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Image by Caleb Woods


with Arnaud Gagne

Take your nature-based education program to the next level!

A custom training program in the 8 Shields model designed to empower deep nature connection  

As Forest School facilitators, environmental and outdoor educators we care deeply and understand the importance of connecting children with nature.

We know that nature connection can help them be the best of themselves and become stewards of the Earth. Getting to know the beings we share the world with and having free play experiences in nature can be powerfully transformative experience for children of the technological age.


Why do we need the 8 Shields if we are already providing nature connection programming?

The difference is:

Deep nature connection is recognized by long lasting qualities we refer to as

The 8 Attributes of Connection

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Deep nature connection happens when we awaken our original design as human beings

It is ALWAYS the result of
strategic mentoring and effective living culture

What is the

8 Shields model?

The 8 Shields is a set of universal design, mentoring and community building principles informed by natural cycles gathered by Jon Young over 40+ years of research and experience. 

These principles form a cultural map for regenerating a deep connection to nature, self and community at all ages and stages of life.

You can read more about the 8 Shields origins and design principles at

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Arnaud Gagne. Nature connection mentor, tracker, village builder, facilitator. Apprentice to master tracker Jon Young leader of global nature connection movement.

Hi, I'm Arnaud

I've been applying the 8 Shields design principles for 20 yrs. I've gone deep on the journey myself and deep nature connection has permeated all aspects of my life. I have and continue to mentor many people who are now in leadership positions in various nature schools. For 4 years now I've received ongoing direct mentoring from Jon Young. I want to help you:

  • Learn to effectively design with the 8 Shields model for consistent deep nature connection outcomes

  • Help you and your staff deepen your own journey. Your deep embodiment of this way of life will transfer to the children you mentor, I guarantee you!

  • Apply the map to design for a regenerative village culture around your nature program


Mentoring with Arnaud activates the symbiotic connection we cultivate with nature… As soon as we come in contact with Arnaud, we feel the awakening of innate faculties and sensitivities that have long laid dormant. Our interactions have facilitated our family’s transition towards a more deeply connected daily life. We have done this for ourselves, for others and for nature. Thank you Arnaud, we’ll see you again soon!

- Laurianne Robichaud, La Tribu des Bois

Waterville, QC

How will we do this?

We can provide:

  • A single or multi-day staff training

  • A family friendly experience and training for parents

  • Follow-up and distance mentoring for key stakeholders

What does it look like?

  • Storytelling infused presentations deliver the theory in an engaging format

  • Handouts and recommended resources help with integration and application of the material

  • Experiential sessions in nature provide real opportunities to experience mentoring and living culture 

  • Facilitated design sessions can really deepen your organization’s application of the model

  • Distance follow-up and mentoring for the stakeholders greatly increases the effectiveness and success of a project

  • Deep nature connection mentoring for staff and directors is essential to the ability to pass it on to the children

  • Basic training for parents helps them support the children’s journey outside of programs

Who pays for the training?

Some organizations cover the training. We can also organize a workshop for which the participants pay or it can be a mix of both.

The 8 Shields model is an extensive and comprehensive design tool. It forms a lens through which to look at what your organization is already doing in order to optimize your effectiveness in generating deep nature connection.


Connection Pathways is dedicated to uplifting this powerful work across Atlantic Canada and beyond.

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Thank you! We'll be in touch as soon as possible

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