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April Newsletter


Hearth in the Edgelands: 8 Shields Mentoring
Facilitator: Amy Downing
Location: Skype, phone or in person in north east Scotland
8 Shields rooted mentoring for personal growth, inner tracking and wholehearted living. I’m an experienced mentor with a full basket of skills and techniques that enable me to meet you where you’re at, support you to track your patterns, tend to old wounds and lean into your edges. My intention is to help you feel skilled up and empowered to live wholeheartedly. I have a deep lived understanding of the 8 Shields model and extensive experience using it in many different contexts: facilitating for individuals, couples and communities including holding a variety of staff roles at all the UK AoM camps. I am a skilled mentor, counsellor and facilitator, community builder, ritual holder and song carrier. I also specialise in peacemaking and grief work. I often use deep nature connection practices and ancestral crafts in my mentoring. I am a herbalist and forager.
When: I offer regular weekly/fortnightly sessions and residential intensives for individuals and couples, adults and children. I also can anchor you for a specific event or training.
Exchange: Sliding scale £20-£60/hr. I’m open to part-exchanges of things other than money. Shortest sessions are 1.5hrs. Free 1/2hr taster/intro session.
Find out more: – 07786 068057

Nature Mentoring with Dan Puplett
Facilitator: Dan Puplett
Location: Skype or phone
Nature Mentoring is tailored very much to your own curiosity and interests, whether you want to delve into the worlds of tracking and bird language, get to know your wild neighbours, or experience the vital aliveness that comes with expanding your felt sense of kinship with the more-than-human world. I offer relaxed and friendly mentoring that meets you where you’re at. I can help inspire you and stretch your awareness through hearing your stories, asking questions, giving you nature missions and celebrating your wild discoveries with you! I am a naturalist and tracker with a passion for connecting others to nature. I worked for Trees for Life for over 11 years and have been involved with Art of Mentoring since 2010. I’m also an instructor for the Kamana Naturalist Training Programme for Europe.
Exchange: Sessions cost £30/hour and you can book for a no-commitment free half hour trial! Discounts for block bookings.
Find out more here or contact Dan 07952 679640

The Story Catcher Project
Facilitator: David Smart Knight
Location: By Phone/Skype call at a mutually convenient time. Approximately 1.5 hours.
Recognising that a society without mentors forces each generation to repeat the lessons of their forebears, the Story Catcher Project captures and collates those real-life “ah-ha” moments of learning, bringing them alive and presenting them in a way that fosters mentoring relationships, so we each can learn from each other. Anyone who has a story (Hint – if you are alive, you will have several!!). Expect to deepen your understanding of your own story
When: Ongoing
Exchange: Participation is free. Some stories will be published in a book expected by the end of 2018
Find out more: David Smart Knight   07837413202

Mentoring & Tailored Events, with Bell Selkie
Facilitator: Bell Selkie
Location: West Wales
One to one sessions cultivating connection to nature, others and self through nature connection  practices , eco-therapy and deep imagination with qualified and experienced counsellor . Also circles of connection and medicine walks. For individuals (adults and teens)
When: Weekly two hour sessions to overnight wild camps to group happenings to medicine walks.
Exchange: Sliding scale from £20/hour
Find out more here or contact Bell Selkie 07549311832

Mentoring, with Deborah Benham, in Culture Repair & PeaceAbility
Facilitator: Deborah Benham
Location: Online/Telephone
Info: 1-2-1 mentoring for individuals wishing to learn easily applied culture repair and peacemaking practices, to support themselves and the groups they live or work with. Weaving together 8 Shields Village Building & Peacemaking, Gaia Education social and worldview dimensions, Sociocracy (shared governance & consent based decision making) combined with 12yrs experience of supporting healthy group systems.
Mentor Bio: My background in wildlife conservation, environmental education and nature connection led me to realise that to live in harmony with the Earth requires redesigning the current culture and global paradigm which is damaging so many human and non-human beings. For the last decade I’ve collected design tools which support positive culture. These allow us to create foundations of personal peace and support thriving group systems, in service to people and nature.
I’m currently Coordinator for the Village Builders programme (8S Institute), 8S in the UK and an accredited Gaia Education and Sociocracy trainer. I was Managing Director of a retreat and sustainable living centre with strong social sustainability practices (Newbold Trust) for 6 years prior to this. I also offer consultancy, training and facilitation in Culture Repair and PeaceAbility with a wonderful group of associates.
If you are interested in exploring whether this kind of mentoring is a good fit for you, please contact me to arrange a free 30 minute introductory session.
When: Flexible. Recommended: 75-90 minute sessions, twice monthly.
Exchange: £30-£70 per/hr depending on income. Part exchange/gift economy can be discussed.
Find out more: 07590 832919

