‘If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees………..
then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live
from The Vision by Wendell Berry
Course Hosts ~ holding the whole journey
A heartfelt facilitator and culture designer, Peter has been involved with 8 Shields programs and events since 2011. He’s on the team setting up the UK 8 Shields ‘Nature Culture Network’ and runs 8 Shields introductory weekends and events around the UK and Europe. He has been on the staff for the 8 Shields Institute’s ‘Regenerating Nature Connected Communities’ online course, and since 2017 he has been one of the lead organisers for the UK Art of Mentoring camps.
Peter has also been teaching and facilitating Permaculture courses since 2007, specialising in ‘People Permaculture’ (social and personal regenerative design). He co-creates immersive and empowering learning experiences that connect people more deeply to nature, themselves and their community.
Back in 2000, Peter co-founded Steward Community Woodland, a sustainable woodland community in Devon. He lived, designed, learned and played there in deep collaboration with the land and people for 7 years. Peter now lives on a farm in South Dartmoor, where he enjoys wild running, cold swimming, chopping up wood, listening to birdsong and singing to himself.
For more about Peter – www.livingincircles.com
Sky Maria Buitenhuis
Sky Maria Buitenhuis has extensive experience supporting people to deepen their connection to nature, including our own inner nature as part of the larger natural landscape. She has worked as a facilitator for a variety of different programs as well as developing her own workshops and trainings.
She is the co-founder of the Association of Nature and Forest
Therapy, and a co-founder of the Global Institute of Forest Therapy. As a nature connection guide, Sky draws on her trainings as a Work-That-Re-Connects (as founded by Joanna Macy) and an 8-Shields facilitator, as well as many other influences and her own on-going personal journey of remembering her natural state of being.
Sky’s passion is to offer people the experience of ‘coming home’, that is remembering that as a human we are embedded in this complex and infinitely diverse web of life on our beautiful planet Earth.
She is deeply moved and nourished by supporting and witnessing others having this embodied, innately human, experience of returning home to wholeness.
Guest Facilitators from previous years
Details of the confirmed 2022-2023 team will appear here soon
Rebecca works as a Guide, Facilitator and Ceremonialist of Nature-based Wisdom, Cultural Healing and Soul Initiation. She is trained in the 8 Shields lineage of Apache Scout and Shaman, Grandfather Stalking Wolf, and is involved with the 8 Shields, UK as a Village Builder, working at a regional and national level, and has organized and facilitated on a number of 8 Shields programs.
Rebecca is training to be a Wild Mind Guide with Animas Valley Institute and trained as a Wilderness Rites Guide with the School of Lost Borders. She is also a qualified and experienced Yoga teacher, Meditation Instructor and Somatic Movement facilitator. Her encounters with the other-than-human world and the tracking of the soul’s journey inspire her poetry writing. Rebecca holds grief tending ceremonies and is deeply passionate about reclaiming the indigenous roots of her people and her land in order to create empowered, grounded, and authentic ceremonies.
She believes in the power of ‘the village’ and sitting in circle for deep healing and honest connection. Her passion is in re~membering Wholeness and finding creative ways to explore that. Her joy is in dancing, weaving, dream work, being with the birds and the land and spending time nurturing deeply fulfilling connections.
As the visionary and co-creator (alongside Peter) of this program Rebecca will be offering ongoing support to the team, and will also be Guest Facilitator for the North West, North and North East weekends.Find out more about Rebecca’s offerings: http://naturewisdom.life/
Victoria Mew has followed her love of nature and curiosity in indigenous cultures since she was 12 years old having been introduced to a wilderness family camp, sleeping out in a lean-to shelter with a fire for her first time. Throughout her teens she pursued this interest training with Trackways, Coyote Tracks, and the Tracker School.
Victoria spent her gap year training with Wilderness Awareness School, building up experiences that would culminate in a week-long survival quest in the Cascade mountains; tracking coyotes until she caught up with them, learning what wild plants could be harvested for a meal, experimenting with different types of shelters and being mentored to bring these skills to children of all ages.
