Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Following Nature's Path Towards Authentic Leadership

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Following Nature's Path Towards Authentic Leadership

Dartington Hall Garden Steps
Key Info: 
  • Be inspired - by two incredible storytellers from very different backgrounds and discover how your creativity can support a more positive future.
  • Be supported - develop your own nature-connection practices and join a global community of creative, collaborative change-makers.
  • Become your best self - learn powerful techniques to access your creative gifts and talent for authentic leadership.
  • Earth Talk ticket included

With Mac Macartney, Jon Young (via videolink) Dr Deborah Benham and Saci Lloyd

£ 795.00
Course fees includes a four-night stay in private accommodation with shared bathroom and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure.
Fee also includes field trips plus your materials and teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon. If you would like to take this course as a non-residential participant, please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 1803 847237.
There are 2 spaces remaining

This course draws on the wisdom of some of the most inspirational figures in leadership and community building. It acknowledges that we are all creative beings with unique gifts and qualities that are needed by our communities.

Neurological research shows that when we are deeply in a relationship with other people, the natural world and our inner dimensions, we flourish in a multitude of ways. Our path to a meaningful and joyful life is to seek out and express our gifts, and to help others to do the same.

That path may be challenging; we may be plagued by self-doubt or fear, which keeps us small. However, we can learn to connect to our potential and become empowered co-creators of a positive future.

In this course you will be offered an elegant yet simple map by which you can restore lost connections. These have been used by thousands of people to create deeply nature-connected and creative individuals, organisations and communities around the world.

Mac Macartney was mentored for over 20 years by Native American spiritual teachers, including the Lakota. It is their wisdom, resilience and understanding of the natural world that prompted him to research the ancient indigenous storyline of the British Isles, and rediscover pathways that may bring us back into relationship with our human and more-than-human family.

In this course Mac will help participants explore how we can develop resilience, access our gifts, find courage, and support one another in the times ahead.

Jon Young has spent over 30 years learning and sharing the wisdom of indigenous people such as the San Bushmen of the Kalahari and Haudenosaunee/6 Nations people of North America. They understand that we are hardwired for connection. And yet many of the symptoms of our struggling society are caused by deep disconnections and disruption in the ecological, social-economic and spiritual-cultural realms.

Now Jon, who joins us via video link, shares that knowledge and shows us how to reconnect, and to empower ourselves and each other as change-makers and authentic leaders at the time of global challenge.

What will you gain from taking part in this course?

  • Starting with core routines of deep nature connection, we will reclaim our sense of inter-being and belonging within the natural world.
  • We will learn how to bring our senses alive in nature as one of the most effective and nourishing ways to connect with a sense of the sacred, a ‘quiet’ mind and with our inspiration.
  • We will explore bird behaviour and holistic tracking methods as routes into a deeper awareness of the living ecology to which we belong.
  • From this place of increased awareness we will support our connection to the universal flow of creativity, our ability to discern and lean into whispers of the future is heightened, and we are empowered to co-create with each other.
  • There will be guided time in nature plus opportunities for solo time, providing space for reflection and integration.
  • You will be supported to develop a personal nature connection practice, which will assist you in building connection ‘muscles’ and exploring your gifts.

The journey starts with re-connecting ourselves as an integral part of the natural world, however, it can only go so far unless we also have a supportive human community around us.

During the course you will also:

  • Experience and learn first-hand how to create these communities, through introducing universal cultural elements which support a sense of belonging, meaning and value.
  • Share success stories from our global community and provide support on how to plug into nature connection and cultural mentoring groups and networks, to ensure you have an ongoing community of practice.
  • Join us to explore the gifts of connection, to bring alive your most authentic self and to become part of a global community of change-makers.

After the course:

  • Jon Young will be offering the opportunity of a group call follow-up for participants who would like an online bird language or core routines of nature connection set of materials to support ongoing learning and integration.
There are 2 spaces remaining
With Mac Macartney, Jon Young (via videolink) Dr Deborah Benham and Saci Lloyd
Mac Macartney

Mac Macartney

Mac Macartney is an international speaker, writer and change-maker. He is also the founder of Embercombe, the centre for leadership and learning with a mission to catalyse the emergence of leaders and change-makers for a just, peaceful and sustainable future.

Over a period of twenty years Mac was mentored by a group of indigenous elders. During this training and ever since, he has attempted to bring two worlds together – an ancient world-view that emphasises relationship, interdependence, and reverence for life with the significant challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century.

Mac works with leaders across all walks of life – from business to education – inspiring them to put up their hand and join the chorus of people who are singing alive the world of our longing.  He was a faculty member of the WWF/IMD Business School ‘One Planet Leaders’ programme in Lausanne for three years and received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Plymouth University for his work in service to community.

In 2016 Mac co-founded Liquid School, a network of experts helping organisations imagine a sustainable future. He sits on the Advisory Board for DanoneWave, the largest Public Benefit Corporation in the U.S. and is an Associate with Leaders’ Quest, collaborating on global issues with leaders across business, government and civil society.

Jon Young

Jon Young has been a leader in the field of education and deep connection with nature, Permaculture, community building and cultural mentoring for more than 30 years.  His skills have greatly enhanced the understanding and enormous benefits of connecting people with the natural world. Throughout his work as a mentor, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, village builder, consultant, inspiring public speaker and storyteller he has travelled the world and appeared in numerous documentaries.