Peter Cow – Personal and Acorn Leadership Mentoring
Have you been inspired by the Acorn and are interested in bringing it into your work or events? Peter has 5 years of experience running events and teams using the Acorn model, and can support you if you want to explore how it can invigorate, empower and bring more wholistic holding to your work and organisations.
Peter is a Social Permaculture teacher and a graduate of the ‘Art of Mentoring Leadership’ program in the US, and he ‘Norths’ many events each year using the Acorn model, including being Event North for last year’s Art of Mentoring Camp in Devon). He is passionate about how the Acorn can bring workplaces and events to life in a richer, more connected, more satisfying way.
Peter also offers general personal mentoring and anchoring: to anchor you around a specific project, or to bring 8 Shields practices more strongly into your life, or to help develop the 8 Attributes more deeply in yourself.
Location: Online or in Devon
Exchange: £30-£60/hour depending on income, and non-financial exchanges are also possible. Contact me for a free 30 minute exploration session.
Find out more:


The Helper’s Journey
 Salvatore Gencarelle, Jon Young and an international team
Location: East Sussex
The Helpers Journey program offers a different way to see, feel and explore your understanding of yourself and your relationship to all aspects of life and the world around you. It will take you on a profound expedition inside yourself, guiding you towards a deeper level of self-awareness to uncover the unique gifts that only you can bring to the world. It will give you techniques and exercises to help you become the person you have been longing to be. You’ll find alignment with your most creative self and the knowledge that there is hope and a world of peace and connection can be a reality. It will bring you together with other like-minded people and into a global community that is committed to a different way of living so that all life can thrive
When: Online Apr – Nov 2018, Gatherings: May 11-13, Sept 21-23, Dec 8-9 2018
Exchange: £2197
Find out more here or email,

Communication with the Land Weekends
Facilitators: Lien De Coster, in co-facilitation with Greg Sommer, Simon Hodges, Jurjen Annen and Jose Koster
Location: De Uelenspieghel, Uffelte, the Netherlands
Since time immemorial we humans have lived closely to the earth and in an intimate relationship with our natural surroundings. We knew the land throughout the seasons, were aware of the other creatures with whom we shared our space and directly depended upon it for our survival and daily needs. We used to be fully at ease with this ongoing dialogue. Today many of us have forgotten this language. Luckily there are many ways to reconnect to it or deepen it. During this series of ‘communication with the land’ weekends you will have the opportunity to feel more at home in nature, heighten your awareness and connect to your animal body. Each weekend has a different theme and is co-facilitated with an expert in the field. You can immerse yourself fully by coming to all four weekends or join for one or more separate weekends.  For anyone who wants to learn about the core routines of nature connection or deepen them.
When: April 6th-8th – seeing animals, May 18th-20th – becoming mythic, September 21st-23rd – becoming invisible, November 23rd-25th – singing with the land
Exchange: 250 euro per weekend plus accommodation (tbc)
Find out more here or email: Lien