Victoria is a qualified forest school practitioner, and gained a BScHons in Human Sciences at UCL, with her dissertation exploring: How does growing up separate from natural environments affect childhood development? She has since founded ‘Cultivating Curiosity’, an organization that brings works with people of all ages outdoors facilitating deep nature connection and Red Squirrel Resources – an online video resource library of activities for forest school leaders, parents, teachers and outdoor educators.
Victoria was involved in setting up the UK Art of Mentoring camps and continues to be involved as a Ring 1 presenter and a design consultant.
Victoria will be welcoming us all to the course at the East weekend in March.
Chris is a leading inspiration in the field of nature connection and environmental education for families and schools in the UK and increasingly worldwide online. He is musical and playful too. He has many things in his teaching bundle including a degree in environmental science and a natural talent for working with groups of people, telling stories, sharing bushcraft skills, foraging, creating environmental art and playing the didgeridoo too.
He wrote his first book, “I Love my World”, in 2009, reprinted in full colour in 2020 and has now created “absolutely incredible” CPD and nature connection courses online at http://www.natureconnection.co.uk.
He’s a dad, lives in Devon and loves swimming, surfing and climbing trees barefoot. Chris is founder of http://www.Wholeland.org.uk
Chris will be bringing his vitality and passion to the South East weekend in May.
Amy grew up in an old watermill and pottery in North Wales that her parents turned into a trout farm. Her dad taught her about trees and woodland plants, her mum taught her about compost and vegetables and her little brother taught her how much fun it is to hunt for eels in the mill race mud. The Afon Seiont, the river that runs through the mill, has taught her more than she ever read in any book. Cynefin is her favourite Welsh word – it roughly translates as the place where you feel most deeply at home, whole, connected, alive and with a sense of belonging.
She spends most of her time helping folk find their way home to their own Cynefin, be that inside themselves, in community or in nature. To this end she is a mentor, counsellor and facilitator, community builder and activist, traditional craftswoman, herbalist and deep nature educator, song carrier and ritual holder. She works with little ones to elders and everyone in between, and has been involved with 8 Shields events since they first came to the UK and has had staffing roles at most of the UK Art of Mentoring camps every year since.
Things that make her happy include; wood smoke from a sweet fire, swimming in any water that isn’t a swimming pool, heartfelt communication, joyfully muddy feet and satisfyingly messy hair, treasure finding and spinning wool, a new song and a good story. She loves being outside with anyone, but especially the children in her life who help her both lose herself and find her way properly home.
Amy will be joining us to hold the fire of the South weekend in June.
Root loves dancing, music, poetry, public libraries, matching needs with resources, monofloral honeys, generously inclusive humor, and stories about healing and hope. He spent nine summers as a youth at an 8-week overnight camp near Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire; and ten years as a young adult in housing and dining co-operatives. He has travelled to live and work at ecovillages and sustainability projects like Lost Valley Education Center, Pachamama, Wind Spirit, D Acres permaculture farm, and Rowe Camp and Conference Center. He holds an M.A. in Environmental Education, and is a former curriculum designer for Global Ecovillage Network, Findhorn College, and The Newbold Trust. He is a certified trainer in Gaia Education eco-social design, and has co-led courses at Schumacher College, in Spain, and in Thailand on regenerative cultures and cultural mentoring.
He attended the California Art of Mentoring camp in 2016, and since 2017 has staffed the adult programs at both the Vermont and UK Art of Mentoring camps. He is part of two teams: a UK-based one offering weekend programs introducing 8 Shields; and a New-England-based one combining 8 Shields with social change practices. He co-ordinates the online courses: “Introduction to Regenerative Community Building,” “Designing for Peace,” and “Pathways to Village Building.” With his wife Deborah Benham, he is currently developing new courses for 8 Shields Institute and co-authoring a new book with Jon Young.
Root will be gathering us in and taking us deeper on the West weekend in September.