Updated: Feb 3
Kia ora, I am Bridget Bruorton.
Born in Canada to kiwi parents, I was one year old when Ōtautahi became home. As a child I spent many hours with my family camping on a piece of land in the Okuti Valley, Little River. There was always something new to discover each time we arrived. The hours slipped away as we dammed the everchanging creek, searched for wild passionfruit, or built a fire in the creekbed. My Dad encouraged our connection to nature. He hardly let a birdsong pass without questioning us about its identity, was eager to encourage our sense of adventure with ‘spotlight’ games at night and hut building, and inspired my interest in native plants and birds with many tramps around Te Waipounamu. These trips were a happy experience for me and I now head to the great outdoors with my husband and two girls whenever possible.
The key reason I joined Bush Farm is to continue to support my own and others’ lifelong curiosity and learning in nature. Research shows the importance of people being in nature as much as possible to support their holistic well-being and I have experienced this first-hand. Camping and tramping with my family from an early age and working with students in the outdoors has convinced me that outdoor environments support excellent learning outcomes and self confidence that cannot be mirrored in indoor environments. It makes so much sense that learning will be greater in the fresh air, with amazing ecosystems, weather systems and seasons to inspire curiosity, thinking, and learning. I also believe that engaging with children, whānau and staff around each child’s individual learning needs is key to enjoyable experiences and positive learning outcomes for all.
My early adventures in sport led me to California where I completed a Bachelor of Science (Physical Education - with a concentration in disability sport). In this time, as part of study and work, I learnt a lot about how to be flexible and creative to meet individual needs. Since I love the outdoors, I then completed a New Zealand Certificate in Adventure Tourism. I resonated with those instructors who had a respect for, and knowledge of flora and fauna, and learnt that relationships based on trust and respect underpin all successful ventures. This led me to my teaching diploma and over fifteen years as a part/full time teacher in primary, intermediate and secondary schools with a diverse range of students. Luckily, many teaching roles have included teaching in outdoor environments and this is where I feel most at home. I have enjoyed working with students and whānau and seeing positive aspects for children from learning outdoors. I love seeing their connections with others and how their relationship with their environment develops.