Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Call of the Wild 2017

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Call of the Wild 2017

£ 2495.00
Price includes the cost of all core skills and development weekends, 4 professional training courses, fieldwork, mentoring, and some meals. Please contact our Short Course Administrator to discuss payment options. Tel: +44 (0)1803 865934

A year long foundation course in outdoor education leadership with WildWise in association with Schumacher College

Course leader Chris Salisbury, with guest contributors drawn from a list (subject to availability) that has included Martin Shaw, Bill Plotkin, David Abrams, Alida Gersie, Jenny Mackeown, Pat Fleming, Toni Spencer, Stefan Harding, Jon Cree, Tony Whitehead, Robin Bowman & Sebastian Kelly.

Location: Based at Schumacher College and locations on Dartmoor and the River Dart

This course is full, but please sign up for our waiting list here

We are living life in a time of tremendous global change. Many of us are sensing the shifts both without, and within us, and we feel called to act. It is clear that the current paradigms of the industrial growth model are both unsustainable and not meeting the needs of its citizens living within the system.

The formal education system is creaking under the strain of the national curriculum and our children are receiving instruction rather than a true education, within a context of reaching goals and targets that fail to address the body/mind/spirit potential within each child.

 One of the most effective ways to inspire and enrich ourselves, our communities and each other, is to find our way back to engaging wholeheartedly with the natural world.

An extraordinary syllabus is available to anyone open to spending time in nature, and our job as environmental educators is to cultivate this ‘nature connection’ in helpful and meaningful ways. Therefore, we invite you to become one of the new generation of change-makers through the Call of the Wild programme.

Call of the Wild Journey

The process of developing our capacity to be a mentor for nature connection is an adventure that’s full of potential opportunities, challenges and possibilities.

This programme will give you the skills and tools to navigate this journey and bring your leadership potential out into the world, supported by experienced professionals, a community of like-minded students and a connection with the natural world itself.

Through the programme you will become a more grounded and effective educator, be more connected with the natural world and be more connected to yourself and your aspirations.

Who is it suitable for?

The programme has been created for those on a personal and professional development path. It may be at the point of a career change or after graduating that the need for practical experience and mentoring in the field is required.

In professional terms Call of the Wild offers skills-development, mentoring, professional training and precious contact time with a variety of client-groups. 

Over the duration of the programme we expect students to pick up a broad base of skills and experience, to clarify which areas of outdoor education they have a particular interest and talent for, and which client-groups they would like to work with. This becomes the ideal platform from which to pursue a vocation in, for example, forest school, bushcraft, earth education, outdoor pursuits or the more formal environmental education sector. It will also substantially enrich the skills base for teachers and educators in formal education settings.

In more personal terms the programme aims to align you with your goals, connect you deeply with nature, and offer you tools and experiences that will translate effectively into everyday life.

The programme is geared toward teachers, educators, outdoor instructors, rangers, forest school leaders, play-workers, and in more general terms, those who are change-agents, community leaders, people in personal or professional transition and people who long for more fulfillment in their lives and a deeper impact in the world.

What happens on the programme?

This is primarily a hands-on, experiential course and is based on 6 skills-development weekends taking place between March and November from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon. Students will also be recommended to complete 5-10 days of fieldwork on WildWise’s calendar of events/courses or with a related nature-connection project. This will be to gain experience with varying client-groups, to be part of a staff team and to expand their teaching expectations.

 The programme will introduce deep ecology, earth education and the work of Joseph Cornell and Jon Young. The journey will include night walks, earth walks, naturalist study, canoe-trips, role-play, ceremony, storytelling and a medicine walk. In addition, participants can choose four courses from a selection of WildWise’s professional training programme to focus and develop their skills further.

 There will also be an opportunity to attend short courses from the inspiring programme run by Schumacher College.

NB. Attendance of these will be subject to availability and offered to students of the programme at a 10% discount from the stated course fee.

Structure of the programme

  • 6 Core Skills and Development weekends, March – November
  • 4 WildWise professional training courses
  • 5 -10 days fieldwork on WildWise camps and events, or a related project
  • 5 mentoring sessions
  • Various assignments and practices associated with developing nature connection and integrated learning
  • Online peer group

What will you learn?

As part of the Call of the Wild programme you will:

  • Learn and/or develop new skills, tools and techniques to become a more effective educator
  • Gain experience with a range of client-groups
  • Discover more of your gifts, passions and vision
  • Move yourself closer to your professional aspirations, and toward your dreams for yourself and the world
  • Receive coaching, mentoring and support
  • Adopt routines that connect you with nature and can facilitate others connection to nature
  • Be introduced to new ideas and new practices

Foundation Programme Outline

1. Core Skills and Development weekends

The weekends will focus on building your core skills and knowledge in the following areas: Nature Awareness, Campcraft, Firecraft, Shelter Building, Wild Food, Sensory Awareness, Naturalist Activity, Creative Interpretation, Storytelling, Nature Games, Woodcraft.

31 March - 3 April – Orientation

Introduction and induction to Schumacher college. Group-building. Orientation. Campcraft skills. Firecraft. Introduction to core routines. Meeting the mentors. Night walk. Assignments and practices.

19 - 22 May – Hands

Bushcraft skills – firecraft, shelter-building, cutting tools, coppicing, woodcraft, wild foods, campfire cookery. Night work. Assignments and practices.

7 - 10 July – Imagination

Creative interpretation. Nature games. Earth Education. Environmental storytelling. Animating nature. Narrative techniques. Storymaking. 
Nightpaddle. Assignments and practices


1 - 4 September – Awareness

Sensory awareness. Tracking skills. Wildlife observation. Bird language. Night activity. 
Medicine walk. Assignments and practices.

