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

Following Nature's Path Towards Authentic Leadership

Course dates: 
Monday, 10 September, 2018 to Friday, 14 September, 2018
Dartington Hall Garden Steps

In our disconnected society we can struggle to connect with authentic leadership. Yet there is an elegant and simple map, based on the wisdom of nature and cultures that are strongly connected to nature. This course will help you restore these lost connections, bring all your gifts alive and become part of a global community of creative and engaged change-makers.

At a glance

  • 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.


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 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.

This course 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 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 of principles and practical tools 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.

What will participants 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 language and wildlife tracking 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-connectiong 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.

Therefore during the course we 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.


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, ecotourism consultancy and wildlife guide training and was until recently managing director of the Newbold Trust ( a retreat and education centre for sustainable living and wellbeing, affiliated to the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. 

She is currently the UK Coordinator for 8 Shields, and the 8 Shields Village Builders online programme. She also offers freelance consultancy, 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. 

£ 795.00
Course fees include four nights private accommodation from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure as well as all vegetarian meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday to Friday afternoon.