Bringing it Home – An 8 Shields Deepening Year Course
Facilitators: Peter Cow, Rebecca Card, Deborah Benham, Klaudia Van Gool, Chris Holland, Jack Payne-Cook
Location: Dartmoor, Devon
An in-depth, yearlong journey to bring 8 Shields wisdom and practices into your life, family, work and communities.Have you been inspired by 8 Shields events like Art of Mentoring and Nature Culture Regeneration, and are seeking inspiration and support to land it more in your own life? Led and designed by experienced facilitators, this rich journey home will help 8 Shields practices and wisdom take deep root in you and your life, bringing connection and cultural healing to you and your people. We will share 4 inspirational weekends through the year, with personal mentoring and co-mentoring in between.
Payment plans are available if needed.
When: April 2018 through to January 2019
Exchange: £1,300 – £1,600 (self-assessed sliding scale)
Find out more here or contact 

Wild Time – Nature-based mentoring programme for teenage girls (12-16yrs)
Facilitators: Emily Fawcett and Israh Goodall
Location: Dartmoor
This wondrous journey from May to September 2018 aims to support girls of a certain age to safely experience a range of physical outdoor challenges, develop and practice survival and bushcraft skills whilst at the same time exploring interpersonal themes of self-reliance, group dynamics, and creativity. It aims to be a magical unravelling, facilitated on a adventure across wild Dartmoor .
We will spend time solo, in pairs and as a group; identifying and playing with some of the topics that arise. Games, environmental arts and crafts, adventure, night exploration and poetry will provide opportunities to weave the imagination as the girls explore the woods and moorland. We will cook together and sleep under the stars. We will spend time as a group of women, sharing stories and experience and most importantly learning from each other.
When: May 12th -13th, Aug 24th – 27th and Sept 29th – 30th
Exchange: £695
Find out more here

Journey into Womanhood
Facilitators: Hana Jones and Penny Jerram
Location: Waldron, East Sussex
Whilst we are so often taught to seek answers from teachers or from others who ‘know’, this is an opportunity for us to enter into an immersive, experiential journey inside ourselves to deepen our understanding and relationship to the sacred internal women’s ceremonies and life stages. We will utilise ancient, indigenous wisdom to help take us to the place where our knowledge of what we individually need, and the knowledge of what we already know resides.
Exploring the landscape of the feminine through all of the different planes of our being, we will be working with the elements, nature and the wisdom of our ancestors during 3 weekend gatherings.
When: May-December 2018
Exchange: £660.00 or special offer £350 – use promo code WOMENSJOURNEY when registering on
Find out more here


Invisible Infrastructures: Designing conscious culture in your group or organisation

Faciliators: Deborah Benham, Root Cuthbertson, James Woood, Madelane Rust-D’Eye

Location: Bristol
Invisible Infrastructures” introduces simple, social technologies for building relationships, creativity, happiness and long-term group sustainability. It illustrates how to lay a foundation of interpersonal connection, supported by dynamic decision making and peace-oriented conflict management, which generates collaborative and inclusive group cultures from the inside-out. This workshop is an introduction to the invisible infrastructures which will increase the resilience and effectiveness of your group, so you can better achieve your work in the world.
This introductory series, facilitated by four skilled professionals, weaves together best practice from 8 Shields Village Building, Designing for Peace, Dynamic Governance (Sociocracy), Body-Informed Leadership, and Asset Based Community Development. We work with the Wisdom of Nature, the Wisdom of the Body and the Wisdom of the Group, providing a multifaceted approach to designing positive group cultures.  
Dates: Evening Talk – April 19th (£5)
Half Day ‘Taster’ workshop – April 20 (£25)
Two Day Course – May 15th & 16 (£80-£120)

Regenerative Teams and Projects, the 8 Shields Model
Facilitators: David SmartKnight and Klaudia van Gool.
An opportunity to explore new ways of highly connected and effective working within any group or team and for any meetings and events. The 8 Shields model uses activities, archetypes and roles based on natural cycles and indigenous wisdom. It supports individuals, groups and events to really come alive, creating a connective and wholistic field that meets us more fully.
In the morning we will work with our natural, innate, sub-conscious understandings of the universe, in order to allow our individual and collective genius to flow in regenerative teams and projects. In the afternoon there is a surgery, to work with participants’ specific projects.
Location: Reconomy Centre, Totnes
When: 26th April 2018, 9.30-16.00
Exchange: Cost: Suggested minimum donations of £20 for the morning, £30 including surgery.
Find out more here

