Meet some of the contributors to Art of Mentoring Devon 2017, part of a team of 50 staff running different elements of the all-ages camp.
Jon Young: For over 30 years, Jon’s been a leader in the fields of village-building, nature-based education, permaculture and cultural mentoring. He’s made vital advancements in modelling effective connection to nature and people.
A mentor of deep nature connection, Jon’s also an expert tracker, facilitator, public speaker and storyteller. He’s featured in many nature documentaries and teaches in North America, Europe, Australia and southern Africa.
Jon has authored and co-authored seminal works on deep nature connection and connection mentoring, including What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (2013) and Coyote’s Guide to Connecting to Nature (2007).
A founder of the 8 Shields Institute, Jon has established best-practices for cultural modelling and mentoring nature connection. He promotes ‘village’-building globally as a nature-based model of cultural regeneration.
Victoria Mew: After joining a Trackways family camp age 12, Victoria got hooked on learning about the natural world and her place among it. During her teens, she cherished nature-based experiences and mentors sprinkled throughout an otherwise ‘ordinary’ education.
Victoria spent her gap year at Jon Young’s Wilderness Awareness School in the US. Inspired by this year, she became a significant part of the team that launched the Art of Mentoring in the UK.
Graduating in Human Sciences in 2010, Victoria researched ‘How Growing Up Separate From Natural Environments Affects Childhood Development’. Based in Sussex, she works with Circle of Life Rediscovery and Sacred Earth CIC to enhance people’s nature skills, awareness and connection.
Victoria relishes helping people to foster a deeper relationship with fire and to feel more comfortable in natural environments and in working with others.
Chris Holland: Chris is a leading inspiration in nature connection and environmental education for families and schools in the UK and worldwide.
Chris is also a prize-winning photographer and the self-published author of I Love my World (2009), his engaging book on outdoor play. Chris’ teaching also benefits from his environmental science degree and his flair for facilitation.
Chris captivates groups of all ages by weaving his gifts in storytelling, bushcraft, foraging, environmental art and didgeridoo playing through his work. Founder of nature connection business Wholeland, Chris loves to relax by sea swimming and kayaking.
Dr Deborah Benham: A student of Jon Young, Deborah has been involved with 8 Shields and Art of Mentoring since 2011. She’s part of the 8 Shields Global Leadership Programme and is leading the establishment of 8 Shields UK.
Deborah is a PhD in wildlife conservation, environmental education and the people/nature interface. After 15 years’ in this field, she moved into broader areas of regenerative culture and design for sustainability, with a particular interest in social sustainability and social enterprise.
Until recently, Deborah was Managing Director of the Newbold Trust, a retreat and education centre for sustainable living and wellbeing in NE Scotland. Previously, she founded Wild at Heart, providing nature connection programmes, ecotourism consultancy and wildlife guide training. Deborah now offers consultancy, training and workshops in nature connection, regenerative culture, sustainability and youth empowerment.
Peter Cow: A heartfelt facilitator and culture designer, Peter has been involved with 8 Shields programmes and events since 2011. He’s on the team setting up the UK 8 Shields network and runs introductory weekends in Devon.
Peter’s been teaching and facilitating permaculture courses since 2007, specialising in ‘People Permaculture’ (social and personal regenerative design). He co-creates immersive and empowering learning experiences that connect people more deeply to nature, themselves and their community. Peter works with 8 Shields, Inner Transition and People Permaculture trainers across Europe.
Back in 2000, Peter co-founded Steward Community Woodland, a sustainable woodland community in Devon. He lived, designed, learned and played there in deep collaboration with the land and people for 7 years. Peter now lives in South Dartmoor, where he enjoys wild running and swimming, group singing and deepening connections.