Dear 8 Shields Community,

2018 has been a deeply transformative year for the 8 Shields Institute. We are sharing this Progress Report from January-October this year. In future years, our Annual Report will reflect our fiscal year, July to June,  as we are now an official program of the Nature Connection Mentoring Foundation, a 501(c) 3 Charitable organization!

We are very grateful for the support of our comm​​​​unity and excited to share the many accomplishments as well as big changes we have made in 2018.

We have re-focused our efforts on training parents, teachers, and nature schools, homeschool programs, therapists, businesses, community-building activists, practitioners of regenerative design and permaculture, and more, with a goal of awakening our deepest potential through nature-based mentoring experiences.

Early in the year, we identified needed changes and defined strategies for reaching our goals which we are now putting into practice. Some of our top objectives are:

  • 1
    To scale our unique and effective method of deep nature connection mentoring and training globally. To achieve this, we developed and implemented completely free classes, inspiring content, and a podcast that anyone can access by joining our mailing list.
  • 2
    To enhance our leadership, governance, staff and course presenters to represent greater masculine and feminine balance and diverse role models.
  • 3
    To create more equity and increase access to our programs by providing grants and scholarships and pursue collaborations with traditionally underrepresented communities. 
  • 4
    To ensure that our programs, organizational practices, and partnerships are inclusive and support these ideals and priorities as well as preserve our legacy.

OWLink Media, publisher of Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nature Connection Mentoring Foundation. Celebrating 10 years as a treasured resource, a fresh printing of the book, along with our newly hired Outreach Coordinator, has grown our influence among teachers, parents and outdoor educators, as well as our worldwide network of nature connection organizations.

Coyote's Guide

We have also launched the Origins Project, in collaboration with Eco Tours International, and have begun fundraising efforts to support the preservation of connected cultures and communities including a community of San Bushmen in Botswana.

We aim to preserve the legacy of the 8 Shields teachings for future generations. To that end, we have partnered with Village Video to make available a series of 64 inspiring, 20-minute videos, outlining foundational cultural elements in the 8 Shields framework. We plan to make a total of 512 of these videos recorded live with audiences around the world! This body of work supports our intention of utilizing technology to scale mentoring, in tandem with in-person training worldwide with leaders from the 8 Shields global network.

Working with our Board of Directors, our updated Development Plan will guide us in working within the culture of philanthropy to create new scholarships and grants to support our network of organizations in regions around the world.

​​​​​​We are so grateful to have again received a grant from The Kalliopeia Foundation!

We are also grateful to have provided a grant to Helper's Mentoring Society to serve native youth in Wanblee, South Dakota near the Pine Ridge Reservation again this year.

Finally, we offer our thanks to you, for all your support as we improve and expand on our strategic objectives, to lift and amplify the efforts of all who share our vision, to re-awaken balanced, joyful, healthful, and harmonious communities serving to awaken the attributes of connection worldwide.

In Gratitude,

Garret Conway, Lisa Donahue,  Jon Young, and the 8 Shields Team

8 shields calls have given me such support, knowledge, community and grounding through the past 5 years. Because of them, I am able to be clear about what I want and need. I can safely and comfortably connect with anyone I talk with. I have deeply practiced listening until it has become second nature to me. But most of all, at the end of a tiring, heart breaking month, when I have given so much energy to facilitating nature connection for others, I come to this community to come back alive. To regenerate the energy to start the next month. It means a lot to me to have the mentorship and anchoring 8 shields offers.

Janani Eswar, Bangalore, India

8 Shields has been a game-changer for me. My experience of the Art of Mentoring week-long event stopped me in my tracks, opened my heart and met my longings in a way that I didn't even know I had. There was no turning back. Here, I have found wholeness and connection in ways that only my blue print knows are possible. This way of being together and in nature is fundamental to our evolving as a global, intact, regenerative community.
I have found the Village Builders online gatherings deeply connecting and enriching; the stories that get shared are powerful and I've learnt so much from hearing about the traditions, techniques and practices from so many experienced and skilled people the world over. It's been a wonderful forum for exploring my inner journey with what it really means to build the village.

Rebecca Card, Dartmoor, England

If you have had the thought, "What can I do to be part of the solution in these troubled times?" then I suggest you check out
the 8 Shields organization. I did and now have renewed passion, optimism and action pathways to help lift our culture and create
healthy connected communities! The 8 Shields staff are so generous with their knowledge, which is fluid as it is sourced from
decades of ongoing experience and knowledge that works, which equals big wisdom. Come connect to nature, self and others and
be part of working communities around the world that connect and nourish each other. This is a beautiful way to be part of the solution!

Gaylynn Kaufman, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

                Meet Our New Leadership

Lisa Donahue

Michelle Lawton
Board Member

Josh Pinney

Jon Young
Lead Visionary and Founder

Garret Conway
 Executive Director

My mentoring experiences with the 8 Shields Institute and Jon Young have truly been an amazing life stepping stone. I would not emphasize enough how valuable this experience has been for me. It has dramatically affected my life and people around me in such a beautiful and positive way. I've found here a vibrant community which provide inspiration and motivation to rebuild nature-connection within myself and people around me. I feel such gratitude for that… May the 8 Shields work continue, thrive and reach future generations

Norbert Fond, France

                2018 January-October Financial Report

The 8 Shields methodology has reinvigorated my connection to the natural world and inspired me to be much braver in my fight against climate change.

Saci Lloyd, London, UK

Your support makes what we do possible. Together, let's give the gift of a regenerative nature-connected society to the future generations, an​​​​​d preserve the legacy of our elders' wisdom worldwide.

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and help empower a global movement