Deepening into NatureCulture

Facilitators:Peter Cow, Rebecca Card, Maya Mahn + acorn

Location: Near Frankfurt, Germany
An experiential weekend for adults, introducing the wisdom of the 8 Shields through nature connection and culture creation. This weekend is based on the Nature Culture Regeneration introduction weekends we have run in Devon for 3 years (see below). Held in English with translation into German.
Through embodying many regenerative, nature-based practices, participants will journey through the 8 Shields cycle and explore how we can re-member ‘the village’ and how we can live in Wholeness with ourselves, the communities we are part of, and the global community of all species.
When: 27-29 April
Exchange: 250 euro
Find out more: contact Maya –
+49 176 63860506

Nature Culture Regeneration – an introduction to 8 Shields and the Art of Mentoring
Facilitators: Peter Cow, Rebecca Card, Deborah Benham and a full Acorn
Location: Near Moretonhampstead, Dartmoor, Devon UK
An experiential weekend for adults, introducing the wisdom of the 8 Shields through nature connection and culture creation. There will be two simultaneous programs for adults: ‘The Village’ is for first-time participants. Through embodying many regenerative, nature-based practices, participants will journey through the 8 Shields cycle and explore how we can re-member ‘the village’ and how we can live in Wholeness with ourselves, the communities we are part of, and the global community of all species. ‘The Return’ is for participants who have already been on ‘The Village’ or Ring One at an Art of Mentoring camp. Returnees will experience living at the edge of the village and exploring the wild individually and in tribe.
For adults, both newcomers and people who have done AoM Ring 1 or NCR ‘village’ before
When: 18-20th May. Arrive 4pm Friday for a 6pm start. Ends 4pm Sunday
Exchange: £160-£220 Camping with all meals included.
Find out more here or email

Deepening nature – bird language
Facilitators: Phil Greenwood
Location: East Sussex
In an era marked by increasing disconnection from nature, self and others, the practice of learning bird language will give you the tools to be successful in your relationships, your career and your community. It will enhance your awareness and your ability to experience empathy, compassion, attentiveness, sensitivity to your surroundings and to other people. Bird language and your participation in daily activities will open up a new world of understanding and help achieve a ‘quiet mind’, resulting in increased peace and happiness. This has a ripple effect that will benefit you and your loved ones. It will enhance your ability to become a successful nature mentor and, in a wider sense, to create healthier communities.
The course covers the concept of Five Voices of the Birds; interpreting shapes of alarm – the building block of bird language; engaging the senses in nature; key bird species; journal-keeping techniques; games and fun activities. It takes place over the course of two days, Camping is available, or we can recommend a local B&B.
When: May 19th-20th.
Exchange: There are a few different cost options. Book before April 15th and get an early bird discount of £25!
Find out more – Call Phil Greenwood on 01825 713127

Bird Language and Nature Awareness

Facilitator: Dan Puplett
Reading bird language is the ancient art of interpreting bird calls and behaviour, and is closely related to tracking. We will discover how interpreting bird vocalisations can help us become much more aware of what is happening in the wider landscape. We will also use a range of tools to hone our nature awareness, deepen our nature connection and become more observant naturalists.
Location: FSC Kindrogan Field Centre, Perthshire
When: May 25th-28th mornings
Exchange: £150-£220
Find out more here or email: 07952 679640

Women’s Healing Quest

Facilitators: Rebecca Card and Megan Williams
Location: Dartmoor
In the warmth of early summer we invite you to join a small circle of women to be held in the soft shelter of the landscape and mark a moment in your life. You may wish to mark a transition, or seek what is next in your life or you may wish to simply spend time in silence and solitude to rest, dream and nourish your creative soul.
Traditionally these are 4 day fasting ceremonies alone in wild nature, with simple shelter and only water to drink. We will support you with sensitivity and care so that your physical and emotional needs are fully welcomed and by honouring the cycles of your lives as well as your bodies. We will offer guidance so that you meet your edge in an empowered way, for this is where the growth will happen.
Applications necessary before making a booking.
When: May 29-June 7
Exchange: £650
Find out more here or email

