An 8 Shields ONline class
With Jon Young & Josh Lane
If you love to be in nature but aren’t sure how to go further into your nature connection journey for yourself or others, the Connecting with Nature online course gives you a roadmap and an essential foundation of core skills to begin putting into practice.
Enliven your senses & challenge your memory! Awaken the power of play and imitation as you connect with the trees, animals, and nature of your place.
Originally designed for members of our Experiencing Transformative Mentoring master class series, this unique bundle of teachings guides participants through daily practices for connecting with the outdoors like never before.
In this special online training, 8 Shields founder Jon Young and lead mentor Josh Lane share the the core routines of deep nature connection as shared in the book, Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature.
Pulling from the many routines and techniques available through the 8 Shields mentoring map, Josh has curated and designed a selection of favorite outdoor practices that are fun, effective, and very approachable for those new to the journey of deep nature connection.
These practices engage your awareness through fun sensory prompts. The activities encourage exploration and connection with your favorite outdoor places. These practices have been applied with great success in a variety of environments, from urban parks to wilderness areas.
Each week over six weeks, Jon & Josh will share a set of daily practices for you to try in your backyard, local park, or nearby outdoor area.
Designed using the principles of Transformational Mentoring, you'll experience fun techniques that rapidly support your sensory connection with the patterns, shapes, and rhythms of nature.
Jon and Josh will guide participants through the Core Routines through video, audio, and written materials.
You'll experience putting these key practices into place as we move through each session. Each week will progress and build upon the earlier sessions. The cumulative experience will deepen participants' connection journey, while naturally building curiosity and knowledge.
In our earlier Transformative Mentoring Webinar series, Jon & Josh detailed the map of the mentor's toolkit, and how to work with the Core Routines, Sensory Wheel, and Species Goals to strategize deep connection experiences for one's self and others.
Now in this course, they guide participants in self-application of these tools directly, demonstrating how these routines can be implemented to awaken connection with nature (note: the earlier webinar series is NOT required for your participation here).
This course is a great way to get a taste of a diverse array of nature skills:
Learn about Landscape Awareness, the Art of Tracking, Animal Forms, Bird Language, and more!
The practices focus on connecting with the earth through sensory embodiment and awareness.
These are the same practices that have helped thousands of people around the world to realize life-changing connections with nature.
These practices are utilized by the greater 8 Shields network of nature connection camps, schools and programs that have collectively impacted the lives of tens of thousands of youth and adults around the world over the last 30+ years.
Whether you are a parent or grandparent wanting to support your family in getting more connected to nature, a nature school leader seeking effective staff training pathways, a teacher of just about any skill who wants to help their students connect with nature, or you want to gain a lifetime skillset to enhance your outdoor experience, the Connecting with Nature online course can help you jumpstart that journey.
This training is especially suited for those just beginning their nature journey, although we have also included advanced practice suggestions with each module, which have proven helpful and engaging even for those familiar with the 8 Shields core routines.
This introductory week introduces the Core Routines of Deep Nature Connection, and focuses on the foundation of your Core Routines Toolkit: blending with nature through movement and stillness.
Awareness practices will be introduced, along with some beginning landscape observation techniques.
The second module introduces you to practices for working with the Storyteller's Mind, your inner resource of sensory memory, as you continue connecting with the landscape in deeper ways.
This section includes Jon Young's popular Activating the Storyteller's Mind online course (included with the training; if you already have this, an option is available for you below at a discounted price).
Activating the Storyteller's Mind
Jon Young shares how to engage your dynamic sensory memory while exploring your local landscape. This fun, simple daily practice provides a great empowerment for memory, storytelling, and building your knowledge of place!
Week 3 broadens your awareness toolkit as we dive into the essentials of bird language, the universal language of the forest that clues you into the presence of animals, and also alerts animals to your presence.
Strategies for reducing disturbance and interpreting bird language will be given, as well as a study method in bird observation that can continue long after this course ends.
Past participants have especially noted how this section of the course brings positive impacts into many other life situations, from home to work. This is because the routines of bird language teach us how to expand our awareness, cultivate presence, and move with greater intention in relationship with those we are connected with.
In Week 4 we expand beyond bird language into the realm of tracking, exploring the skills and viewpoint of the tracker.
Fun strategies for observing and researching mammals and their impact on the landscape will be considered, along with the core philosophy of the tracker.
Learn how Animal Forms help you to experience the land in a new way. This ancient practice gives you insights into animal movements and patterns, while encouraging empathy and imagination.
Week 5 gives us a chance to grow deeper into the tracker's mind.
In this module, you'll learn to observe the landscape for clues to survival wisdom gleaned from the animals and the patterns of the land itself.
Learn about ecological linking and how an animal's tracks connect it to the larger story of the land.
In this final session we will "wrap the bundle" of learnings and experiences from the past weeks of exploration.
Here we set the stage for your continued journeys with your new bundle of nature connection strategies.
Register for your preferred option with our secure online payment portal for immediate course access:
Course Option 2
Connecting with Nature
6 Week Online Course (includes Activating the Storyteller's Mind, a required course component)
Discounted option for those who already have Jon's Activating the Storyteller's Mind course (only pick this option if you're sure you already have it!)
What is "deep nature connection"?
Deep nature connection includes an intimate knowledge of place built through direct sensory relationship with the land. Connection on this level leads towards greater access to internal peace, empathy, and awareness of the web of nature.
Why would I want to learn about the Core Routines of deep nature connection?
Core Routines are proven ways to build strong relationships with the earth, plants, animals, and life systems in nature.
Why is mentoring important in deep nature connection?
Knowledge of the human potential for connecting with nature is accrued over many generations, and this understanding is traditionally imparted through mentoring. Mentoring saves you time by pointing you to tools, practices, and understandings that you might not find on your own, or that would take much longer to discover without a mentor. The course is built from the Mentor's perspective, designed to jumpstart your learning. That is why we at 8 Shields are dedicated to bringing forward the skills of mentoring nature connection in a much larger way in the world, and this series is a step in that direction.
How much time do I need for this?
You’ll need 30 minutes or so either in the morning or after work to get outside and try the practices. You’ll also be doing some journaling and other indoor activities. Longer periods of outdoor exploration (2-3 hours) on the weekends are recommended. You can go through the materials at your own pace. Whether you take 6 weeks or 6 months for this experience, it's all good!
Does this really work?
We have shared these practices with people of all ages from around the world, and seen over and over how regular ongoing connection with nature through the core routines shared in this series fosters deeper awareness and sense of connection with nature. Participants frequently report feeling more relaxed, more in tune with themselves and their surroundings, and move forward with a simple set of practices that can be used at home or anywhere else to connect with nature.