Bushcraft novel for kids

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Stan Ma­ley To share your Ger­ald­ton gar­den with read­ers, call Stan Ma­ley on 0428 230 029.

We met up with Alan Green­wood from the Fitzger­ald Street Homeswest com­plex a while ago and he spoke about his love of plants.

He hinted at the time that he was work­ing on pub­lish­ing (with the help of oth­ers) a kid’s book on bushcraft.

We met again out the back of his unit among his plants and he showed me some of his paint­ings. While he re­laxed in his wheel­chair, he out­lined the con­tent so far of his work.

“My book is for five to 10-year-olds, ju­nior bushcraft and bushcraft for life, not for sur­vival,” Alan said.

“It’s done in such a way that schools can take it and teach it to their class. They can go out into the play­ground, no need to dig a hole. What I am show­ing in the book can be done on the top of a build­ing, in your kitchen, or any­where.

“All the way through it em­pha­sises LOST. If you are lost — look, ob­serve, stop and think. If you do that be­fore you start, you won’t get lost.”

“That’s the bushcraft part of it?” I asked.

“Yep,” he replied. “It’s done in the book with two bil­bies as guides, Bilby and Jillby.”

Bil­bies, or rab­bit­bandi­coots, are de­sert­d­welling mar­su­pial om­ni­vores.

“There is some bush tucker in there, shows you how to get honey from flow­ers off na­tive trees and shrubs, not out of the gar­den,” Alan said. “Aus­tralian bush flow­ers are so minu­tiae you can’t go and suck out the pollen. What you do is swirl it around un­der wa­ter, the pollen rises and you scoop it off.

“It also goes into how you can safely tell cer­tain in­sects and am­phib­ians. It’s quite com­pre­hen­sive, but only a con­densed ver­sion of the book I have started for adults.”

Alan ex­plained the book is ba­si­cally teach­ing the kids how to use their nog­gin.

He is a self-taught pain­ter and has been do­ing it from his wheel­chair for the last four years, start­ing with the ba­sics and learn­ing tech­niques as he went along.

His paint­ings are dis­played in the Range­way Phar­macy, Com­mu­nity Health Cen­tre at the hos­pi­tal, Batavia Health and as far away as Syd­ney.

The story of the tragic events that put Alan where he is and ended his promis­ing ca­reer in the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties was re-vis­ited.

He said he was at­tacked and stabbed eight times in the back and shoul­der and his throat was cut with a dirty fish­ing knife.

All the ten­dons in his arm were cut and the paint­ing he does now is a way of teach­ing him­self to use his arm again.

But his health is steadily de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and his eye­sight is go­ing be­cause of the deep in­fec­tion he re­ceived from the dirty fish­ing knife.

He has been in the wheel­chair for 10 years.

Pic­ture: Stan Ma­ley

Self-taught pain­ter Alan Green­wood with one of his paint­ings.

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