Wild Fife Babies and Bairns was a group set up initially during lockdown, by Mum Kiri Stone, for new parents to enjoy the outdoors and nature with their babies. Mum of two Hollie Sutherland joined Kiri in January 2021 to help run the parent and toddler groups. Both Kiri and Hollie volunteered their time to run bi-monthly sessions for 3 age groups – Acorns (3-18 months), Fox Cubs (18-36 months) and Squirrels (confident walkers – 4 year olds). We became a business partnership in June 2021.
As of January 2022, we have a new base at Silverburn Park in Leven. Please see our Newsletter for more information. We now run 5 sessions a week across the 3 different age groups, both at Silverburn Park and at different locations across Fife.
Who are we?
“Hello, my name is Kiri and I’m one of the Wild Fife Babies and Bairns leaders.
My own childhood experiences not only equipped me with a love of nature and a confidence and desire to explore the world both locally and further afield…taking me to such places as Tanzania, Brazil, Nigeria and India, but also led to my studying Environmental Science and becoming a Countryside Ranger where through organising nature walks, craft sessions and bushcraft events I was able to enjoy sharing this love of the natural world with young children, Junior Rangers and John Muir students.
Although both my parents came from nursery teaching backgrounds it wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I fully began to appreciate the enormous potential for emotional, physical and intellectual learning that is just outside and I am keen to play a part in helping children to not just feel comfortable in nature but to also develop and thrive in it…. nowhere offers more opportunities to explore, experiment, be creative, take physical risks, share with others and have lots of fun than the natural world.
Volunteering at The Secret Garden whilst pregnant gave me a valuable insight into the benefits to development of child led play … where the children felt safe enough to explore the world around them independently with adults only helping with problem solving when needed. This along with forest schooling is something I am keen to learn more about.
Alongside my love of nature, swimming, yoga and cycling have always been important in helping me to stay connected with my body and walking at Tentsmuir with Moon my dog where I can see trees and the sea together remains one of my favourite activities. And even though I love experiencing different cultures and look forward to one day exploring new lands it is exploring the world on my doorstep and seeing it through the eyes of my daughter Tove that is giving me more pleasure than I could ever have imagined.”
“Hi, I’m Hollie, I’m one of the Wild Fife Babies and Bairns leaders (Fox Cubs 18-36 months and Oaklings 12-18 months). I am a Mum to two beautiful little girls, aged 1 and 4 years old. My training is in environmental science and conservation.
For over 10 years I have been involved in outreach and education initiatives that have sought to increase public engagement, both adults and children, in important environmental issues. I have worked in South Africa helping to run a game reserve research camp. In Scotland I have worked on Red Squirrels and American Mink. I then moved to America and worked as a Communications Specialist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and most recently I completed a research Masters degree in public participation in biodiversity monitoring. During my masters I was lucky enough to work with Black Bears, and help study Moose, use drones for wildlife monitoring and I was a teaching assistant, helping teach two general education courses (‘Sustainable Living: Solutions for the 21st Century’ and ‘Environment and Society’). We were in America for the last 7 years and we moved back to Scotland for my husband’s job at the University of St Andrews.
I have a strong belief that a connection to the environment is better made when interacting with nature than in a classroom setting. You are more likely to want to protect the environment if you immerse yourself in it and appreciate all it has to offer. I spend a lot of time with my children outside – playing, doing art and crafts, hiking, eating and learning about nature.
I hope to bring my experience and passion for nature to Wild Fife Babies and Bairns. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to spend time with local parents and their beautiful children. It has been a challenging year for so many and this has provided a bright light of hope.”