Learn how to call for owls, walk like a fox and expand your sensory perceptions. Wild Nights Out is a wonderful new hands-on guide for those who wish to take kids (of all ages) outdoors for fun, thrilling nighttime nature adventures.
Parents, grandparents, teachers and nature educators alike will discover a wealth of unique activities to explore the natural world from dusk till dawn. Alongside games, walks and exercises to expand our senses, storyteller and outdoor educator Chris Salisbury will bring this unexplored nocturnal dimension to life with lore about badgers, bats and minibeasts as well as tales of the constellations and planets to share around the campfire.
In Wild Nights Out you can expect to find:
- 25 fun and informative games and activities
- Practical information on how to conduct night walks safely
- Animal facts and stargazing stories
- Beautiful black-and-white illustrations throughout
Nature has so much to offer at night, so let Wild Nights Out be your guide to the dark. It will boost the resilience and self-confidence of children and adults, and instill a lifelong love of having fun in the outdoors when the sun goes down.
Chris Salisbury founded WildWise in 1999 after many years of working as an education officer for Devon Wildlife Trust. With a background in the theatre, training in therapy and a career in environmental education, he uses every creative means at his disposal to encourage people to enjoy and value the natural world.
Chris directs the acclaimed Call of the Wild Foundation programme for educators-in-training as well as Where the Wild Things Are, a rewilding adventure based at Embercombe in Devon. He is also a professional storyteller (aka ‘Spindle Wayfarer’) and is the co-founder and artistic director for the Westcountry and Oxford Storytelling Festivals.
Chris lives in the enchantment of the Dart Valley, Devon, UK with his lovely wife, two pesky children, and an astonishing dog called Dexter.
"The book gives adults ideas for activities to get kids outside after the sun goes down, from night hikes to trapping moths. It's also a fascinating meditation on humans' relationship with darkness."
"A fun, inventive adventure guide about helping children explore nature after dark [...] Its activities are a great excuse to turn off the television, set down smartphones, and explore the rich, mysterious world just beyond the back door."
– Foreword Reviews
"So inspiring! Reading Wild Nights Out is like being given an invitation to a whole new dimension of life. Exploring and nature spotting don't need to stop when the sun goes down. For grown-ups, children, and anyone in between, this book offers guidance, ideas, challenges to try and games to play in the dusk and dark. But, more than anything else, it encourages us to cross a threshold into a new world and go on a nocturnal ramble to look and listen for where the wild things are."
– Simon Reeve, author and broadcaster
"If you are a creature intrigued about the dimpsy hours and its goings-on, this is the perfect companion for your adventures. As the planet spins us away from the sun, a world less explored is to be found – a time of new creatures, celestial bodies, new sights, sounds and smells. This book gently holds your hand and guides you into the mysterious folds of the darkness, helping you get the most out of the night. Nocturnal empowerment for the curious."
– Nick Baker, naturalist, TV presenter and author
"'If you once wished the days to never end, with Chris's glorious and concise re-enchantment of the night, you too will soon become a nocturnal convert, willing your children to stay up and out as late as possible. Wild Nights Out isn't so much about conquering the fear of the dark but redeeming this realm through ancient and intrepid means of befriending it, inspiring wonderful ways to play beyond the reach of electricity's falsifying security."
– Sam Lee, folk singer, Radio 4 presenter, and Mercury Prize–nominated artist
"Chris Salisbury knows of what he speaks. This storyteller has been thoroughly drubbed in nature's mood swings and come up the wiser for it. Wild Nights Out is an inventive mapping of that accumulated knowledge. Long before it was even vaguely fashionable, Chris was walking the roads of wildness and story, and this book is a lovely testament to his devotion. Both pragmatic and poetic, Wild Nights Out will be a worthy companion for anyone who yearns for a fresh and unexpected relationship to the living world. There are big, powerful energies out there in the dark, and a few have slipped into this book, chewing on its edges."
