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  • Writer's pictureLiana Guegan

EarthyNest: Behind the Scenes

Birthing EarthyNest grew out of some especially noteworthy influences, some absolute musts to acknowledge:

Uplift: Flowerpot Homestead

We first met this outstanding family when my four year old decided she wanted to go to kindergarten and I happened upon ‘Treetops’, a home grown Steiner influenced day care run by the family. Four lucky children playfully immersed themselves barefoot in the lush, tropical gardens this home offered to the singing of Audrey’s sweet voice calling them in for circle time or story time or bread making. This thread of off-screen, nature connected, imaginative play grew their children to almost adulthood when screen finally made its way, cautiously and intelligently, into their home. The telltale signs are in the kids: strong, passionate, grounded, mindful people living to their fullest human potential. What has inspired me most about this family over the years is their strength to stand in their authenticity despite sometimes overwhelming societal pressure to the contrary. It is this family we turn to when the going gets tough. They have been our Uplift - our ‘constant’ - our reminder that we CAN stand strong in our values of violence free living and cyber safety no matter what the odds are.

Uplift, all these years down the track, has replaced Treetops and now the family help people reconnect with self through voice. See for Uplift singing workshops and youth camps.


This family have been our role model family since our children were babies. Back in the days when our tropical north networks were talking the talk of sustainability, these guys were doing it. Located two and a half hours south of Darwin in the arid-red, strikingly stunning and ancient country of Ban Ban Springs, they created an abundant food forest on their 5 acre garden plot. Surrounding this lush green dot on the dusty dry is their local butcher shop. Luke, dad of this mob and skilled hunter, on demand walks barefoot, gun slung over shoulder, into this searing country to source feral meat to feed his family. There is no doubt about the ethics of the kill. Ferals out there degrade the otherwise pristine landscape, and Luke’s aim is astute - there’s no sloppiness.

Life at Speargrass is land tied and wholly real - there is no dipping into cyber space out there. Their kids are raised on knowledge of the land. They know the tracks, and who and what made them; they know all the creatures they share this landscape with - intimately, which nests belong to who and when they are occupied (and not), just what parts of the river to swim in and what parts the 'salties' live in, which snakes are deadly and which snakes can be picked up, and which mother curlew to return a lost baby to in the dark of night.

Their oasis home is our respite. There is no danger out there of our kids tripping up in some ugly screen violence or the latest update on screen porn - there’s no gaming addiction or graphic descriptions about it... For us, Speargrass timelessly stands as another reminder that raising children without screen overuse and violence is doable, despite our contemporary circumstance.

Luke and Laura welcome people interested in sharing this life with them both temporarily and/or long term. To learn more, contact Look out for the annual Speargrass Festival hosted each dry. This year: Thursday 21st June - Monday 25th June 2018.

The spellbinding country surrounding Speargrass

Play in the Wild

I happened across Play in the Wild on one of my numerous journeys into cyber space looking to connect with families or groups who matched our value set: gaming free Earth stewards who screened normalised violence - where were they? There had to be someone somewhere... and there was: Play in the Wild, ...albeit in the States. I immediately loved this program. It was everything I was looking for. It unplugged kids of all ages and connected them to nature. It fed them organic food, and as an additional, surprising bonus, it equipped them with a Non Violent Communication (NVC) tool kit to get through life on. This was everything I had ever wanted, and I just wanted to pack up my family and move them there that very minute. Sadly, it wasn’t a community, but a program, and it was a long way away.

It has, however, like Uplift and Speargrass, shaped my path to here. Though there is no Play in the Wild in Australia, courses exist to train as a Play in the Wild facilitator - something very much on my 2018 agenda. In the meantime, our Tassie fields and Indonesian gardens are places we would like situate the principles of Play in the Wild in and offer to those interested. If this touches your soul in the same way it touched mine, please, please be in touch!

Our Tassie fields

The Joyality Program

Joyality pushed me over the edge. It came to me via a school teacher who was feeling disillusioned with the screen dependence dominating contemporary popular culture among teens. Australian grown, the program is designed to skill youth up with all the strategies and tools they need to become change makers in a world full of uncertainties. It adds a new story, The Great Turning, to the Business as Usual and The Great Unravelling stories. This story is the story of shift to a life sustaining way of Being on Earth. Though I was way over 25, I knew that more than ever I wanted to be part of this shift, and to my surprise, I was not alone age wise - there was more than one over 25 on board wanting change for their under 25s. It was here, within the embrace of community of women who will forever stay in my heart, that the idea of violence free Earthy cyber safe zones seeded and blossomed. Although still in its embryo stages EarthyNest: Barefoot and Wild begun to unfold.

The Joyality Program for me was transformational and life changing. Like Play in the Wild, it offers facilitator training courses. Something else on my list of things to do this year.

Ivan Andrade

Ivan Andrade came into our lives as a wwoofer. He came equipped with a number of skills including the capacity to build websites. I’m deeply indebted to Ivan for both his technical and artistic support. It was Ivan who encouraged me to find an umbrella name for the projects I had in mind and the network I wanted to form. In essence, Ivan midwifed EarthyNest: Barefoot and Wild.

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