Joyful Nature was founded by Anna Sansom and Bunny (Susan) Warren.
When I was a kid one of my favourite things was being curled up indoors with a good book. One of my other favourite things was being in the garden, making mud pies, and hunting for caterpillars. As I grew up I did more and more of the book reading stuff and less and less of the playing outside stuff, and I became increasingly disconnected from nature.
I’m grateful that two key events happened that helped me to remember and reconnect with how important nature is to me. The first was meeting Bunny and being swept up in her passion and enthusiasm for embodied time in nature. The second was a reawakening of my spiritual relationship with the natural world.
I’m not the most physically able or active so a big part of my own nature connection practice includes noticing the everyday nature all around me: watching the birds in my garden, paddling in the sea, and going for walks in local places that inspire me.
My professional background is in health and wellbeing and I’m an enthusiastic advocate of harnessing the benefits of nature connection to help us thrive. I also use other creative ways to tune into nature, its seasons and cycles, and have recorded some of the nature-based meditation practices I use.
Ultimately this work is about acknowledging that we are not separate from nature – we are a part of nature – and consequently we need to maintain a reciprocal relationship: nature supports our wellbeing but we need to do our bit to support nature too.
Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to be outdoors – in the woods climbing trees, chasing butterflies in the garden, and swimming in the sea. I’ve always felt part of nature, and am acutely aware of how important the natural world is in supporting my health, wellbeing and enjoyment of life.
Even when I was ill and stuck on the sofa for six months, nature was my constant companion. With Anna’s support I was able to explore less physically demanding ways of connecting with nature through books, poetry, TV programmes and birdwatching from my window.
Today, whilst the tree climbing is much less frequent, I love to be out walking on the coastal path, along our local river, and through fields and woodland. We also have two wonderful cats, who’ve given me an in depth insight into life from a non-human perspective.
For me it’s vital to show my care and appreciation for all the ways in which nature supports me. It’s not a commodity to be used up – it’s the fundamental fabric which supports all of our lives.
I try my best to show this care through my work with environmental organisations, my research and writing, and through my everyday activities. Sharing this love and care for nature with as many people as possible is my enduring passion.
Biography: Dr Anna Sansom
- I originally trained to be an occupational therapist and then went on to gain a PhD and work for universities as a qualitative health researcher: finding out about people’s experiences of receiving and delivering care.
- I’m particularly skilled at helping people to share their stories and have done this in a variety of ways including: interviewing people as research participants; providing editorial support and guidance to autobiographical writers; and holding space where deep listening and affirmation can take place.
- I have trained in a variety of wellbeing modalities including: meditation practitioner; Reiki; soul midwifery; and conscious sexuality. I draw on all of this learning (and more) to offer my own contribution to healing ourselves and the planet.
- I’m a multi-published writer. My publications include academic papers, magazine articles, novels, short stories, and creative non-fiction. Writing is one of my key passions in life.
- I didn’t learn to swim until I was an adult but now one of my favourite things is being in the sea – it’s the place where I feel most alive, embodied, and fully present.
Biography: Dr Susan (Bunny) Warren
- I have over 25 years’ experience working for local and national organisations at senior executive and non-executive director level, in the fields of nature conservation, sustainability and community engagement. Connecting people with nature, and encouraging empathy and care for the natural world has been a central thread throughout this work.
- I’m a creative thinker, great communicator and passionate advocate for nature. I specialise in: strategic planning; developing partnerships; fundraising; project development and delivery; and research and evaluation. To date I’ve raised over £10million for a wide range of nature conservation and community-based environmental projects, and worked with over 100 different organisations.
- I recently completed a PhD, which enabled me to extend and develop my knowledge and understanding of human-nature relationships and sustainable living.
- My favourite pastimes are walking and cycling in the Devon countryside, and sea swimming along its coast.
- I am an eclectic and avid reader, and particularly enjoy writing which challenges and reimagines our relationships with animals and wider nature.