– Dr Martin Shaw, author of Smoke Hole and Courting the Wild Twin
"A fantastic mix of usefulness and imagination, of practical experience and love for the living world."
– Jay Griffiths, author of Kith and Wild: An Elemental Journey
"Wild Nights Out is the night's song, seducing us like a siren on a rock, beckoning us to dive deep into an enchanted world. Chris Salisbury has collated a hundred reasons to step over this threshold and explore, perhaps for the first time, the wonder of the wild night. Stars, stories, songs and games come out of his wizard's hat to reacquaint us with the mysteries of nocturnal nature. As an educator and parent, I'm so glad this book has been offered to a world hungry for meaning and connection."
– Charlotte Church, singer and broadcaster; founder, Awen Project
"Wild Nights Out is a masterful guide for night walks. Chock-full of engaging games and fascinating information, this book makes leading night-time excursions a joy. Chris Salisbury has created a magnificent and comprehensive resource for anyone who loves the night."
– Joseph Bharat Cornell, author of Sharing Nature, Deep Nature Play, and Flow Learning
"Chris Salisbury is a consummate guide to the night and its chrysalis-like capacity to convert us from sailors of safe harbors to celebrants of uncharted seas – wanderers amidst nocturnal creatures (like owls, bats, and badgers) or the existential conundrums that the night sky elicits (like Why are we here?). Chris doesn't resolve the frights and riddles of the dark, but deftly draws us in, supporting us to make our own dazzling discoveries and to be shape-shifted by our night-walk odysseys. Wild Nights Out: don't go into the dark without it."
– Bill Plotkin, PhD, author of Soulcraft and The Journey of Soul Initiation
"This book has been a long time coming in the nature education field, and finally Chris Salisbury has put down in words something that should be in every nature/environmental educator's pocket and on their shelf of well-thumbed pages. Wild Nights Out is neatly book ended with the question why is it dark? and takes the practitioner on a journey exploring this and many other questions about the shady side of the planet. It is not just Chris's inimitable poetry that make this such a great read, it is the enticing experiences and journeys into the night that Chris takes us on that we can easily replicate, adapt and conduct with our groups of learners which will help relate to and answer those questions of the night. This book is packed full of activities for immersing learners in the world of dusk to dawn that can be adapted for any age and gives the all-important health and safety tips to help people feel comfortable and yet still feel the nervous anticipation, excitement and beauty of the darkened hours. There are poems and stories, ways to use stories around the campfire, lots of natural history and 'tuning in' activities and titbits, journeys into different habitats – from the river to the seashore, and of course ways of magically interacting with the night sky. We miss out on this most important aspect of nature learning in a big way in our industrially lit world. This book will help the educator – and the learners they guide – fill in the gaps of our experiences, revelling in what is a magical kingdom, helping us see the night as a constant companion and explore those deeper questions about what it means to live on this beautiful planet and its 'dark side'. It is a must for all nature educators around the planet."
– Jon Cree, founding chair, Forest School Association; coauthor of The Essential Guide to Forest School and Nature Pedagogy; veteran educator and nature connection trainer
"In his wonderful book, Wild Nights Out, Chris Salisbury reminds us of so many things forgotten. The night is truly fully half of our lives. Yet today we live as if we only experience the day. Through his wonderful stories, lore, science and accessible activities, Chris helps us remember that we are, as humans, at least half darkness. Through the journey of Wild Nights Out, we are remembering the part of us that has been hidden in recent times, and it's like meeting a long-lost relative that we truly love."