Women’s Wild Hearth
Facilitators: Klaudia van Gool, Nikki Chambers, Jessie Watson Brown and Ellie Sunderland
Location: Dartmoor
A retreat for women which facilitates a deeper sense of belonging and comfort with the wild, through bushcraft, deep nature connection practices, crafts and support for each other as women. We will set up camp in the woods, cook over the fire, tell stories and practice yoga in the morning. This course is designed with teachings of the 8Shields / Art of Mentoring structures.
When: 11-17 June
Exchange: Full £410, Medium income £350, Concession £285.
Find out more here or email: 07816 841129

Midsummer Wilderness Solo
Facilitators: Lien De Coster and Katrien Deboutte
Location: Nohedes, French Pyrenees
A wilderness solo is a contemporary translation of the ancient ritual of the vision quest, which was held in all corners of the world. Originally it was a rite of passage from youth to adulthood. Youngsters left their community on a search for vision for this life, their gift to their people. Today we miss this kind of ritual reflection time, which brings lots of people on a path which is not theirs. A wilderness solo retreat can help you to get (more) clarity about what is essential to you. For adults.
When: June 21st-June 29th 2018
Exchange: 700 Euros
Find out more here or email:

Women’s Wilderness Solo

Facilitators: Lien De Coster and Tsilia Piran
Location: West coast of Sweden
Come and join our intergenerational circle of women on the land. A wilderness solo is a contemporary translation of the ancient ritual of the vision quest. We gather in our base camp at the edge of the forest and the lake. This is an old power place, known as Äskatorp, which means as much as ‘the place for invocation’. From there you will go out for three days and nights of sacred alone time.
When: 28/08/2018 to 05/09/2018
Exchange:1025 euro
Find out more here or email

Nature Connection Intensive with Jon Young
Facilitator: Jon Young
Location: Schumacher College, Devon
This course has just been confirmed and is not yet advertised on the Schumacher College short courses page. Please keep an eye on their website for more details of content coming soon. If you would like to register your interest, please email Deborah.
When: September 10th-14th
Exchange: £795 (tbc) Includes accommodation & all meals

(Collections of courses all in one listing)

Village Builders’ Workshop
Facilitated by Phil Greenwood and Deborah Benham and run in co-operation with 8 Shields, this seminar is about cultural repair and regenerative design. It will look at the type of practices that help build connection between self, others and the natural world and the type of resources we need to build healthy communities.
The seminar will cover best practices that are attainable in the short term, but with long term goals; the role of behaviour within the community that supports peace, unity and positivity; the concept of the ‘community web’ and how to create it; catalysts for a healthy culture; barriers to connection and ideas for
getting involved in your local area.
Course dates are April 26-29, June 8-10, July 27-29 and September 6-9.
The cost for each weekend workshop is £215.
Contact: Phil Greenwood on 01825 713127

Awakening the senses

This course will teach you about mindfulness in nature and is aimed at improving health, wellbeing and sensory integration.
A deeper connection with nature is the doorway to greater sensory awareness.
We will be looking at the attributes we can develop when we deepen and awaken all our senses. How does this awakening affect our connection with ourselves and the world around us?
The course is run by Phil Greenwood, Sacred Earth founder and a former Royal Marine commando. “I always felt I was pretty switched on to my senses,” he says. “I felt comfortable outdoors in all weathers. But after I was introduced to a deeper, older sensory integration I found myself awakening to something else.
“Over time, these practices have become part of me and switched on a light inside, giving me an inner vision and creativity I never knew was there.”
This course is a series of six Fridays, starting May 4th. Each day module can be taken as a standalone course, at a cost of £55 per day. It’s £285 for the whole series (a saving of £45).
Contact: Phil Greenwood on 01825 713127

