Flowerfull for Mental Health

Nature connection is a powerful force for mental wellbeing. This was recognised this year by the mental health foundation who made it the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week.  As Re-wild Yourself I joined in the photo competition and was surprised to win a spot prize for a shot my daughter and I made playing on the lawn together – with my flowerfull hair.  Thanks MHAW.

MHAW also featured an office lockout lunch hour to encourage workplaces to make sure their staff had some outside time in the day.  As I don’t really have an office to lock my self out of I had some fun taking my plastic executives outside at lunchtime!


Seriously though, nature is key to my mental health. Don’t underestimate how crucial it could be for yours.




Re-wild Yourself 3 day retreat 17-19 March 2017

Join us for three days of luxury and slow adventure in nature


"It was the best fun I have had in a long time; with a great mix of luxury and groundedness. It felt like a treat for the body and for the soul. Now I have a whole new repertoire of ways to nourish and be nourished by nature."  retreat participant


We spend three days based at a charming and comfortable off grid lodge in the foothills of the Tararua Range near Carterton, Wairarapa.

“The lodge was: peaceful and inviting, spacious yet cosy with the log burner and candles adding to the ambience. Being off-grid added to the ethos".

Through guided outdoor and indoor activities we experience new ways to connect with nature and to ourselves. The programme includes:

  • Gentle wanders and sensory walks
    1-4 hour solo time (supported to be safely by yourself)
    Loads of yummy nourishing food, including wild food
    Exploring tracking techniques
    Soaking in an portable eco hot tub under the stars
    Trying out relaxation techniques
    Sharing stories and song around a campfire
    Enjoying a massage
    Creating environmental "art"
    Relating your wild experiences to the rest of life
    Playing in the river


“What a fabulous way to savour a few days. It was an energising yet peaceful treat. I came away feeling recharged, and more in touch with myself and nature.” T

"Here's just some of what I liked about the retreat: Your care and crafting of the activities, including the balance of group and individual exploration. Some time out, and a chance to lose time, think and explore. Luxury."

“I'm feeling light of spirit, delighted, ever so slightly light in the head.... with fond memories of candle light too... thanks Liana and co-wildees for a nuturing, adventurous weekend journey and treat.” T

"I really enjoyed the opportunity to strip back the layers of a challenge and the luxury of time and permission to experience nature without a specific purpose or job to do" L


The retreats are for anybody who is curious about what focussed time in nature can do for them. We all know that getting out into the wild world can help you to see things differently, relax and recharge. The retreat, through fun, engaging and gently challenging micro-adventures aims to give you new techniques and insights into the power of nature connection. You do not need to be a super-fit outdoor ninja to attend – but if you are, you may find that slowing down in nature reveals new things. You may not even think you are an outdoor person, but there is something calling you to put your device down and come and just “be” for a while.

"Everyone would benefit from this kind of retreat. I'm so Grateful for the opportunity to participate. I had always felt connected to nature, but now I will approach her with more humbled and awakened senses. I have been given much to reflect on. The retreat felt like a personal journey as well as a shared one." M


The guide is me, Liana Stupples.

Liana somehow helps you feel relaxed and open to new experiences; she will stick beside you as you challenge yourself. She can find the playful side of most things and she commits to bringing an engaging energy as well as sensitive facilitation skills to every event she runs. She has a deep love and appreciation of the natural world, particularly the Aotearoa bit. After a varied international “career” she has now relented to doing what she enjoys and believes makes a difference; connecting people and nature. Liana runs a smart and safe programme; she has a MSc in Natural Resource Management, has a strength in eco-psychology theory and practice, holds a Diploma in Outdoor Adventure and is current in advanced first aid.


We will be based at a charming and comfortable off grid lodge in the foothills of the Tararua Range near Carterton, Wairarapa.   You will sleep in shared bedrooms and use shared bathrooms (if this is a real problem we can arrange a camp bed in a room of your own, or a tent).  We will share some simple housekeeping (e.g. drying the dishes). You can drive there (there is an un-sealed road for 10 km) or please let us know if you want to ride share. We encourage you to get the train and be picked up from the station.


