On Mentoring & Nature Connection – An Interview with Richard Louv, Jon Young & Lisa Donahue

​Podcast: A Conversation on Nature Connection,
with Richard Louv, Jon Young & Lisa Donahue

by Aidan Young

See below for the Podcast audio & Show Notes... but be sure to read this short story first:

I was drinking my second cup of coffee in the hotel lobby at the Oakland Convention Center, having just driven 90 minutes through Bay Area traffic, when Lisa Donahue came out of the grand ballroom to greet me.  She had traveled from Texas to be part of the Children & Nature Network International Conference.  We had spoken on the phone quite regularly, but it had been nearly two years since seeing each other face to face, so we both had huge smiles on our faces as we said hello.  Her warm greeting gave me much more energy than the coffee.

We took the elevator to the 18th floor hotel room where we were to record the interview with Jon Young and Richard Louv. The window looked out over the Port of Oakland and the surrounding industry. The San Francisco skyline peeked out above Treasure Island in the distance. Jon texted us: “Parking now. See you soon.” He had driven from Santa Cruz, a trip of 2+ hours in the Monday morning traffic. Richard arrived shortly after, having just flown from San Diego the day before. Or perhaps Denver. I can’t recall. He had been on the road awhile already. 

After greetings and introductions, I was meeting Richard for the first time, we sipped our coffee, snacked a little bit, and proceeded through the long exhale that is settling in. We shared our stories of how far we had traveled, what the traffic was like, how thankful we were for the coffee. Slowly but surely the energy in the room shifted, until each of us could feel that the time was right to “get started.” So we took a few minutes and each of us shared something we were feeling grateful for that day. Then, we “began” the interview.

Wiping Away the Road Dust

This process that I describe - everything that happened before we got started -  is a process called “wiping away the road dust.” Our intellectual side yearns to get started with the “important content” of the meeting’s agenda, but we are much more than intellect.  This process of settling in and creating safety and comfort together relaxes our nervous system, allowing us to engage and connect more deeply with each other.

I am grateful to be sharing this conversation with you. Jon and Richard explore many different interesting topics, but what has stuck with me most is the feeling behind the conversation, a feeling of four people that had traveled a long way to be together and embraced the opportunity to connect. It’s a feeling of safety, a feeling of timelessness, and of presence.  And, perhaps, this feeling of presence and connection IS the point of the conversation.

So, before you jump in, I invite you to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and picture a few things you're grateful for. Take a moment to settle in. And when you’re ready, go ahead and “begin.”

Thanks for reading. - Aidan

​Show Notes

00:00 - Intro (Aidan)
01:30 - Frog Story (Richard)
05:15 - Connection Modeling (Jon)
12:50 - Human-Animal Connection, Importance of Storytelling, Critical Anthropomorphism (Richard)
16:30 - The Mind of the Animal (Jon)
16:50 - Robert Bateman and Becoming the Animal (Richard)
19:05 - Frog Catching Story (Aidan)
21:20 - Integrating Education with Connection (Richard)
22:30 - Tom Brown and Frogs (Jon)
25:00 - Fishing and Connection (Richard)
27:05 - How do we Make Nature Relevant? (Aidan)
27:40 - Fishing Continued (Richard)
30:13 - In Defense of Fishing (Lisa)
32:26 - Moral Restrictions on Nature (Richard)
36:49 - Invisibility of Connection (Aidan)
37:15 - Making Connection Relevant (Jon)
45:00 - Nature Connection as a Human Right (Richard)
47:05 - Nature Connection and Sensory Integration (Jon)
49:20 - Integration of Nature Connection and Technology (Richard)
52:25 - Transformational Moments (Jon)
53:10 - Transformation and Becoming Alive, the Loneliness Epidemic (Richard)
58:19 - Scaling Mentoring (Jon)
62:45 - The Word “Mentoring” (Richard)
65:37 - Definition of Mentoring (Jon)
68:05 - Bringing People Alive (Jon)
71:05 - The Value of Connection Work (Richard)
72:10 - The Language of Modeling (Lisa)
73:47 - Being Flawed (Richard)
75:05 - Bird Language and Nature Connection (Jon)
76:45 - Closing Thoughts (Richard, Jon, Aidan)

Richard Louv

​Connect with ​​Richard Louv

Website: ​RichardLouv.com

Twitter: @RichLouv

Jon Young

Connect with Jon Young

Visit www.8shields.org to learn more about Jon and his work in nature connection, including audio, video, courses, workshops, books, and more.

Aidan Young

​Connect with Aidan Young

Visit www.aidanyoung.com to learn more about Aidan, his music, and mentoring.

Follow Aidan on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube

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Josh Lane

  • Cyrielle says:

    Wonderful conversation, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences.
    From my heart,
    Thank you.
    Cyrielle Willa

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