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whole-life skills for a radically different future

Wild Leaders Immersion Q+A

Michael IsmerioLuke Cannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOIL recently sat down with instructors Michael Ismerio (left) and Luke Cannon (right) to talk about our upcoming Wild Leaders Immersion, a weekly series of classes in deep nature connection and leadership running on Tuesdays from September 2017 to June 2018.

Asked about the relationship between leadership and ancestral earthskills, Michael and Luke responded, "As leaders, it is important for us not to get trapped in our minds. Ancestral skills work on us on many levels, connecting us with the Earth, specific species, and ancestral traditions. They bring us out of our minds and into our bodies and hearts. Physical edges are among the many aspects that we invite participants to examine on their leadership journey."

You can read the rest of Michael and Luke's responses about the Wild Leaders Immersion below. If you'd like to learn more about SOIL in general, contact us at info@schoolofintegratedliving.org or (828) 669-2204.


SOIL: What niche does the Wild Leaders Immersion fill that other programs may not?

Michael Ismerio and Luke Cannon: Wild Leaders sees a vital connection between community building, leadership, and ecoliteracy. Our program offers weekly sessions to promote a real sense of regularity of intention and familiarity within the group. The program is locally focused, allowing participants to deeply explore and connect to the wilds of their own backyard. Wild Leaders also provides an in-depth experience of mentoring within a community context. Connecting with and supporting each individual's passions and curiosities is fundamental to our program.

What is the relationship between leadership and nature connection?

In this day and age, a strong foundation in ecoliteracy and connection to the natural world are vital parts of being a competent and effective leader. As leaders, we need to role model what it looks like to have a deep relationship with the natural world. Additionally, we find that regular nature connection practices can offer the grounding and clarity that are essential to leadership.

The program covers a wide range of topics, from wild edibles to intrapersonal work. Why take such a broad approach?

Leaders need to have as broad a variety of tools as possible for facing the challenges of today’s world. In the years ahead, our hope is to take the seeds of connection and community building and spread them far and wide. All instructors bring their own sets of skills and passions. The fusion of these topics into a more holistic learning approach creates a community for learning, unlearning, and processing the feelings that come up as we face the challenges of our modern world.

Some of these skills, such as survival shelters and firemaking, are very physically oriented. Why include them in a class aimed to develop leadership?

We have found that ancestral skills provide us with far more than just survival. These skills, and the actions they have us embody, are profound pathways for deep connection to both the land and our ancient pasts. As leaders, it is important for us not to get trapped in our minds. Ancestral skills work on us on many levels, connecting us with the Earth, specific species, and ancestral traditions. They bring us out of our minds and into our bodies and hearts. Physical edges are among the many edges we invite participants to examine on their leadership journey.

What types of wild spaces and places will your program be held in?

We take our programs into a variety of beautiful forested ecosystems in the greater Asheville area. Western North Carolina is home to a vast diversity of forest types and natural ecosystems that we will experience first-hand within the program. Getting to intimately know the resplendent diversity of life in this area and its intricate ecological connections inspires our capacity to care for and protect what is here.

What do you plan to do on the overnight camping adventures that makes them different from normal program days?

Spending four straight days together will allow us to bond on a much deeper level than we are capable of doing during a day program. It will also allow us time to explore the magic of nighttime and darkness. The fall campout will focus on inspiration, motivation, group unity, and skills that connect us to the landscape. The spring campout will focus on inner tracking, exploration of self, and integration of the tools and awarenesses that we learned throughout the year.

Both the campouts and the weekly day programs are designed to harness the power and beauty of time in the wilds shared within a community setting. We greatly look forward to the feasts, songs, stories, and times shared around the fire. We hope you'll come join us!

Learn more about the Wild Leaders Immersion, which begins on September 12, at this program page. Remember to subscribe to SOIL’s newsletter for the latest program announcements, sustainability tips, and radical inspiration.

Check out Reaching Nature Connection

Join SOIL for two weekend explorations of how to incorporate nature into early childhood education. The conference is designed for beginners and experienced educators alike, as well as therapists, administrators, homeschool families, camp counselors, grandparents, and parents who have an interest in developmentally appropriate nature mentoring for children.

Learn More