You are asked to pay $465 total to cover the shared costs of the retreat. This includes everything (2 nights and 3 days worth of accommodation and food, equipment, facilitation) except transport to Carterton.  Paying this full cost allows Liana to offer nature connection experiences to people who might not normally be able to afford them. There is also the option of offering goods or services up to the value of $300 (plus paying $145 cash) in exchange for a place on the retreat (please contact Liana to discuss). Early bird rates at $390 are open to January 1  2017.


You will be provided with a gear list which will include layers of warm clothing and sheets and towels. Outdoor gear can be provided if needed.  There is no  mobile signal (and we need to conserve electricity and get our lives back  ;-).  Please do not bring any recreational drugs or alcohol (we may share provided local wine/beer with the evening meal on the last night).


There are limited places for 6-12 people.  To ensure your place please complete the application form and make an initial deposit of $100.  Please note all the “fine print” on the application form

Just contact Liana: 021 154 6034, liana.stupples@gmail.com

Re-wild Your Grown-up 12 November

A chance for kids to show their grown ups how to play in the outdoors and enjoy nature.
This is an fun outdoor experience for kids and their carers to "Go wild!" and learn more things to do outside. We will explore a local wild place, get messy and experience more fully the wonders of nature. A great chance to get off those screens for a bit and reconnect with yourself, your family and your place.

Meet at the US war memorial Mackays Crossing,Queen Elizabeth Park. We will be walking for about 20 minutes - a challenge but not impossible with push chairs.
This event can go ahead in most weathers. Suitable for kids up to 14yrs and their guardians.
Wear appropriate warm clothing and footwear, bring water and snacks.

Here is what previous participants said:

"Liana was an enchanting leader of both kids and grown-ups. It was an invigorating afternoon, with everyone leaving with smiles and wild sparkles in their eyes”.

Cost $15 per family. Numbers are limited for each session.

Bookings via liana.stupples@gmail.com

Extraordinary Facilitation at the Beach

Extraordinary facilitation is…


A Two day Bootcamp for emerging facilitators and leaders.

You will master techniques outside the ordinary: from Outdoor Adventure, Community Building, Creative Innovation, Ecopsychology and more

This intense and dynamic training course is a fantastic way to develop extraordinary skills in effective facilitation and leadership so that you can be more engaging and bring about deeper change for the people you work with.

Who is it for?

The course is for people who have already started facilitating or leading groups of people and who are hungry to branch out and try more effective techniques and ideas from outside the box.  This course will expose you to dozens of new tactics and give you are chance to hone your skills in a fun and supportive setting.

Learning Outcomes

During this course, participants will:

  • Deepen their understanding of the ideas behind facilitation and participatory leadership
  • Develop a bigger tool kit of practical techniques and skills and the strategies to collate them to make facilitation more effective
  • Experience dozens of common and uncommon facilitation techniques including:
    • Working in non-office settings to achieve more impact
    • Honing skills in supporting innovation and creativity
    • Developing greater self-mastery in tricky or challenging situations
    • Dealing with controversial issues and divergent perspectives
    • Developing a wider repertoire non-verbal communication skills
  • Try out new techniques for themselves and receive feedback
  • Reflect on your own personal strengths and receive coaching to boost your unique and effective style
  • Develop your own follow up action plan

Who runs it?

Your guide is Liana Stupples a facilitator with over 20 years international experience.  Liana has drawn from her diverse work co-ordinating everything from international human rights campaigns, community engagement for controversial resource management issues, national social innovation projects, youth going on outdoor adventures to community singing and distilled the most powerful and extraordinary facilitation techniques for you.

She has worked for all sectors including business, government and not for profit and understands the challenges of good leadership and facilitation in each.  She has trained an equally wide range of people from international diplomats, to woman in prison.

