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Wild manner

A few years back, on a contract to deliver an organisation development programme for the Countryside Agency, England's (then) statutory protection agency for nature, biodiversity and landscape. Of the many committed people I met during our work there, one stood out by being very different to the others, and stood out for the breadth of experiences that he could reference in his conversation. I'd just met Duncan Mackay, black belt learner and Doer.

Training officers, books, government agencies and anyone with a flip chart pen has been exhorting the benefits of 'lifelong learning' without looking to think about why anyone would want to spend time learning when they could be doing something else. The trick that they've missed is the connection between fun and learning - something that's been missing from the school and education agenda for all too long. One story from Duncan stuck with me from the day I met him was of learning a new skill every year, from scratch. Not small things like Suduko, or getting to the next level on your PS2, but reverentially craft based skills; such as making cheese, building an apple press so that his village could juice their autumn fruit, or cycling the length of Britain on a folding bike.

One of Duncan's latest projects has been to write a few books, with the first of these, Eat Wild, an enticing look at foraging for taste and sustenance in wild Britain. The book's launch will coincide with some of the freshest, most succulent of wild food appearing in the hedegrows. Reserve your copy now.

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