A podcast series that explores how to orient your life around nature. We discover the mindsets, skills and actions that are required to partner wisely with other forms of life and engage in acts of brilliant restoration.

[Full Interview] Nature as Mentor - with Jon Young

Season 100
Jon Young brings us into the ancient practice of nature connection mentoring. He describes how mentoring is a virtually extinct craft, and yet occupies critical importance in building the sensory awareness and neurology of young children. We delve into his rich tales of living among the San bushmen of Southern Africa, the role of wildlife tracking and bird language, insights on building ropes with the universe, and a turkey called Pete.For over 40 years, Jon young has been a deep nature connection mentor, wildlife tracker, peacemaker, author, workshop leader, and storyteller. A pioneer in the Western field of nature-based education, he co-founded the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington and the 8 Shields Institute in California. Jon has authored the seminal books What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World (2013), and Coyote's Guide to Connecting to Nature (2007). In 2016, he received the Champion of Environmental Education Award for his life’s work and for fostering the growth of the nature connection movement on a global level.Episode Website LinkShow LinksTom Browne Tracker SchoolFascinating biography of Jon’s lifeJon’s websiteCoyote’s Guide to connecting with NatureWhat The Robin Knows: Bird Language, Revealing the Secrets of NatureDescription of 8 ShieldsSan bushmenAnimas Valley InstituteSchool of Lost BordersMusic: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock, Ellie Kidd

10. Nature as Mentor: Wilderness Rites and Tracking

Season 1, Ep. 10
With Darren Silver & Jon Young.You’ve heard from many voices in previous episodes on how they’ve learned to listen deeply to the world around them. Today, as a fitting closure, we’re going to get into the HOW of all of this, so that you can embark on your own journey.Our two guests are wildlife trackers, wilderness guides, animal language experts and nature connection mentors. What they’ll share is that lifeworlding starts in the body, with core skills that were central to human cultures across time. These are ways of being that our modern world has rendered practically extinct, or rather exotic and primitive.There was a time when the land spoke vividly to each one of us - a snapped twig on a trail, an odor on the breeze, every utterance from a bird’s beak would be harboring a message, guiding you through the savannah or a steep canyon, the stakes here being your survival, your family’s meal for the week, your escape from the jaws of a toothed predator. Imagine the heightened electric body of yours that pulsed through that land. This is a world I long to come home to, again and again.These are the very things that keep me alive. Something visceral and untranslatable happens out there. When I peel away distractions, life becomes crystal clear. There is a sheer simplicity and poetic resonance to everything.Our first guest Darren Silver explains what quests like these entail, and why our culture so desperately needs them. For two decades he’s been working with teenagers and adults in initiatory practice, rituals and wilderness skills. After Darren, you’ll hear from Jon Yong, a renowned elder, a master storyteller, and a pioneer in nature-based education, wildlife tracking and bird language. Jon’s books, How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World and Coyote's Guide to Connecting to Nature, sit proudly on my bookshelf, tattered and dog-eared, having guided me on many an adventure. He’ll bring us delightful tales from his time with the San bushmen of Southern Africa, his love for bird language, and his friendship with a turkey named Pete.Episode Website LinkShow Links:Tom Browne Tracker SchoolAnimas Valley InstituteSchool of Lost BordersJon’s websiteCoyote’s Guide to Connecting with NatureWhat The Robin KnowsDarren SilverMyth of the Handless MaidenFox WalkingCore Routine - Sit SpotMusic: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock, Ellie Kidd & The Rising by Tryad CCPL

[Full Interview] Urban Ecologies - with John Thackara

Season 100
John Thackara is a writer, curator and professor who develops design agendas for ecological restoration, urban-rural reconnection, and multi-species design.He curated the celebrated Doors of Perception conference for 20 years, first in Amsterdam and later across India; he was commissioner of the UK social innovation biennial Dott 07, and the French design biennial City Eco Lab; and in 2019, he curated the Urban-Rural expo in Shanghai. His last book was How To Thrive In the Next Economy: Designing Tomorrow’s World Today.Here we discuss...Why more information about the climate crisis just won’t cut it anymoreHow designers can experiment with the presence of microbial lives in their citiesThe phenomenon of weed watching and why it’s gone viralCelebrity hen and mango farmers in China who have broken down the rural-urban dividePlacefulness as a doorway into caringHow a giant consulting firm could better design their employee sustainability programme (hint: it involves having real tasks to do)Ecosystem restoration camps and place-based summer schoolsThe failings of snazzy car insulation made from myceliumAnd more ;)Episode Website LinkShow Links:John’s website Design for Multi Species Cities Regenerative Empathy Paper Sugi ProjectBack to the Land Summer School Urban Rural Connection in China Internet of natureLook out for meditations, poems, readings, and other snippets of inspiration in between episodes.Photo Credit: Jason Klassi via Getty ImagesMusic: Electric Ethnicity by Igor Dvorkin, Duncan Pittock, Ellie Kidd