Living with nature

Doniga Markegard has grown up close to the land and believes nature has a lot to teach those who listen. Her book, “Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild,” gives readers a peek into the world around them. Review file photo

As a student of a wilderness immersion school where indigenous elders and wildlife trackers were among her teachers, Doniga Markegard grew up learning from nature.

As she matured, she spent years learning the language of birds, survival skills and wildlife tracking. She then fell in love and settled in on a cattle ranch to raise her young family. Her personal journey as well as nuggets of wisdom gleaned along the way is the focal point of her new book, “Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild.”

Intended for those looking at forging a new path through the traditional education system, “Dawn Again” explores how children can be raised to care for the earth and have an intimate connection with nature.

“Basically, it’s just really looking at how we are raising our children to care for the earth and have an intimate connection with nature,” she said. “As well as facilitating experiences for them to discover things in their own way with nature as the guiding teacher.

This looks like a lot of time getting to know all the different species, spending a lot of time outdoors and doing things like climbing trees and discovering a bird’s nest and journaling about it and designing a whole curriculum around this,” she continued. “It’s also about bringing them through challenging experiences such as wilderness survival, building a debris hut, and learning how to survive, in order to overcome self-doubt and fear.”

Markegard is the mother of four children, ages 7, 8, 10 and 15. Together, the family lives and works on the Markegard Family Grass-Fed ranch.

“We raise grass-fed beef and lamb as well as pasture-raised chickens. We design our agriculture practices to mimic nature,” said Markegard. “Our children spend a lot of their time outdoors. I question them to pay attention. There are a lot of predators, mountain lions and rattlesnakes.

“What draws my husband and our kids is that we are always outside. Living on the coastal ranch is an opportunity to be in awe of the nature around us,” she continued. “It’s a form of what we call regenerative agriculture.”

The book also offers practical wisdom for those living in the concrete jungle as well.

“Motherhood and parenting is nature’s expression of our humanness,” said Markegard. “Caring for others is a human trait that should be nurtured. Our role as parents is to facilitate these types of experiences.

“That may come from spending time outdoors and being mindful of types of food that we eat. For parents, we need to really start to look at what our kids are eating and how what they are eating may influence their well-being and their behavior and also put more importance on the simple things in life, the simple acts of surviving and feeling connected to the land.”

“Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild” is now available for preorder. Order your copy before Sept. 22 and receive access to “Tracking for Beginners,” an exclusive audio file in which Markegard offers tips on how to become more attuned to nature as well as the secrets it holds.

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