“The nest, quite as much as the oneiric [dream] house…knows nothing of the hostility of the world. Human life starts with refreshing sleep, and all the eggs in a nest are kept nicely warm…In its germinal form, therefore, all of life is well-being. Being starts with well-being.”
- Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
Join the Stardust Society's Spring adventure exploring the wonder of precious bird’s nests buried in the ancient, tangled hedgerow.
After a difficult Winter and the human world in the turmoil of a massive, much needed paradigm shift, our reserves for stress and change are low. We crave safety, freedom and joy. It is time to take ourselves on an adventure to reconnect with and learn from our non-human kin. It is time for us to pause and awaken our curiosity, creativity and sense of awe. It is time to rekindle the quiet joy of a safe nest buried in the tangled hedgerow.
Join me and fellow starry-eyed learners in the Stardust Society as we search for the peace and growth of nesting. In the Society’s virtual adventure we will come together this spring to journey to the wild hedgerow, where bird’s build their nests. Together we will notice, wonder, discover, create and connect with our avian kin and their precious homes. Together we will emerge with a renewed sense of belonging and knowing - for we are part of everything. We are made of stardust.
COMING IN 2022
"The Stardust Society Autumn adventure was brilliant. Not only did it get me spending more time outdoors but I also noticed myself spending that time in nature more mindfully. Noticing the subtle seasonal changes gave me an opportunity to switch off from thinking about my business or what was going on in my every day life.I found the gentle and supportive group that Agnes brought together really inspiring." - Josephine
What is the Stardust Society?
The Stardust Society is a nourishing community of starry-eyed learners. Together we embark on virtual seasonal adventures each of which deepen our connection with and belonging to an aspect of nature – from fungal networks deep in the earth to fiery stars billions of miles away.
Each adventure will take us on a journey of:
- learning and discovery through science
- creativity and mindfulness through art
- connection to the earth and each other through community
Guided by me, Agnes Becker, in this Society we are all equal in our learning. We support each other to make space for more moments of wonder in nature. We inspire each other with our discoveries about and creative expressions to the Earth and our place in it. We collectively deepen our sense of belonging.
At the end of each seasonal adventure, you’ll feel enriched and more deeply connected to the area of natural wonder we have explored, as well as having met a group of like-minded, lifelong learners.
"I loved the prompts and variety of input from Agnes. It was nice dipping in as and when I could. It has inspired me to get outside and trust in my creativity. Great community of people and beautifully put together material that was interesting."
About the Nesting Adventure
Hidden in the tangled, wild hedgerow you may glimpse a Blackbird flitting in and out between the new green leaves of the Elder, her beak full of twigs and roots carefully chosen to build a cosy nest for her brood. This nest - hidden, fragile, safe, precious – will be where her eggs are kept warm and her nestlings are nourished.
This Spring, join the Stardust Society to explore bird’s nests – and our own needs for nesting – as we adventure into the wild hedgerow. Guided by me, Agnes Becker, this six-week adventure will deepen your knowledge of the more-than-human world and awaken your playful creativity all with the support of a community of fellow starry-eyed learners.
"I loved, loved, loved the whole theme, and how we linked our learning about nature with observation and introspection."
What will we explore?
Week 0: Preparing for our adventure
Our Stardust Society community space opens a week before the adventure starts. Gentle prompts see us begin to get to know each other, understand what we are looking for in this journey and prepare ourselves for the adventure ahead of us. We get to know each other in our first virtual campfire 'welcome' gathering.
Week 1: Welcome | To The Wild Hedgerow
We begin our adventure to the wild hedgerow. The wild hedgerow is as much reality as it is concept. Some Stardust Society members may live in landscapes where the wild hedgerow becomes a row of tall trees or a shrub in their garden. We each find our wild hedgerows and the birds that call these spaces their home. Welcome packs arrive in the post. We notice the resistance we may feel in giving ourselves time to be with nature and consider ways in which to overcome these feelings and gift ourselves time with the more-than-human world.
Week 2: Birdsong
As we walk through the cool, Spring sunshine we begin to take notice of the birdsong around us, recording it in our nature journal. The creative exercise in the guidebook sees us start to experiment and play. We begin to awaken our sense of curiosity and creativity.
Week 3: Nests
We return to our wild hedgerows and take the time to notice nest building activities. We notice their fragility and precarious construction and think about the trust a bird places in the world to ensure her eggs are safe. Our nature journaling leads us to look with curiosity and wonder and the creative exercise sees us collecting materials for and building our own little nests. We give back to the birds by laying out nesting materials for them.
Week 4: Eggs
As the nest building completes, the bird hatches her eggs. We adventure deep into the safety of the nest, exploring the myriad of different types of eggs and how they are laid. We reflect on our own metaphorical ‘eggs’, ideas and dreams we are keeping nurtured in our minds and homes until they are ready to fly the nest.
