Foundations of Nature Connection Mentoring Training Workshops

 

Dates & Enrollment:

  • December 5 & 6, 2022 – Introduction to Nature Connection Mentoring – Registration CLOSED.
  • February 25 & 26, 2023  — Designing with Natural Cycles – Registration OPEN.
  • March 18 & 19, 2023 — Peacemaking and Restorative Relationships – Registration OPEN.
  • April 29 & 30, 2023 — Core Routines for Being Fully Alive and Nature Connected – Registration OPEN.

Complete the online form below to register for these workshops.

Format: Each weekend includes six Zoom calls (60-90 min each) interspersed with six hours of activities for you to do (both outdoors & indoors) on your own or with a local cohort.

Where: Your home or other preferred spot with good internet access.

Who: Adults of all experience levels.

Cost:  $185 – 275 sliding scale per workshop. (True cost is $225 per participant per workshop.)

Program Overview 

This set of online workshops explores the pedagogical and philosophical frameworks we use at Vermont Wilderness School. We think of these workshops as the foundational practices that support successful nature connection mentoring. We find that amazing things tend to happen when we take this multi-layered approach to mentoring! You can take a single workshop, two or three workshops, or all four! We recommend taking Introduction to Nature Connection Mentoring as preparation for the other three workshops, though this is not required. Group size is kept small to ensure space for sharing and discussion. Content is tailored to meet the experience, needs, and curiosities of participants.

These workshops are designed for:

  • Educators and professionals looking to build their skills and/or develop nature connection programs;
  • Individuals looking to deepen nature connection in their own lives;
  • Parents looking to foster nature connection within their families and communities;
  • Anyone who is curious to learn more about the history and future of this field.

 

See detailed descriptions of each workshop below.

 

Instructor Bio

Amy Hyatt has been involved in nature connection mentoring since 2001, when she began as a participant and apprentice.  Amy was one of the first women facilitators and leaders of the Art of Mentoring, an intergenerational weeklong workshop in nature connection mentoring. For over 15 years she has been designing and directing youth and adult programs at the Vermont Wilderness School.  In recent years Amy joined the board of the national Nature Connection Network, playing an active role in current movement dialogues around decolonization and anti-racism.  Amy is of mixed European ancestry.  She grew up with attention on challenging inequalities in race, class, and gender in our everyday lives as well as spending time outside exploring and helping in the family vegetable garden. At age 19, she began overtly encountering Indigenous people who engaged her with everyday issues of colonization, cultural appropriation, and decolonization…and the living practice of listening to different species and asking permission before harvesting or developing areas. She has humbly continued to ask the questions and seek to make changes creating more equity for humans and other species, a sense of welcome and safety for people of different backgrounds, and a sense of trust and allyship in working together for the children and multi-species future generations on this Earth.

 

To Enroll:

  • Complete the Registration form below (or Interest form if registration is not yet open).
  • Make a secure online payment via:
    • the PayPal box in the righthand sidebar of this page OR;
    • a check payable to “Vermont Wilderness School” sent to: Vermont Wilderness School, P.O. Box 2585, Brattleboro, VT 05303.

Full payment or 1st installment of payment plan due on February 1 (February Weekend) and/or March 1 (March and April Weekends).

  • Complete a Medical Form / Waiver by clicking the tab at the bottom of this page.

Read our scholarship and cancellation policies for more information.

To receive email notifications about this program (save the dates, opening of registration, etc.), sign up here.

 

 

Detailed Workshop Descriptions

INTRODUCTION TO NATURE CONNECTION MENTORING:

The past twenty years have seen a proliferation of outdoor programs using “nature connection mentoring”— an approach grounded in natural cycles and the strengthening of community through long-term intergenerational mentoring. A major influence in these programs has been the “coyote mentoring” approach, popularized by Jon Young and the book Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature. Many programs, including Vermont Wilderness School, blend coyote mentoring with other approaches to outdoor education. The broader field of nature connection mentoring is experiencing rapid expansion, a diversification of approaches, and a robust debate about its relationship to the societal imperatives of equity, racial justice, and decolonization. This workshop will introduce nature connection mentoring practices and approaches while also surveying the history and current state of the field.

DESIGNING WITH NATURAL CYCLES:

We can deliberately design how we work, play, and learn together based on cycles in the natural world.  Why look to conventional educational or business models for design guidance when instead we can look to nature? Attuning to cycles such as the seasons or the life cycles of our plant and animal neighbors builds vitality and resiliency in ourselves and our communities. Vermont Wilderness School’s educational programs are all designed this way.

During this weekend we will explore how you can use natural cycles as a guide for designing aspects of your community and work life. We will especially pay attention to what we have each noticed about how community and work life goes awry when we neglect certain aspects of natural cycles – and look at how to bring the neglected aspects back into our lives. Bring your own examples and design challenges!

PEACEMAKING & RESTORATIVE RELATIONSHIPS

Conflict and dissonance are a natural part of ecosystems and human life. We are all familiar with the results of unhealthy conflict— hurt, disconnection, and violence. However, when the system around these conflicts is healthy, creativity and new solutions can emerge. Conflict can birth resilience and unimagined beautiful solutions.

In this workshop we will learn about different practices for peacemaking and restoring relationships.  Central to this exploration is the acknowledgement of the cultural context from which these practices have emerged. By the end of the weekend you will be equipped to discern what for you are the appropriate practices to guide conflict towards greater health, creativity, and connection.

CORE ROUTINES FOR BEING FULLY ALIVE & NATURE CONNECTED:

Just as drinking water, eating, and sleeping support our health and well-being, consistent direct engagement with the natural world fosters our health and aliveness. Numerous studies have documented how daily time in nature enhances our learning and healing capacities, reduces stress, and can provide insight and creativity in whatever we are doing in our lives. In addition, this daily practice is the sustenance that feeds our mentorship of other people in natural settings. Whether we are a teacher in a classroom, a parent in the home, or an outdoor educator, the vitality of our own personal relationship with nature will shine through to others.

The concept of “Core Routines for Being Fully Alive and Nature Connected” is that certain practices are exceptionally effective at stirring that vitality, if practiced regularly.  Examples include outdoor living skills, sharing gratitude, wandering, awareness, practicing the art of questioning, visiting a “sit spot”, singing, storytelling, and others. For the final weekend, we will delve into many of these core routines, how we can foster them in our daily lives, and how we can mentor and inspire others in these practices.  Spring is a great time to explore these routines because it’s warm outside and life is bursting forth!