He has authored and co-authored several seminal works including: What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (2013), and Coyote's Guide to Connecting to Nature (2007). As founder of the 8 Shields Institute (, Jon Young has established best-practices for cultural modelling and nature connection mentoring and works with a global network of contributors. He is dedicated to supporting every person in the world to have access to nature connection and a healthy community in which to thrive, for the benefit of current and future generations.

Dr Deborah Benham

Dr Deborah Benham

Deborah began her nature connection journey through academic studies (MSc & PhD) and management and consultancy roles in wildlife biology, marine conservation, ecotourism, environmental education. After 15 years working in this field she discovered 8 Shields, Gaia Education and the communities movement, which led to a broader interest in deep nature connection, regenerative culture, design for sustainability and community building.

She founded and ran Wild at Heart, providing nature connection programmes and wildlife guide training and was managing director of the Newbold Trust ( a sustainable living centre affiliated with the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. She now works for Transition Network based in Totnes, is a Trustee for 8 Shields in the UK and coordinates the 8 Shields Institute's Village Builders' online leadership programme. She also offers training, mentoring and workshop facilitation in nature connection, culture repair, PeaceAbility, sustainable communities and youth empowerment. She loves collaborating with global change-makers in programmes and projects which support regenerative communities and healthy ecosystems.

Saci Lloyd

Saci Lloyd is the author of the critically acclaimed Carbon Diaries teen-fiction series and The Guardian short-listed thrillers Momentum and Quantum Drop.
Before becoming an internationally-acclaimed author and activist, Saci Lloyd held down a variety of creative jobs, including being a storyboard artist, a cartoonist, touring the States in a band, running an interactive media team at an advertising agency, co-founding a film company and finally winding up as head of media at NewVic Sixth form College. She has now stepped down from that post but continues her association with the college.  Her first novels, The Carbon Diaries series came out September 2010 to critical acclaim (including being short-listed for the Costa Book Award) and have been optioned by Company Pictures.  They have been translated into fifteen languages.

Saci was born in Manchester but raised in Anglesey where she spent a lot of time lost in nature or down by the shore. Saci now lives in London near Epping Forest, and is daily inspired by nature and wildlife, even in urban areas, as a route to creativity, wonder and magic. Over the course of the last ten years Saci has toured extensively both nationally and internationally using the themes in her books as a springboard onto larger discussions about creativity and how to become an active citizen. She addresses thought-provoking topics, such as the economy, carbon emissions, climate change and the politics affecting young people today. 

If you would like to book onto one of our short courses, you will need to create an account. This is a simple process of choosing a username, email address and password. Once you have created an account you will receive a verification email. Please click on the verification link within to have full access to the site and to make your booking. (You may need to  check your spam folder if you do not see this email.)  We will email you confirmation of your payment and any further communication about your course application.

Residential accommodation for "Changing the Frame"  is at Higher Close, a 20 minute walk from Schumacher College. All meals will be provided at the college.

A place can not be guaranteed unless we receive your deposit or payment on your chosen course. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please do this before making your course application.

Short Course Bursaries create an opportunity for an individual to experience the powerful transformative learning by joining a course that assists the participant to inspire their wider community and benefits from the participant’s own unique contribution. It is our hope that our bursaries support a wide cross section of participation on our short course programme. The number of bursaries available is limited, competition is strong and funding is not always available for every short course. Please be aware that most bursaries are in the region of 10% – 20% of the course fee so please be prepared to raise funding from other sources.  A bursary award is not intended to cover travel or incidental expenses.

Applications are viewed on a case-by-case basis and we are unable to enter into discussions on any decisions. We generally have many more applications for bursaries than we have funding available. We can only offer one bursary per person per year and priority is given to those who have not attended the college or received a bursary before. To help us support as many people as possible, please only apply if you would be unable to attend the course without a bursary.

How to apply for a bursary

NB: Please do not pay your deposit for the course yet. Any applications received where a deposit has been paid will be rejected and the deposit refunded.

Six weeks before the course is due to start all bursary applications will be considered and responded to.  If successful you will be required to accept our Bursary Terms and Conditions.

Please answer the following:

  1. What does a bursary mean to you?
  2. How will your attendance on this course benefit the wider community?
  3. If your financial situation justifies you applying for a bursary, how much are you able to contribute towards attending this course?

Please be prepared to supply an appropriate reference in support of your application.

More about our growing areas and philosophy

We follow ecological cycles as much as possible. Much of the food is grown in the five and half acre agroforestry field – in a system of alley cropping and in the developing forest garden. The field also has fruit trees and bushes; young nut trees; a flock of pasture fed poultry; two wild life ponds, a craft and pollinator garden and a hazel and willow coppice.

Other areas include two herb gardens; four polytunnels; a perennial no dig vegetable garden and several fruit areas. We compost our garden and kitchen waste for use on site, and use green manures for fertility building.

Our students find their time engaging with food growing, and all it entails, a truly transformative time.   Our gardens are as much about nurturing people as plants, and hundreds of students have found the contact with the land and soil to be a rich learning journey.

Integral to the College’s international learning community, you will get to know students, staff and volunteers through daily meetings and shared activities. There is also a diverse programme of events and evening talks, offered by college residents, visiting teachers and local experts.

Help & Enquiries

 Admission Enquiries
email us  
+ 44 (0) 1803 847212