Liana somehow helps you feel relaxed and open to new experiences; she will stick beside you as you challenge yourself. She can find the playful side of most things and she commits to bringing an engaging energy as well as sensitive facilitation skills to every event she runs.  Despite the fun she is serious about building the capacity of people and organisations to tackle the real and the tough stuff. That is why she has been curious all her life about how to better facilitate and lead and wants you to practically benefit from this insight.

“Liana has a knack for seeing the bigger picture. She asks the right questions, the meaningful questions, and the hard questions, and facilitates the journey for us to find the best answers. Her expertise helps groups to produce strategic direction and positive impact and consistently leaves everyone feeling accomplished and inspired.”

EHA Chairperson

What you get for your money

Two days training in a fantastic venue including time outside

Fully catered lunch and refreshments

Full handbook of techniques and tips

Free follow up coaching session and peer support forum


Your investment

Waged/for profit or government organisations $450

students/unwaged/not for profits $250

early bird discount $50 off, if you book by October 15


The Venue

We will be in the glorious seaside village of Paekakariki.

It is only 45 minutes from the centre of Wellington – or there are a wide range of acomodation options. for example:


  • stay in wellington and get the train
  • stay locally in the village hotel Finns
  • Stay locally in the campground
  • Stay locally in Air Bnb places with very nice people

Great ! How do I book?

Send and email to liana.stupples@gmail.com – or comment below with your email address. A 50% deposit will secure your place.



Wild Child – what’s really important?

Here is a summary I pulled together to give an introduction to facilitating Kids for nature connection.


Overseas Studies have identified the benefit of nature connection for people and identified the lack of it as “nature deficit disorder”.

Examples of recent research into the many general benefits of nature connection:

Ecotherapy from Mind the UK mental health charity

National geographic summary




“There is already research evidence that exposure to nature can reduce hypertension, respiratory tract and cardiovascular illnesses; improve vitality and mood; benefit issues of mental wellbeing such as anxiety; and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue…..But more than that, feeling a part of nature has been shown to significantly correlate with life satisfaction, vitality, meaningfulness, happiness, mindfulness, and lower cognitive anxiety.”



2  Research is showing this is also true specifically for nature and children


The UK natural childhood report




One recent study found that connection to nature is as important to children’s achievement in English subjects as life satisfaction and attendance at school. https://findingnature.org.uk/2016/02/17/better-well-being-and-education-results-when-connected-to-nature/

3  More and more research is pointing to how to best encourage the connection for children

“Rather than frame nature as a resource and place for occasional outdoor learning, there is a need for a more embedded and nuanced approach to ensure greater connection to nature. That is, there is a need to ensure contact with nature that highlights the enjoyment and wonder of it, while recognising our place within the natural world.   https://findingnature.org.uk/2016/02/17/better-well-being-and-education-results-when-connected-to-nature/


“For 350,000 generations humans have lived close to the land as hunter-gatherers; a sense of belonging, place, and feeling embedded within the broader natural world characterized these cultures. In some ways, then, it would be surprising if the modern life of being divorced from nature did not have some negative consequences associated with it and that being in nature had positive benefits.

When practitioners think of how to create settings to help clients feel better, they may want to think of more than simply how nature can restore depleted attentional capacity and reduce stress. They may also want to think of how people need to feel a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves and that this need may be fulfilled through a sense of belonging or connectedness to the natural world.”  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cynthia_Frantz/publication/238428905_Why_Is_Nature_BeneficialThe_Role_of_Connectedness_to_Nature/links/543be72c0cf204cab1db5017.pdf

Unstructured and sensory “play” is particularly important:

“Nature connection is a contact sport.”  Scott D Sampson

“Unstructured experiences in nature are more beneficial than structured experiences and the benefits are universal across cultural and geographic areas. “

“Voluminous evidence suggests that outdoor play deprivation contributes to obesity and, over time, the social and physical effects of obesity contribute, in circular fashion, to play deprivation.”   http://www.childrenandnature.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/LWS_Vol1_03.pdf

The truth is that play seems to be one of the most advanced methods nature has invented to allow a complex brain to create itself.”  Brown, Stuart (2009). Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.