– Jon Young, author of Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature and What the Robin Knows
"Chris Salisbury is without doubt one of the world's foremost outdoor ecological educators, as I have seen myself over and over again at Schumacher College. In this marvellously well-written book, Chris shares his decades of wisdom and experience about how to bring children into the presence of the night as a living being, with her sounds, sights, smells, depths and imaginings. Even if you don't use this book with children specifically in mind, like me, you'll be enchanted from start to finish by its capacity to introduce you and people of all ages to the wonders of the night. You'll feel a powerful urge to go out into the night yourself with Chris and his book as guides to wake up your forgotten child's vivid perceptions of nature. Obey that urge and discover Gaia. Chris's book is a masterpiece – an important landmark in the growing literature on ecological education."
– Dr Stephan Harding, Deep Ecology Research Fellow, senior lecturer in Holistic Science, Schumacher College, Dartington, UK
"Chris Salisbury piques curiosity in such a way that brings people beyond knowledge and information, and into meaningful and real connection and relationship. As a storyteller and educator, his ability to weave together natural history, science, story, poetry, and myth in a graceful and compelling way is evident among these pages. I see it as critical to provide educators, and people in general, not just with good information, natural history, and science, but also with brilliant strategies for bringing people along for the ride in a way that is fun, creative, and artistic. Advocates for the human right to deeply connect to place could well use a guide that helps us find narratives that weave together in a soulful approach to the lifelong journey of falling in love with the earth. Wild Nights Out helps us do that."
– Marcus Reynerson, adult immersion program manager and lead instructor, Wilderness Awareness School
"I cannot think of a better all-round book to enchant your family's evening walk or an enthralling night-time adventure with groups of children or adults. It offers a wealth of nature-connecting ideas, stories and games. All convey Chris Salisbury's deep involvement with the creation of fabulous darkness experiences in the outdoors. The book belongs in every family home and library. Buy it."
– Dr Alida Gersie, author of Earthtales and Storytelling for a Greener World
"Like the storyteller he is, Chris leads us by enchantment into the beauty and depth of the dark. He entices us into its warm embrace – to remember, to listen, to feel part of something unseen once again. His book is rich in poetry and fact, as practical as it is, a conjuring of our interest in something so hidden, we may have forgotten it ever existed. He takes us by the hand and leaves traces for us to follow – each in our own way, an adventure that calls every time we close our eyes. And he does us a great service, reminding us that just a little way down the path, there is so much more to life inside us and all around us to meet if only our fear will allow."
– Ya'Acov Darling Khan, author of Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart and Shaman: Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose at the Core of Who You Are
"This book is an invitation to step out of the everyday world and into the darkness, and to find the night wonderful: wild and rich and beautiful. Chris takes us on a journey through landscapes and starscapes and species, experiencing the nocturnal world through all our senses. He offers ways to absorb, understand and use those experiences to leave us inspired, finding new strength and joy to change how we live in this world for the better."
– Gordon MacLellan, author and environmental trainer
"A delightful, mysterious, compelling work born of Chris Salisbury's lifetime love of nature. This wonderful book is like the night itself, daring us to step outside and, wrapped in shadows, become alive to that we can only ever fleetingly behold."
– Mac Macartney, author, speaker, change-maker
"Wild Nights Out is an intoxicating cocktail of outdoor activities and inspirations, and one that every environmental educator has been longing for, even if he or she hadn't realised that before reading it. Here is the realm of night, unwrapped for us by Salisbury like rich jewels on black velvet. Informative, resourceful, packed with wisdom and wit, this is a book for all ages and all times – a book that connects us with the wild natural world that awaits, as raw and relevant today as it was to our ancestors generations ago."
– Prof Clayton MacKenzie, provost and interim president, Hong Kong Baptist University
"This book is so timely as we continue to rediscover the well-being benefits of reconnecting with the natural world. It will be a great source of inspiration and practical direction for anyone interested in helping to bring to life the nocturnal nature that is close at hand for people of all ages. I strongly recommend this book written by an expert facilitator in an engaging and accessible way – it will no doubt inspire you, like it did me, to venture out after dark and appreciate afresh the wonderful world in which we live."
– Paul Warwick, associate professor, Sustainable Education and Civic Futures, University of Plymouth, UK