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The Wilderness Society

The Wilderness Society (TWS) is a national, community-based, environmental advocacy organisation whose purpose is to protect, promote and restore wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth.

Public education and empowerment, advocacy and negotiation, as well as desk and field research are important daily actions that help all of us worldwide to have a safe and clean environment.

Since we don’t have time to volunteer, Nature’s Child donates monthly to support Wilderness Society operations and campaigns. The passion that drives supporters of the Wilderness Society is – the power and ability of people to make change.

Almost 40 years old, The Wilderness Society is one of Australia’s oldest not-for-profit, non-government organisations that is funded by memberships, donations, public fundraising and our retail operations. The Wilderness Society undertakes research, policy development, community outreach and campaigning activities to fulfill their purpose.

If you have the interest, energy and some spare time, do the planet a favour and visit your local Wilderness Society Campaign Centre – they’ll give you a warm welcome! For more information, please contact: Freecall 1800 030 641 | Email:

ANTaR – Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation

Most famous for their sea of hands exhibition around Australia, ANTaR or Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), is an independent, national network of mainly non-indigenous organisations and individuals working in support of justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.

ANTaR receives no grants from Federal or State governments and is non-party-political. Almost 250,000 Australians have put their signatures on a hand in the Sea of Hands and helped in its installation in locations around Australia. Nature’s Child joined ANTaR in 2003 in recognition of the important role of supporting active community participation in genuine reconciliation and nurturing relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. ANTaR’s purpose has always been to support indigenous people speaking for themselves, rather than to speak for indigenous people.

From 2011–2013 – A key issue for Discussion in Australia is the upcoming referendum. The federal Government has agreed to hold a national referendum on constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by the time of the next election, due in 2013. Visit to find out more.

ANTaR has a close and unique working relationship with indigenous leaderships. Much of ANTaR’s work is carried out by peak state and territory ANTaRs and by numerous local groups. This includes activities focused at a grass-roots level, local reconciliation initiatives which are carried out in conjunction with local indigenous groups and other members of the local community.

There are in excess of 200 local ANTAR groups. ANTAR’s purpose is: To generate in Australia a moral and legal recognition of and respect for the distinctive status of Indigenous Australians as First Peoples. Recognition of Indigenous Australians’ rights, which include self-determination, their relationships to land and the maintenance and growth of their cultures, is essential to creating a just and fair society for all Australians.

The Green Gecko Project

Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the streets of Siem Reap will know these children. While most would have been hassled by their begging, only some would have had the pleasure of getting to know the kids themselves – their humour, tenacity, cunning, hope, trust and friendship. The sad reality is that these children, as young as 5 years old, are often the primary breadwinners for their families. Their living conditions are often desperate, either living in very poor housing or no housing at all. Many of the children were sleeping unaccompanied on the pavement, defenceless to abduction, abuse and disease before Green Gecko gave them a new home.

The GREEN GECKO project is about educating and teaching them skills so they can eventually stop begging and earn money in a safer, healthier way. It also provides a safe house shelter, care and stability for those physically battered or psychologically in need. The GREEN GECKO headquarters has grown from a small rented house to a leased purpose built community. The children are actively involved in building, cleaning and cooking daily. At the house the children can eat a hot lunch, attend an English class, feel secure, play, dance, get a hug, put their pictures up on the wall, have a shower, get their hair combed, brush their teeth and receive medical attention. All things we take for granted here.

Our greatest threat to the project is the kids’ parents. They are either hungry or have an addiction problem and have little concept of the future. Our greatest hurdle is convincing them that all their lives would benefit if only they’d allow their child to take a few hours off begging to learn a new language and vocation. It is a huge, long standing complex issue and we hope to attract community involvement in addressing it. You can donate from as little as $25 a month. Or a one off donation for school and healthy food supplies.

Children growing up in the Green Gecko Project have been given a new direction in life. Prostitution and gambling are no longer the obvious career path for these children. Thank you Green Gecko! Our world is a better place thanks to Rem, Tania and the hundreds of volunteers.

If you would like to donate to the Green Gecko Project or learn more please visit Nature’s Child has sent crayons, clothes and cash assistance to the school since November 2005. Nature’s Child continues to support Green Gecko every time you purchase a mosquito net from us, we donate one to Cambodian Families. We also sell the Cambodian Cookbook written by the Green Gecko Team which has delicious recipes for you to cook while 100% of the profits go to the Gecko Project. We also sell their calendar and Christmas cards at the end of each year so look out for them on our website.