“Being outdoors, learning about the environment, being distracted by clues and pursuing marked stations on a nature trail is not a great pathway to increased connection to nature. Likewise, a computer-based educational hike learning about animals and plants isn’t either. Engaging with nature through the arts however did increase children’s connection to nature”

“A connection to nature isn’t related to knowledge of nature, rather it comes through finding meaning in nature; experiencing emotions in nature such as happiness and wonder; having compassion for nature; making contact with nature and appreciating nature’s beauty. When creating nature-based artwork we must make contact with nature, find and express emotion and find meaning – which can bring about compassion for nature.”

“Make the perception of nature central – signpost joy and wonder; emotion and beauty; and experiencing nature with the senses. Rather than finding a series of marker stations, find other reasons to pause and engage the senses with nature, and provide places to reflect.”  https://findingnature.org.uk/2015/09/06/connecting-children-with-nature-by-nature-trails-and-learning-or-through-art/#more-1124

4  But Outside play levels appear to be declining in developed countries

“UK research found, on average, children were playing outside for just over four hours a week, compared to 8.2 hours a week when the adults questioned were children.”  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/27/children-spend-only-half-the-time-playing-outside-as-their-parents-did

In the USA 24% of teens say they go online “almost constantly”.



5  Examples of Overseas Organisations set up to promote nature connection for kids

UK Wild Network  http://www.thewildnetwork.com

“Our mission is to support children, parents and guardians to roam free, play wild and connect with nature.  We believe all children should have the right to access the outdoors for play, learning, expression and – ultimately – the development of a healthy mind and body.  We encourage, provoke, nudge, support, innovate and campaign for children, kids and young folk to get up and get outside:

To wander freely

To look up and around

To find wonder, awe and empathy in all life

To nurture, steward and protect

To run, jump, climb, crawl and explore the world on our doorsteps

To seek imagination in wildness

To find inventiveness in the woods

To grow happy healthy minds and bodies

To find comfort in solitude

To become truly connected”

Australia Nature Play http://www.natureplaywa.org.au/for-schools

USA https://www.childrenandnature.org/


6   The research is also beginning In New Zealand Aotearoa

The Department of Conservation has a lot of recent publications:



DOC study on health and wellbeing benefits of conservation in NZ

current consultation http://www.doc.govt.nz/pagefiles/160872/advancing-eefs-background-document-2016.pdf


Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health.”

“Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment, but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading.”

“We need to allow children to develop their biophilia, their love for the Earth, before we ask them to academically learn about nature and become guardians of it.”

“Research has shown that empathy with and love of nature grows out of children’s regular contact with the natural world. Hands-on, informal, self-initiated exploration and discovery in local, familiar environments are often described as the best ways to engage and inspire children and cultivate a sense of wonder. These frequent, unstructured experiences in nature are the most common influence on the development of life-long conservation values.”

7   In NZ our outside play levels are low and may be dropping on average

“96 of Auckland kids percent got an hour a day exercise needed despite lots of inactivity”    http://kidsinthecity.ac.nz/

“New Zealanders aged 12+ spend an average of 4 hours and 36 minutes a day on passive mass media and social entertainment activities – over 80 percent of all leisure time. The time spent on exercise or playing sport is just 19 minutes on an average day.”  http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/people_and_communities/time_use/TimeUseSurvey_HOTP2009-10/Commentary.aspx

We are using our devices more and more http://www.researchnz.com/pdf/Special%20Reports/Research%20New%20Zealand%20Special%20Report%20-%20Use%20of%20Smartphones.pdf


8  Examples of New Zealand Organisations

Palmy dirty 30  https://www.facebook.com/PalmyDirty30/   http://palmydirty30.weebly.com/

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHF) the theme this year is connect to nature


Re-wild yourself