Rebecca Card: Nature-Based Soul Initiation & Cultural Healing Practices
Midsummer Medicine Walk ~ A soul initiation journey exploring yourself in relation to the land and the other-than-human-realm. This will be a moment to stop, reflect, and be with yourself in a way that matters. July 13 – 15 2018, Dartmoor. Guide: Rebecca Card. Webpage
Autumn Vision Quest (mixed), September 17 – 26 2018, Dartmoor. Guides: Rebecca Card & Lucy Voelcker. Webpage
Rebecca also offers one-to-one Soul Initiation practices on the moor as well as 8 Shields mentoring by phone or Skype:
Find out more here or Facebook or email:

Cultural Emergence courses

Cultural Emergence is a toolkit for expanding our positive impact in the world. It emerged through the collaboration, distillation and synthesis of Jon Young and Looby Macnamara’s pioneering work in the arenas of personal and social permaculture and deep nature connection and village building. Cultural Emergence uses conscious design and action to help us manifest our ideal scene, for ourselves and the world. The toolkit is designed to support us to be proactive and facilitate visionary responses to our global crises. We are now collaborating with other visionaries and leaders around the world to bring together the most profoundly effective toolkit.
This year’s Cultural Emergence courses include
Activating Cultural Emergence for Women with Looby Macnamara and Maddy Harland, at Applewood Permaculture Centre, Herefordshire 26-29th April
Cultural Emergence Design course with Looby and Helena von Bothmer in Sweden 29th May -3rd June
Activating Cultural Emergence online with Looby.
Cultural Emergence summer intensive with Jon Young, Starhawk, Looby and Maddy Harland, at Applewood Permaculture Centre, Herefordshire 26th July -5th August
Find out more here or email, 07786262864



Beautiful smallholding looking for long-term tenants!
We are a group of six adults, three children (aged 4, 5 and 6), two dogs, one cat and eight hens.  We’re looking for like-minded people to join us at a wonderful 4-acre smallholding in East Devon. Our interests are sustainable living, organic food production, land connection, strong and open communication, emotional growth, living peaceably, cooking, yoga, dancing, singing, surfing, fishing and many more! We’re a diverse group with varying backgrounds, vocations and skills. Several of us are involved in 8 Shields and nature connection work.
We currently have one good sized double room available in the main house. Rent is £320 per month, and utilities contribution is £75 per month (includes council tax, electric, heating, landline & broadband). Would best suit an individual.
You can see photos here:-
For more info and an application form please contact Deborah and Root on or Tel: 07590 832919

Hunger Games
Join the Acorn on the Hunger Games camps : Come get an embodied experience of the 8 Shields by joining the Acorn on Robin Bowman’s Hunger Games and Mockingjay camps run for teenagers through WildWise. They are the ultimate Trojan Horse of Nature Connection for teens and a rich learning experience to acorn or volunteer on; not to mention a lot of fun.
Dates of the Hunger Games camp is August 21-25 and the Mockingjay camp is August 27-31. Run in a beautiful woods near Bristol.
Check out the event here and email:

Annette Baubin
A warm-hearted hello,My name is Annette, I’m a 28 years old woman and from Austria.
I started my education in nature connection seven years ago and have assisted a lot since then. My request is to ask for the possibility to join your community as an intern.
What can I offer to you?
I’m a generalist, familiar with camp settings. I’m thankful for having absolved my education at Geli & Ron Bachmanns School, a wilderness school I experienced as very holistic by its diversity. Therefore, I’m familiar with the Acorn Model, Peacemaking and many more.
I can offer experience as a general helper as well as my personal focus on Peacemaking, Village Building, profiling, bird language, non-violent communication and some more.
As I’m planning to open my own nature connection school, I’m an eager learner, listener and diligent, purposeful helper. One of my greatest wishes is to widen my experiences in mentoring adults and adolescents. Then also to get more ability in primitive living skills and if possible to improve in animal communication.
Joining your community for a few months this spring or summer would be excellent.
Can you need an additional helping hand?
If yes; Do you see any possibility to refund my work input for free board and lodging?