Why have we done this?
It's not often in one's life that you stumble on a good idea. When you're sure you have, it becomes obvious that it would be worthwhile to share it.
I read a book - Richard Dawkins' Ancestor's Tale - which made my head fizz. Probably because I'm both a walker and a science teacher (well versed in using kinesthetic approaches to pin down abstract ideas) the concept - a walked journey to our origins 4 billion years ago - sprung fairly naturally from the pages. I'm also a keen naturalist and so the link with nature conservation was not far behind, especially given that evolution is essentially one big biodiversity machine.
Initially it was simply very satisfying to try and bring an idea of this scale into reality. Others encouraged me and our efforts were well received. After 6 successful adult trails, I was encouraged to try and extend the concept.
As a teacher I knew how shallowly many students connect with our grand origins story. Try as I may, this would tend to translate simply as just another bunch of facts to be learnt for the exam. Some things just require, and deserve, a much longer learning incubation. Our shared origins with all life has surely got to be among the most deserving cases of all.
Accordingly, I decided to develop a schools version. This required a completely different approach and I went 4 days a week teaching in order to develop the idea. It was potentially a transferable concept (to other localities) and it became clear that to make the project sustainable, I had to obtain initial grant funding to help us establish the event.