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whole-life skills for a radically different future

Reaching Nature Connection: Storytelling

East Coast Outdoor Conference for Early Childhood Educators, Teachers, Counselors, Parents, and Mentors
April 7–8, 2018
9 am–5 pm Saturday
9 am–4 pm Sunday

Reaching nature connectionat Earthaven Ecovillage
near Asheville, NC

Collaboratively taught by Erin Boehme, Kelly Villarruel, and Lia Grippo

Join us for hands-on learning in Nature's playground! Gain tools, songs, games, and much more while exploring how stories can contain lessons of nature connection.

This conference is co-sponsored by The Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers. Be sure to also check out the second weekend of the conference on April 14–15, "Fire, Knives, Sticks, and Bones," which focuses on risky play in nature.

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​- Participant in June 2016 conference in Santa Barbara


About the Conference

Reaching Nature Connection is an annual outdoor conference based on forest schools, wilderness awareness, and 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.

Circle Under the Oaks


Location and Accommodations

Founded in 1994, Earthaven Ecovillage is located on 329 acres in culturally rich, biologically diverse western North Carolina, about 50 minutes southeast of Asheville and 30 minutes southeast of Black Mountain. Surrounded by like-minded, ecologically oriented neighbors, Earthaven is home to 80+ residents, including students and visitors. The community is dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.

Earthaven Ecovillage is off-grid and therefore not supplied by public utilities. However, electricity is available from solar panels and two small hydropower stations. There is minimal internet access and no cell phone reception, although landline phones are available for short phone calls or emergencies. Being at Earthaven offers a balance between comfort and adventure.

Several accommodation options are available for conference attendees. On site, participants can camp at the Earthaven campground or stay in either shared or private indoor lodgings provided by Earthaven community members. Black Mountain, roughly 30 minutes away, is the closest town providing standard rental options. The Light Center, approximately 20 minutes from Earthaven, offers accommodations and a guest kitchen. Please indicate your choice in your registration and online shopping cart.

  • Camping: 1 night $35, 2 nights $40, 3 nights $45
  • Shared indoor lodging: 1 night $50, 2 nights $70, 3 nights $90
  • Private indoor lodging: 1 night $80, 2 nights $115, 3 nights $135

Food

Delicious, organic, vegan and gluten-free meals (dairy options on the side) are available on site, prepared by talented culinary artists from the Earthaven community. The full meal plan includes lunch and dinner on Saturday plus breakfast and lunch on Sunday; a lunches-only option is also available. Please indicate your choice in your registration and online shopping cart.

  • Full meal plan (lunch/dinner Saturday, breakfast/lunch Sunday): $48
  • Lunches only: $24

How to Secure Your Space

Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. SOIL anticipates full enrollment. Be sure to also check out the second weekend of the conference on April 14–15, "Fire, Knives, Sticks, and Bones," which focuses on risky play in nature.

Register: Fill out the registration form. Please give yourself plenty of time to complete the application, because it cannot be saved until submitted.

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CONFERENCE Tuition: Tuition for the conference is offered on a sliding scale, and two sets of early-bird discounts are available.

  • Earliest Bird Tuition (four spaces remaining): $200–$275
  • Early Bird Tuition (next five spaces): $225–$300
  • General Tuition: $250–$325

Current ECE students are eligible for a reduced tuition scale of $175–$275. This discount is limited to the first five current ECE students; please contact SOIL for more information. 

Groups of three or more participants are also eligible for a 10% discount on total conference tuition. Please contact SOIL to confirm that space is available for your group. Discounts may not be combined.

Payment: Payment can be submitted by check, money order, PayPal, or credit card. If paying online, use the widget below to select your tuition, food, and lodging options, then select "Add to Cart." After the page refreshes, select the "Checkout with PayPal" option and continue through the PayPal website.

Reaching Nature Connection Storytelling Conference
Reaching Nature Connection Storytelling Conference
SOIL offers sliding scale tuition for this conference as part of our effort to create affordable, broadly accessible programs. Please consider your needs and resources to determine what might be a stretch, but not a strain, for you to invest in this personal learning opportunity. On-site food and lodging are available at an additional cost.
Price: $200.00
Tuition Sliding Scale $200–$275 :
Food :
Lodging :

If paying offline, please calculate your total for tuition, food, and lodging using the online widget. Send your check or money order payable to the following, and note which conference you are registering for in the memo field:

School of Integrated Living
11 Full Circle Trail
Black Mountain, NC 28711

Crowdfunding and Fundraising: Check out our Crowdfunding and Fundraising page for creative ways to engage your community and launch a "Community Supported Education" campaign. This approach can help support your investment in yourself, your community, the planet, and future generations.


Cancellation Policy

A refund of your registration fees (minus a $50 cancellation fee) is available until March 15, 2018. No refunds are available after March 15, 2018. If SOIL cancels this course for any reason whatsoever, 100% of your tuition will be refunded.

Contact Gabriel at connect@schoolofintegratedliving.org with registration questions.

Check out Helpers Mentoring Society

Salvatore Gencarelle, a friend and colleague of SOIL, recently launched an educational organization called Helpers Mentoring Society. His courses focus on cultural ceremony and draw from nearly two decades of immersion in the wisdom of indigenous cultures across the globe.

Learn More