Our CEO, Jannine Barron, donates monthly. We maintain a close relationship to the school and its founders and continue to donate to this fantastic initiative to add value to the lives of street kids in Cambodia. The Green Gecko Project is an initiative founded to benefit the lives of the Cambodian street children in Siem Reap by Rem and Tania Palmer. Rem is a Cambodian Citizen and Tania is Australian.

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Isolate the ‘action’ a child is displaying and redirect the ‘action’ into a safe and positive play idea.

Scenario: A young child is running inside at a social gathering.

Response: “Can you run to that tree and back three times in the garden? I will watch from the window. Outside is where you can run.”

Scenario: A young child is banging on the window with a hard object (makes a lovely sound!).

Response: “We bang on a drum, let’s tap on a saucepan with a wooden spoon. This is how we tap, well done, not on the window”.

When trying moments occur, redirect the child’s attention to a whole new activity. Redirection can also quickly change a child’s mood.

Scenario: A child is tired but does not want to rest (‘niggles’ will follow!).

Response: Throw a big bed sheet or bedspread over the kitchen table to make a cosy den underneath with cushions and books. Start reading a story to big teddy on your bed, your child will soon follow.

Scenario: A child is upset, waiting for tea.

Response: “Look at that bird in the tree; it sounds like it is calling your name. Listen, Roger, Roger…!”

Redirect to something new (children live in the moment!). Redirect by saying the ‘positive’ way to behave, rather than “Stop…” “No…” Children are more open to being guided in this way (even teenagers!). Each time your child displays a challenging behaviour, it is an opportunity to guide (redirect) your child on how to live in this world.

Scenario: Children are walking in mud on the way to the classroom (teaching).

Response: “Stay on the path!” rather than “Keep off the mud!”

It is subtle but children respond to the positive way to behave (with less defensiveness) and learn what to do next time.

Scenario: A young child is hitting a playmate to get a toy.

Response: Say “Hands down” in a firm manner, redirecting the child to keep his hands to himself. Then redirect the child to use words to ask for a turn and for the hurt child to say, “Stop! I do not like that”. Further, redirect the child to help you get a timer to play a turn-taking game when the bell pings! Also practise ‘sharing’ with teddy at home and explain gentleness throughout the week with toys and other people.

Remember that no child or parent is perfect and neither should we be. It’s our mistakes that help us to learn and grow. Try to be conscious of how things worked out during and after each incident with your child. Understand where you could have parented more positively (redirecting) to change inappropriate behaviours and make plans to act differently tomorrow (and then try again!)…

Lou Harvey-Zahra’s book ‘Turning Tears into Laughter: Creative Discipline for the Toddler and Preschool Years’ (Five Mile Press) includes all eight Creative Discipline tools. Her book and newsletter filled with free and inspiring parenting tips can be found at

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Attachment Parenting and Babywearing

Doctor William Sears devotes one whole chapter to the benefits of ‘babywearing’ in his book “The Baby Book”. He says in his book “if we were stranded on a deserted island without the advice of baby books, doctors, psychologists and in-laws… you would care for your child instinctively – breastfeeding, holding and carrying your baby during the day and sleeping with your baby at night”.

Baby wearing is hailed as the single most important factor in the healthy physical, intellectual and social development of infant by baby health researchers and physicians.

In our culture, there is currently a resurgence of an ancient practice called attachment parenting. Still widely practiced, mostly in non-western countries, attachment style parenting is an instinctive way of raising an infant where the baby is carried close to the parent in a sling or pouch for a substantial period of the day, fed when hungry and comforted when distressed. This method of parenting allows a busy parent the freedom to continue their normal daily routine while still able to meet their infant’s essential needs for food, warmth and security.

Social conditioning has led parents to believe that if a baby is held or carried too much they will be ‘spoilt’, ‘clingy’ or ‘demanding. Modern Research reveals quite the opposite. Physical and physiological benefits associated with babywearing encourage children to feel secure and content with a solid state of self-esteem.

With modern living, the invention of the telephone and faster transportation, families spread out and nuclear families replaced the extended one, leaving the task of raising children generally to one person – the mother. Of course the sooner babies could sleep alone, feed themselves and soothe themselves, the easier it was… and so was the beginning of denial of infancy as a time of deep dependency.

