Updated: Mar 18
There are principles and practices that can really help us to help ourselves and others on the journey of nature connection, and the benefits of sensory integration.
Ellen Haas approached me in 1994 after listening to me present on how to foster deep connection through mentoring in reliable and predictable manner with children and interested adults. I told stories of how my mentors from childhood took me on the nature connection journey, starting with my grandmothers in my early childhood, and growing to a powerful completion with my mentoring from Tom Brown, Jr. (1971 to 1979, a truly focused period of mentoring pre-dating the opening of Tom's Tracker School), and continuing with the elder tracker, Ingwe, (beginning in 1983 and continuing to 2005). There were several other traditional indigenous elders in my life who helped us over those decades prior to meeting Ellen.
As a writer herself, Ellen encouraged me to write a book about this collection of mentoring techniques. In fact, she offered to help write the book. We worked on this for 14 years until the publishing of Coyote's Guide. This was a very challenging undertaking. There were a lot of unconscious skills that I had developed from my own mentoring. We literally had to sometimes reverse engineer a successful mentoring moment in a debrief later in the day and ask "what made you think to do that, Jon?". There was a lot of creative tension between Ellen and I, and many others who helped us bring this book to completion. Evan McGown offered to write the narrative portion of the book based on the principles, and to relate the journey to things familiar to modern people. This was a very helpful evolution--gratitude to Evan for this inspiration.
Many of the practices and principles within the book were tested by groups of people all over the world. Ellen and others would collect the feedback from these folks, and from field staff at Wilderness Awareness School, the organization founded by Ingwe and I in 1983. In 1998, I passed the school onto the team I had been co-training and working with since 1994. I went on to bring these principles of connection modeling and deep nature connection mentoring to interested trainers all over the world.
"This is good medicine for nature deficit disorder."
From the Foreword of Coyote's Guide
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder
This book is filled with well-tested and ancient principles that truly support healthy nervous system development through connection to nature.