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:


8-shields-sketch-for-web-300x263Summer Online Series with Jon Young:

Exploring the Art of Mentoring

Live online trainings  @ 4pm Pacific, 2 hours each class. June 11, June 18, July 9, July 18th. Attend all 4, or just the classes of your choice. Recording access provided.

Explore the philosophy and tools of the Art of Mentoring with 8 Shields Founder Jon Young. Learn connective approaches for supporting well-being for yourself, your family and community.

Learn more.


Fire squareEast Coast Gathering: Leadership Initiation Project

Explore advanced connective practices with Sal Gencarelle, author of A Man Among the Helpers. These teachings reconnect us to the earth and to our natural rhythms of life.

August 23-30th, New Hampshire. 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 in Felton. This program is administered by the Riekes Center. Visit the Riekes Center Homeschool page for more information & registration.


Join us through:

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

Programs - MentoringBooks & Multimedia