Ray Mears - We Are Nature

Palace Theatre, London Road, Westcliff

Wednesday, March 30

I'M still smiling, and feeling slightly sad too if I'm honest, mentally going over the contents of Ray Mears' fantastic show We Are Nature, at the Palace Theatre last night.

I went along with my 15 year old son, to listen and learn from Ray, an expert with 50 years experience in survival and bushcraft, also a woodsman, instructor, author and TV presenter.

Ray took the audience on a journey to rediscover all our senses - sound, touch, sight, smell, taste - amazing human superpowers he points out, we no longer use in the way we should.

In recent years we've moved so fast with technology, consumerism and convenience, we are actually losing the optimum use of our senses, he told us.

That's sad, right?

The point of this show, was to connect us with nature and to our ancestors, who would have only had their surroundings to work with, to navigate their way through life.

Ray took us back to the time of the first ancient humans, the Homo Habilis.

"They were small folk" he said, going on to describe ways in which these couple-of-metre tall people would have managed to outwit huge animals, by using their senses.

Apparently, if we work hard at refining what our noses can do today, humans do have the capability to smell something like a trillion types of different things, including, it has been proven, diseases such as Parkinsons.

Through interactive demonstrations, he showed us how we can be more aware of our senses, zone in on them, train them, such us using our peripheral vision, to keep us out of danger.

He talked us through, how, if we can just stop and listen to nature, really look and see, we can start to work with the animals around us to help us be aware of our surroundings.

Did you know a bird might make differentiating alarm calls, depending on what it is the bird is drawing others' attention to? The alarm call it makes for when a fox goes by, might be different to the call it makes when a kestrel flies above.

Through Ray's work, he naturally comes across much danger. He filled us in on all kinds of situations, such as the difference between how a leopard or a lion might act if we are ever faced with either of them. He also talked about more upsetting experiences he has had, concerning poachers, who have killed animals he has got to know.

Bringing it home, Ray introduced the audience to a police officer from the National Wildlife Crime Unit. He gave the audience insight and tips on what to look out for on our doorstep, regarding the myriad of rural crimes that are going on.

Ray Mears - We Are Nature, was a truly educational, fascinating and above all inspiring talk, which certainly stimulated every one of the senses.

At a time when we are learning to value nature more than ever, this was an invaluable experience.