Anette Stickler Bushcraft Bushcraft Skills Campfire Skills - The Key to the Wilderness Annette Stickler
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Annette Stickler

I grew up on the south coast of England where as a child I had a reputation for taking in local wildlife and it was not unusual to have an injured or sick mammal or bird being treated. I also had a vast menagerie of pet animals, including Giant African Land Snails!

This hands on experience at an early age stood me in good stead when I went on to study animal husbandry and wildlife management at Sparsholt College, Hampshire. I had a huge amount of admiration for Gerald Durrell and went onto train as Zoo Keeper at Marwell Zoological Park. During that time I was given the opportunity to work closely with some amazing species of wildlife, some of which were endangered. I have helped hand rear amongst others an Arabian Gazelle, Dama Gazelles, an Okapi, a Giraffe and various exotic birds.

I was a Senior Zoo Keeper for over 10 years, 8 of which were working at Marwell Zoological Park, breeding endangered species and was part of a team working to release endangered species into the wild including Golden Lion Tamarins and Przewalski Horses. I chose to study the Sulawesi Crested Macaque for a behaviour enrichment project, this eventually became a written part of my Zoo Animal Management exam. My last two years at Marwell Zoo were spent on breeding programmes of the Bongo Antelope, Nyala Antelope and Okapi. Although being involved with behaviour enrichment projects for zoo animals, I became disillusioned with the stereotypic behaviours often seen in captive environments.

It was at this time I wanted to travel to remote areas, often off the beaten track so I attended a Wilderness Bushcraft course in 1995 as a student of 22. Bushcraft has since influenced my own thoughts of working with nature. Taking part on that first course changed my whole outlook on life. I went on to complete many other courses, an ongoing development of my skills, and over a 26 year period of learning the subject has carried out a three day woodland survival course, living off the land.

This passion for wild places led me on a journey to learn and then involve others in Bushcraft. Eventually I founded “Campfire Skills” in 1999 where I involve others in nature through my outdoor courses and where I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. I teach both the young and young at heart on a one to one basis or in groups and have considerable experience of working with children and young people, including those with learning difficulties and special needs like Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, Tourettes and others.

I have been very fortunate to have experienced first hand natural environments from climbing mountains and walking glaciers to trekking through rainforest and staying with indigenous people in their wilderness homes. I continue to learn from their richness (although they have little money and most often go bare foot) I still believe more than ever that modern day stresses with the growing technologies can often blur common sense living and blunt our senses that we all need to get back in touch with nature and to re light the embers like our ancestors did for both peace of mind and physical well being.

I get a huge amount of satisfaction by involving others in nature.

"We all have these skills, a natural art."

Happy Campfires!



. Annette Stickler
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