B&B's on the mountain. When I can, I help with the Garden Club at our local primary school where 2 of my girls go. How many small people do you have and what are their ages? I am a single mum of 4 beautiful people. Byron 18, Tia 16, Charli 10 and Bella 8 Where is your favourite pocket of nature to explore in our community? I have mostly enjoyed Denham falls, it's close enough to walk to from home and really is a special place of grounding for me. Early bird or night owl? I usually rely on my alarm and jump into auto pilot in the morning! I mostly get creative and tinker well at night from prepping meals to gazing the stars. Once the dinner, bath, bedtime mission is complete I enjoy space alone, studying, journaling and listening to music while having a folding party with the never-ending washing pile! Beach walk or bush walk? Beach walk to cleanse my mind and the bush walk to ground it. Both places are my favorite places to spend my free time. What was the last tv series you watched or book you read? I don't watch TV often, I prefer to listen to music. Well Being Magazine is my go to for light reading. I am making time for full books and am open to suggestions! What season do you enjoy most? Summer, I'm so layered the rest of the year!! Did you find the mountain, or did the mountain find you?
7 years ago, I found this mountain. I had begun a journey into single motherhood. A fresh start and big yard was all I wanted! After months of searching for enough space for my little tribe, I dreamt of the flowers planted up my driveway... and here we are. Gives me goosebumps still! I had found our perfect home. What do you believe to be the biggest benefit of nature play? Hard to pick just one! There are endless benefits. Planning and programming are important to aid learning, put that into an outdoor play space and it's about having more awareness of their natural surroundings. The simplicity of the materials they create and discover with, the opportunity to play completely plastic free. The best part is the opportunity to gain knowledge, understanding and respect that's been used by indigenous people for thousands of years. I love Nature Play, the benefits are full of beautiful, slow paced play, all while they are climbing, moving about and strengthening their bodies as well as sharpening their mind. One discovery can lead to another and another, it's just as exciting for me too. We all learn together and it's a perfect chance to be in the here and now.There is such a connection to each other and l and when this is achieved .

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When you aren't creating play at The Little Pocket, what are you doing?  I'm usually playing in the garden at home with my son, doing some craft or adventuring tot he beach or bush. How many small people do you have and what are their ages? Lucky to have one lovely and kind 4 year old boy named Zephyr. Where is your favourite pocket of nature to explore in our community? Having lived so close to Binna Burra for many years it was the National Park on the BellBird Trail but recently we have loved hanging by the creek. Early bird or night owl? I'm a night owl for sure. I like to have some time to read and just enjoy the quiet. But I end up staying up too late! Beach walk or bush walk? Having lived near both it's tricky to pick a favorite. The beach in summer and bushwalks in winter. We love spotting wildlife, birds, insects and reptiles on the way. What was the last tv series you watched or book you read? I love watching Call the Midwife on abc iview, it's all about women supporting women through the good times and the bad. Also love watching living big in a tiny house and how creative they make them. I enjoy reading non fiction and learning about permaculture,simple natural living, and inspirational bios. What season do you enjoy most? Summer, as it's full of festivals and you don't have to layer up. Did you find the mountain, or did the mountain find you? A bit of both really. Before finding the mountain my weekends were spend camping and adventuring to different National Parks and festivals.
I wanted that feeling of nature and community in a mountain home, deep in the bush, and we definitely found it in Beechmont. We moved here in 2014.
What do you believe to be the biggest benefit of nature play? Nature is a part of us and we are intrinsically linked. Playing in nature brings us that awareness. Its there to teach, surprise and amaze us if we pay attention. Children are the best teachers, they are excellent at noticing these little things and are so creative when left to play in nature. Mother Nature always provides.

Amy
Nature Play Assistant

Sam
Creative Contributor