The famous ’behaviourist,’ John Watson, led the movement toward ‘detached’ parenting. Mothers were told “hold your babies too much and later they will hold on. Let them cry it out and they will become self reliant; hardy…” – the qualities necessary to survive in a competitive world. The following excerpt form his 1938 book ‘The Psychological Care of the Newborn’ reveals the severity of his views which shaped our parents and grandparents upbringing. “Never hug and kiss them, never let them sit on your lap. If your must, kiss them once on the forehead when they say goodnight.”

In one fell swoop, these anti–touch ‘experts’ denounced the womb comforts that have served babies for eons. Deprived of necessary holding, warmth, rocking and sucking, babies spent long periods hungry and frustrated, and parents turned form being a source of loving comfort to one of frequent frustration.

Anyone who has ever been to Indonesia, South America or Africa where these traditional styles of parenting are still practised, would have noted something very unusual. The babies rarely cry and they are usually attached to a busy working parent. By age 3 or 4 these children take an active roll in the family chores and the caring of other babies. Responsibilities we would rarely leave to our children.

Attachment parenting works because it respects the individual temperament of the child. All babies come hardwired for survival with certain needs and the ability to give cues about what these needs are. The parents, by being open to the child’s cues, learn how to read them and respond appropriately. The response helps the child feel right. He learns to cue better and parents learn to respond better. A cue-giving child and a responsive parent bring out the best in each other. On the other hand, detachment parenting with its restrained responses brings out the worst in both. The child’s cries become more disturbing and parents become angrier. Baby and parent learn not to trust each other and eventually become insensitive to each other.

There is a wonderful website called the Marni Co. Collection which has an article called “43 Reasons to Carry a Baby”. In it she lists benefit after benefit for babies who are carried and touched frequently. From lowering stress hormones, enhancing motor development, balance, co-ordination, reduced crying and colic, strengthened immune system, aiding digestion, sleeping deeper and learning better – these are just a fraction of the benefits for the baby not to mention the benefits for the mother.

As humans we are all born premature. We are completely reliant on our parents to provide us with life giving nourishment for many months. Providing our infants with the richest environment to grow and learn is a simple matter of holding them as you go about your day. As their parent we are the only experts worth trusting when it comes to knowing what is best for our child. All we need to do is listen to our heart.

There is no place more wonderful for a baby to thrive than in their parents’ loving arms.

Suzanne is co-creator of the wonderful baby carrier Hug-a-bub and is very passionate about the reasons we ‘wear’ our babies, as well as her own creations.

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What is Aware Parenting?

Parents drawn to Aware Parenting are attracted to the idea of listening to their baby’s feelings. They believe that holding and being ‘present’ when their baby cries allows a baby to be fully heard and accepted. Parents who practise this report great healing, joy and many other benefits from viewing crying in this way.

If you believe that children and babies cry because there may be sadness, grief, confusion and frustration that needs to be ‘heard’, then the journey of aware parenting will be a very fulfilling one for you. Aware parents believe that if we can accept all of a child’s feelings, and allow and teach children to be present with their feelings, children will not repress feelings via habitual behaviors or physical discipline. Do you believe you can help your children to stay connected to their true essence through being unconditionally loved?

Next time your baby or child cries, hold them in your arms, or sit next to them, and just be. Do not be distracted but find a way to be fully with your child and hear them. Once the crying if finished, notice your child’s behavior. Notice how you feel? When babies and children regularly laugh or cry to express their feelings, a great sense of emotional safety is created for painful feelings to be expressed. Families will notice more connection and will experience joy in seeing children heal from fear and powerlessness. So healing happens all round.

Aware parenting is not just about crying! It is about laughter, valuing everyone’s needs and finding ways for everyone to get their needs met. The more you value yourself, the more you can contribute joy and laughter and fun to your family.

Marion Badenoch Rose from Parenting with Presence says:

“Babies and children who are not given the opportunity to express their painful feelings with loving support may seem contented but tend to express less joy than babies who have been loved and supported in their painful feelings. Babies and children who are distracted from their uncomfortable feelings may smile less and may make less eye contact. On the other hand… when we play laughter games with our older babies and children, we also help create more safety for them to express their more uncomfortable feelings with us. Laughter and crying both get freely expressed and the paradox is, babies and children then become more present. They are more aware of what is going on in the here and now, are more available for connection, and are more able to take in new experiences and information.”