Skomer: the island
Skomer in material terms is a tiny offshore island
situated at the extreme south western edge of Wales.
The island is essesentially a cliff-girt plateau about 200 ft above
the sea, which was first occupied by a small group of
prehistoric Celtic farmers. These pioneering families have
left their mark to this day in a network of field walls, tracks,
cairns and the bases of round houses that are now
scarcely visible in a wilderness of bracken. The first version of
this web site was created as a tribute to these people living on
the edge of a world and was launched in 1999 on the occasion
of the fortieth anniversary of the island being being declared a
national nature reserve.
Skomer Island quickly enters the imagination as a
good place to be. It reminds us more than 'environment' that
'place' exists only after people have imagined it,either through
personal contact or by assimilating other people's
experiences. These special imaginative structures of the
Earth like Skomer foster a sense of belonging and unify land with
its past and present peoples in powerful ways. They are
places of wonderment and the essence of conservation because they
enable us to come to value the biophysical elements of
scenery as visual triggers to relive the past use of land as
a real or imagined spiritual experience.
Islands occupy a special place in our mythologies,
often as the scene of mysterious or extraordinary
occurrences. Being cut off from the rest of the world,
they are often depicted as sanctuaries where human contact
can be fled and danger escaped, or as places of seclusion,
where atonement or redemption may be sought.
This is why they are
dreamy places of self-education.
Through the imaginative transformation of 'space'
to 'environment' and 'environment' to 'place' we enter the
educational realm of 'cultural ecology'. This is an
interdisciplinary, social concept, which contrasts the old
sustainable relations of people to the land with, the present-day
worldwide scramble for scarce natural resources and the global
environmental damage of unsustainable mass production. These
days, everyone has their own mind map of cultural ecology, whereby
sustainability knowledge is organised to manage the environment
responsibly. These personal S.K.O.M.E.R projects chart the
behavioural changes in the way the flows of materials and ideas
between people, ecology and place are managed for continuity
These life projects define an individual's place
in society as the interactions between:
'goods': a human
resource, managed scientifically for food, protection,
wealth, recreation and knowledge;
biophysical ecosystem consisting of habitats
personal spiritual experiences communicated in words, music
This new version of S.K.O.M.E.R. to celebrate the
island's fiftyfith anniversary, in 2014. It will present the
wider lessons of the SKOMER's ecology as a conservation
management system alongside S.K.O.M.E.R. as a cross-
subject educational framework in cultural
It is part of the COSMOS project , which is web
educational resource dedicated to learning about cultures of
sustainability by making multi-subject organised
The unifying concept is 'environmental
management', which encompasses environmental knowledge in the
following mind map. The mind map links goods,
nature and notions through the operation of the basic human
cultural systems of 'food', 'shelter', 'possessions', 'roots'
Many of the hyperlinks from the left hand menu are to pdf documents.
It is essential to have a pdf reader to open these.