Week 5: Our Nests
On our weekly walk to our wild hedgerow we stop and turn inwards towards our own ideas and dreams. We begin to see the connection between our own homes (our own ‘nests’) and how they support our ideas and dreams. Stylist Hannah Bullivant joins us to talk about the importance of our own nests for our own well-being. We create a nest-like wreath as a keepsake to remind us of our adventure.
Week 6: Returning From The Wild Hedgerow | Homecoming
Slowly we return home from the wild hedgerow and its nesting birds. We meet in our final weekly campfire and reflect on all we have learned and experienced. We consider how we will continue to nurture our curiosity and creativity with ourselves and the more-than-human world as we leave the adventure and return home.
"The content was beautiful and well researched. Everything was really accessible, and it wasn’t scary to share what I created with the group. I loved the live nature journaling...[and] little gifts that came in the post."
Joining the adventure will help you feel:
An increase sense of awe, wonder, peace and freedom from spending time outside and focussing attention on the more-than-human world
A deeper understanding of and therefore connection to birds, our non-human kin
A reawakening of your curiosity and creativity
A new perspective on the importance of your home being a safe nest made by and for yourself
A renewed faith in humanity by connecting with fellow humans who love learning, creating and connecting with the more-than-human world
What will joining the adventure gift you?
- A seasonal we are stardust welcome box with a notebook, greetings cards and other goodies to prepare you for your adventure
- A weekly 1-2 page downloadable guidebook chapter with gentle nature journaling prompts and short creative exercises that will help you discover more about local nesting birds, create and play through words, pictures and/or drawing, connect more deeply with yourself and the more-than-human world we are exploring
- Weekly Stardust Society campfire meetings, guided by Agnes Becker, to share our findings, discuss any resistance you are feeling to the adventure, ask for thoughts and advice from fellow Society members. These will be held every Friday between 11.30-12.30 BST and will be recorded.
- Weekly inspirational posts about the science, folklore and philosophical concepts behind birds, hedgerows and nesting
- A supportive online community space on Facebook to connect and share your findings from each week’s prompts and creative exercises with like-minded starry-eyed learners. This space will be available for you to revisit after the adventure has finished.
You will also get the following talks and workshops
- A live nature journaling session with Agnes Becker
- A nest painting class by Agnes Becker
- A talk with birder Hazel McCambridge from the British Trust for Ornithologists
- A session and wreath workshop with stylist Hannah Bullivant on nesting in your own home, why our homes are so important to our well-being and how you can begin to make your home your own. We will also create mini nest-like wreaths that will serve as keepsakes for your adventure.
INTRODUCING YOUR GUIDE AND SPEAKERS
AGNES BECKER, ADVENTURE GUIDE
Agnes is an artist and science communications specialist who feels most at home with family and friends, immersed in nature. After a degree in Natural Sciences and a Masters in Science Media Production, Agnes spent 10 years working in universities with scientists. In 2016 Agnes created we are stardust as a way to deepen our experience of the messy, beautiful universe through art and science.
HAZEL MCCAMBRIDGE, BRITISH TRUST OF ORNITHOLOGY
HANNAH BULLIVANT, STYLIST
Hannah is a freelance events and interiors stylist specialising in home styling and decluttering with soul. Hannah is passionate about living seasonally, joyfully and stylishly. Her clients include independent businesses as well as homes. She runs seasonal wreath workshops and a home interiors course called The Fresh Nest.
"The content was very thoughtfully put together, inspirational and engaging. I also loved the welcome pack sent in the post."
You can tailor your adventure to meet your needs.
Minimum: 1 hour each week to go outside and do the weekly guidebook prompts.
Medium: 3 hours each week to go outside and do the weekly guidebook prompts, take part in the weekly campfire sessions and weekly talk/workshop.
Maximum: As many hours as you like! Immerse yourself in the world of birds and their safe nest and share with fellow Stardust Society members.
Who is the Stardust Society for?
The Stardust Society welcomes you with open arms if:
- You want to enrich your experience of being in nature with learning and creativity but don’t know where to start
- You want to connect with the Earth and all her living beings more deeply but never find the time or headspace to do this
- You love learning about nature from all disciplines and people but have never found a community where learning is free of judgement about how much you do/don’t know
- You want to learn more about the world through science but feel what you read when you look things up is too complicated and overwhelming or believe you aren’t clever enough
- You want to respond to your experience of being in nature with creative art projects but don’t know where to start or believe you are “rubbish at drawing”
- You love being part of a diverse community of people from all walks of life who love the connecting with the more-than-human world
The Stardust Society may not be the best place for you if:
- You want to learn technical terminology and get very specific about scientific methodology
- You want a perfect, slick experience. I am a mother working on we are stardust part-time. I am messy and human. I will do my best to create a smooth, beautiful experience for you but I will make mistakes. If this is something that would bother you, this adventure may not be for you.
- You want to tick off seeing as many bird species as possible
- You want a detailed, step-by-step ‘how to’ guide to exploring the world through science and art
- You are looking for a very directed course with a leader to take you through learning about an area of nature (I will act as more of a guide, encouraging others to share their findings and creations)
- You feel some areas of learning about the world are superior to others