Instinctively Wild
Team building games

About us

Instinctively Wild began life in 2008 as Borders Environmental Education Services (BEES). We have grown considerably since then and now deliver projects in outdoor learning, health and team-building and for a wide range of clients, including the NHS, local authorities and third-sector organisations such as the Life Changes Trust. We also run corporate training events for the private and public sector.

Instinctively Wild is supported by a group of committed directors and dedicated volunteers. Our Volunteer Development Programme is a core element of our ethos and we provide training for Forest School Levels 1, 2 and 3, as well as outdoor first aid and mental health first aid. Instinctively Wild was shortlisted for the ‘Employer of the Year’ category in the Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards 2014. In the later part of 2015, Instinctively Wild became a Community Interest Company, run by one existing and three new Directors. See below to read their journeys.

Pete Carthy, Founding Director

PetePete Carthy grew up in the countryside near Blackpool and describes himself as “the champion tree-climber in the local area”. He worked for many years as a primary school teacher, eventually realising that a CPD training course in Forest Schools meant that he could combine his teaching skills with his love of nature and the outdoors.

While still teaching at Niddrie Mill Primary School, he began running Forest School and eco-schools projects. He also set up a link with Ukuruni Primary School in Kenya, focusing on curriculum development and skills around gardening, growing food, and the use of energy.

Eventually, he decided that to realise the projects he was passionate about, he would need to set up an environmental charity. With grant support from Scotland UnLtd, Borders Environmental Education Services (BEES) became reality in 2008. Since then it has changed name and more recently changed legal structure. “We are evolving all the time,” says Pete.

Pete is inspired by the work and words of John Muir, especially:

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

In addition to qualifications in Bushcraft and Forest Schools, he has a BSc in Geology from Sheffield University and a PGCE from Bradford College.

Graeme Drever, Director

Graeme was brought up in the Scottish Borders and has always enjoyed “The Great Outdoors”. He was a Patrol Leader in the Scouts, enjoys fishing and took part in The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Graeme visits Australia/New Zealand every year, where outdoor activities and extreme sports are a way of life and recently did the tree top challenge in Australia.

While doing a degree in computing studies Graeme realised that his main interest was in people and volunteered for Instinctively Wild in 2013. He is now a Level 3 Forest School leader.

Graeme is enjoying the diversity of work as a Director, Project Leader and Volunteer Coordinator. “Working together in natural surroundings makes social interactions much easier and its great to see people get a sense of achievement and a real positive experience.

“Nature has a way of leveling the playing field so no matter what social background you come from, everyone is on the same level.”

Graeme recommends that people volunteer for Instinctively Wild as it has greatly expanded his horizons.

Daru McAleese, Director

Daru - Publicity Shot3

Daru joined Instinctively Wild in 2010 when seeking a way to share his knowledge about nature and, in so doing, “hopefully helping to play my own small part in turning the tide of our collective disconnect from nature.”

“I heard about Forest Schools… and wondered if this would be a good approach for me to follow”. However, until seeing an advertisement for Instinctively Wild, Daru did not know how to go about funding Forest School training.

Through the BEES – Volunteer Development Programme, Daru received the full complement of training which included Forest School Level 2  and 3. Daru has used this training on projects varying from children’s activity weeks to eco-therapy with New Horizons and the NHS.

For Daru, “There is no way that I could be doing the work I am doing now without having completed the Forest School Level 2 and 3 training.”

Off-project, Daru has become an integral part of Instinctively Wild. In 2011 Daru successfully applied for a Vodafone World of Difference Grant which he used to conduct research used to secure future funds. Daru was also Instinctively Wild’s Volunteer Coordinator from 2013 to 2015.

“There are so many moments of meaning for me: promoting outdoor learning, helping develop autonomous individuals, offering positive experiences to communities… I feel I cannot describe or grasp them all.” Daru is a fully trained Level 3 Forest School Leader, visual artist and professional storyteller. He is registered with the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Professional Directory of storytellers, and performs across the UK in many settings for children, families, young people and adults. He also has almost 20 years’ experience in most areas of social care, including autism, learning disabilities, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction issues, young people and homelessness.

Latest News and Projects:

NEW East Lothian summer activity week 2019 – now booking!

Our ever-popular East Lothian EcoKidz summer programme returns for an ninth year. For 8- to 14-year-olds.

Summer volunteering

It's a busy time for us! We are currently recruiting Volunteer Assistant Forest Schools Leaders. Would you like to join us?

Community Interest Company (CIC) Company Registration no. 514321 Registered in Scotland