“Natural navigation is the art of finding your way by using nature. It consists mainly of the rare skill of being able to determine direction without the aid of tools or instruments and only by reference to natural clues including the sun, the moon, the stars, the land, the sea, the weather, the plants, and the animals. It is about observation and deduction.”
As the Voyagers’ Outdoor Program prepares for a new school year, we are working with the theme, Natural Navigators. Tristan Gooley’s work with natural navigation is a mix between ancient history, science, geography, and environmental education. Although we will be taking a more general approach, we will use Gooley’s writings to give our students the ability to navigate through the natural world.
We will start by truly navigating through our new environment at our new location. We will get to know the plants, the birds, the trees and the ecology of our new home. Students will grow more and more comfortable in the outdoor environment and more and more knowledgeable on how to navigate through nature.
We will not be focused on getting lost and finding our way out or on simple survival. Instead, we will spend the school year gaining insights into how the natural world works and find our way in a deeper sense.
“A very common question is whether being able to navigate naturally is a necessary skill. Since it is quite possible to get through our daily lives without any knowledge of this most ancient of arts, the answer must be “no.” However, it is also true that we can get by in life without any knowledge of music, art, drama, or history. So a better answer to this question is perhaps that it does not matter if you are walking to the coffee shop or sailing across an ocean, natural navigation can provide a unique insight into the world around you.”