Rod Sugden

Rod is a former primary school teacher who embeds literacy, maths and science activities within outdoor conservation projects. Through hands-on experiences in the natural world he supports pupils to develop their observation skills and build language capacity. Together with this he brings to life a Deep time perspective through the 14 billion year unfoldment of the Universe. Creating ‘Deep Time walks’ and Deep Time spirals provides opportunities for both measurement and creative writing. Pupils are often amazed by discovering shapes, patterns and qualities that can be found in both micro and macro contexts.

Work with

Rod Sugden

Rod has a BEd from University College London and an MSc in Transdisciplinary Studies from Middlesex University. He taught in London primary schools for 17 years and was an environmental educator for Global Generation, a London-based charity, for 3 years, delivering a number of STEAM-based programmes. He has also been trained in Storytelling and Forest School education.

In 2022, he moved from London to Aotearoa, New Zealand, with his Kiwi wife Jane, and they now live on Ruamāhanga Farm in the South Wairarapa. Together with other members of Jane’s family he has co-founded Ruamāhanga Farm Foundation, to support the wetland and riparian forest restoration on the farm and to provide education and health activities for the wider community. Rod is committed to the development of curious and reflective learners and the provision of opportunities for maths and literacy within ecological projects that help restore the natural world. In this way, he naturally brings together the three interlinked dimensions of ‘I, We and the Planet.’

He enjoys supporting children and young people to think large and see small through learning about the deep time history of the universe. Exploring the epic journey all of life has been on can provide an engaging context for teachers and students alike, motivating them to play their part in creating a positive future for the planet. For much of Rod’s life, he has practised mindfulness and meditation along with different forms of movement, including qigong, a slow form of martial art. These days, much of his spare time is spent playing the piano, gardening and taking care of plants in the Ruamāhanga Farm wetland.

Rod Sugden

we are a team of scientists and science communicators

We grew up outside, connected with the nature and believe that our kids should go outside too.

Here, at Field-based STEM, we are all working as a big team. Tap into our collective expertise.  

"Unlike scientific community programmes that are expensive and require lots of investment, field work is done by individuals and is accessible to anyone. The skills gained during field work open up a huge area for everyone undertaking it."

what we've been up to