6 - 9 October – Heart

Gaia theory. Deep ecology. Active Hope. Council of All Beings.
 Overnight solo. Assignments and practices


17 - 20 November – Leadership

Leadership styles. Eco Constellations. 
Information and resources for Environmental Education. Celebration!

2. Professional Training (September-November)

Students choose 4 training courses from the 2017 WildWise professional training programme to develop particular areas of interest.

3. Fieldwork

Students work with WildWise staff to gain experience assisting on WildWise courses and camps, choosing between a wide-range of events and client-groups. By negotiation there is an option to work with similar external organisations.  A minimum of 5 days is required. 

4. Mentoring

5 sessions of one-to-one focused enquiry to support the participant in how they reflect on the course, develop their emotional literacy, their professional and personal aspirations and clarify next steps.

And beyond…
Graduates of this programme will have the opportunity to apply to become part of the facilitation path team that helps the course leaders deliver the 2018 programme. These places are limited and are assessed on application.

Course Fees: £2495
Price includes the cost of all core skills and development weekends, 4 professional training courses, fieldwork, mentoring, and some meals.

Accommodation (included in the price) is camping in the grounds next to Schumacher College. Although there is access to a compost loo and showers, facilities are relatively basic. This way of living, including camping together in the forest and cooking over open fires, is an integral component of the course.

Teaching Venues

Teaching will occur across the following venues: The Craft Education Centre at Schumacher College, Dartington Estate Woodlands, the River Dart, and camp locations on Dartmoor. For more information about the course content please contact Joanna at WildWise.

What Past Participants Had To Say:

Thank you for everything you bring to the Call to the Wild programme. I expect you hear this a lot (you should!), but I don't think it ever hurts to hear it.  The quality and standard of your facilitation is outstanding and the team you have brought together are a reflection of the work you do/have done. I'm being constantly inspired and challenged and I'm learning a huge amount.

I cannot put into words the way my heart, my body, my soul feel having embarked on this adventure with you. C’est juste…MAGIQUE ! 

I wanted to say thank you for sharing this beautiful weekend!

It is great to know I made the right and perfect choice, sharing all this new knowledge with such inspiring people as you!

Thank you and your team once again for the life changing weekend. A very precious time.


Chris Salisbury

Chris lives on the other side of the forest with his beloved wife, daughter and dog. He has a background in the theatre, a training in therapy and an ongoing career in environmental education.  Chris uses every creative means at his disposal to encourage people to enjoy and value the natural world. He is the course carrier for the year-long ‘Call of the Wild’ Foundation at Schumacher College, where he also facilitates some of the short course programmes.  Chris founded WildWise ( in 1999 after many years working as an education officer for Devon Wildlife Trust. He is a professional storyteller (aka 'Spindle Wayfarer'), and is Artistic Director for the Westcountry Storytelling Festival ( Chris is trained as a Be the Change facilitator and offers symposiums for interested groups.

Foundation faculty: (To Be Confirmed, Subject To Availability)

Pat Fleming

Pat trained and worked extensively with Joanna Macy over 25 years and helped develop the Council of All Beings as a workshop ritual form along with John Seed and Joanna Macy in Australia. The Council of All Beings is a process to enable us explore a deeper identification with our Ecological sense of self, one which encompasses all other life forms, which can be a powerful source of inspiration and renewal, especially in working for the planet. Pat now lives on Dartmoor where she works as a writer, researcher, business advisor and also an organic grower specialising in medicinal plants.

Toni Spencer

Tony is a facilitator, forager and artist. Her work - using different experiential practices - is an invitation to dive deeper into the natural world as a way to come home to ourselves as humans and our place in the web of life. Her work also looks directly at the global issues of our times and how we as humans might transform our culture as individuals, organisations and communities to one we can be proud of. She works regularly with groups at Schumacher College, Embercome, Encounters Arts and Transition Town Totnes

Jon Cree

Jon is the Education and Training Officer for Bishops Wood Environmental Centre, International Training Coordinator for the Institute of Earth Education, Jon has worked for almost 20 years now with pupils, teachers, local education authorities and other organisations working in environmental education, and on sustainability issues

Tony Whitehead

Tony has had a lifelong interest in birds, particularly their songs, and works for the RSPB in South West England. He is also a practicing artist with an interest in site specific live art, text and performance, particularly in relation to sound and the natural environment.


Robin Bowman

Avid bird watcher, mountain walker, canoeist and wild swimmer, Robin spends extended periods of time alone in wilderness areas. A founder member of Landmatters Permaculture Community he has worked with a large variety of schools and organisations, and set up ‘Wildwood Journeys’ to run bushcraft & nature awareness courses. Robin shares his skills, knowledge and experience with passion and humour.

Stephen Harding

Stephan oversees the MSc in Holistic Science, teaching on the core models and as part of several of the short courses at the College. Stephan was born in Venezuela in 1953. He came to England at the age of six with his father and housekeeper, with whom he spoke Spanish (his mother tongue) at home. Since childhood Stephan has had a deep fascination with the natural world, and his scientific cast of mind lead him to do a degree in Zoology at the University of Durham and then a doctorate on the behavioural ecology of the muntjac deer at Oxford University.

Sebastian Kelly

Sebastian’s love of the natural world and wild places began in his childhood home of the Lake District. Formerly an education ranger with Exmoor National Park, he has worked on the staff of Schumacher College and is a current staff member of Mandorla, running rites-of-passage events for men. Sebastian was founder- director of the eco- performance company Restless Natives, and has worked as a conservation warden, walks guide writer, and freelance environmental educator.

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.

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.