Welcome to the 8 Shields Institute

Creating Nature Connected Communities

Optimizing the Human Operating System
Over the past 30 years, 8 Shields has developed training pathways that support mentors and leaders to change individual lives, and entire communities, in becoming more connected. This model incorporates traditional mentoring and deep nature connection practices, fully supported through our ancient human blueprint—our original design.

The 8 Shields alumni network has over 300 programs worldwide that have been inspired by our model for creating a culture that connects one to self, nature and others – igniting a deep desire to care for our planet, each other and to share one’s gifts.

“…As awareness grows, appreciation grows, too. As appreciation grows, so does empathy.”

-From Jon Young’s book, What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World


Featured Programs & Events:


SalalAdvanced Connection Practices Webinar Class Series

4 Saturdays @11am Pacific, 2 hours each class. Begins April 6, 2014. Attend all 4 or just the classes of your choice.

Learn processes that help individuals and communities to revive and deepen the relationship with the world of nature through the doorways of healing and creative vision.

Learn more.


Fire squareTending Grief & Rites of Competency Weekend

Learn how to work with the elements of nature to heal grief and support deep connection; experience ways to nourish community and recognize stages of growth in the life cycle. These teachings reconnect us to the earth and to our natural rhythms of life.

April 25-27, Santa Cruz Mountains. Learn more.


AOMCalifornia Art of Mentoring

Experience the fun and dynamic learning of nature connection as we come together to weave a mentoring village of all ages. The best way to learn mentoring is to experience it!

July 7-14 2014, Santa Cruz Mountains. Learn more.


by the fire9 Month Immersion & Distance Programs

Spend 9 transformational months in a community setting, intensively learning, living  and practicing nature connection, mentoring and leadership. Learn more.


 Fox Tracks ProgramFox Tracks Kid’s Nature Program

Join us for either one or two days each week from September to May for our children’s nature connection homeschool/unschool program near Santa Cruz. 

Learn more.


Join us through:

Life changing programs
Through our mentoring services
Purchase one of our exceptional products

ProgramsMentoringBooks & Multimedia