Outdoor Facilitation for Sustainability

Are you passionate about the outdoors and sustainability? Do you want to learn how to facilitate outdoor experiences that inspire people to live sustainably – and encourage them to lead others to do so too?

This innovative course is the first of its kind in New Zealand Aotearoa and Australia. It will give you the confidence, practical skills and understanding to design and facilitate outdoor experiences that encourage people to live sustainably. The course will also explore how sustainability leadership and stakeholder engagement can be catalysed and supported through outdoor programmes.

It offers theoretical frameworks supported by extensive research, deep personal experiences and a pragmatic approach to programme design and facilitation.

The course is based on three, one-week residential blocks at our Tongariro Centre blended with group and one-to-one online learning – delivered over one-year. The format is specially designed to be accessible to anyone working full, or part-time.

Graduates receive a professional development certificate for 240 hours of study and will complete formal outdoor leadership (NZOIA) and Outdoor First Aid (2-day) qualifications during the course – or can opt-out of these elements if already qualified.

By the end of this course you will be qualified and confident to lead others outdoors towards sustainability outcomes.

This course is for anyone interested in working with outdoor experiences to encourage sustainable lifestyles and leadership.

This includes sustainability professionals (corporate, public sector and NGO), outdoor leaders, teachers, lecturers, researchers, leadership coaches, social workers, youth workers, rangers and conservationists – as well as those interested in commissioning nature-based change programmes for sustainability and leadership.

It is recommended that you bring around three years experience in some related form of professional practice – working with groups or one-to-one, indoors or out. However, each application is considered individually, so please do ask if you’re not sure.

During this course you will learn:

  • Theory: how and why outdoor experiences can encourage sustainable living and leadership;
  • Frameworks: how to connect personal wellbeing, social change and ecological issues together, to deliver multiple outcomes simultaneously;
  • Activities: a selection of practices and activities that deliver sustainability outcomes through outdoor experiences;
  • Design: to design your own outdoor sustainability programmes, specific to you own professional context and aspirations;
  • Facilitation: appropriate styles and techniques for facilitating sustainability outcomes outdoors;
  • Psychology: psychological insights into complex relationship dynamics and how they are impacted by being outdoors;
  • Professional practice: examples and case studies of outdoor programmes for sustainability, to stimulate ideas and offer insights;
  • Professionalism: about ethics and professionalism in outdoor facilitation for sustainability;
  • Culture: about the confluence of nature, culture and indigene and how these can inform programme design and facilitation;
  • Self-care: strategies and techniques for self-care and supervision;
  • Resources: where to access resources and networks;
  • Risk management: how to assess and manage psycho-social risk;
  • Liability: an overview of the issues surrounding liability and insurance;
  • Career planning: how to work out your next steps towards professional practice, or towards further enriching your existing practice.
  • Outdoor Leadership: NZOIA Bush Leader training and certification (if not already qualified)*
  • Outdoor First Aid: training and certification (if not already qualified)*

* unless opted out of these elements.

Research shows that people who feel connected to nature are more likely to behave in pro-ecological ways. However, being outdoors in nature alone does not necessarily make people feel more connected to it. Ensuring that a sense of connection occurs takes deliberate design and skilful facilitation.

This course combines outdoor learning, with psychology and ecology. A careful sequence of outdoor activities and practices build into a deeply powerful experience of nature. Participants are left with a strong sense of connection to the rest of nature, which is translated into personal and social change through psychologically savvy facilitation techniques.

This course gives a first-hand experience of the process before taking a deep-dive into how to design and facilitate it.

The course involves three, five-day residentials, four one-to-one tutorials and four 90 minute group webinars online – over a one year period. There are also guided readings & assignments.

The course includes 210 hours of total contact time on a maximum 1:10 ratio including,

  • 15 days and 15 nights of catered accommodation;
  • six hours of live online group webinars, recorded to watch-again;
  • four hours of online one-to-one tutorials;
  • access to a private online library of instantly accessible PDF downloads;
  • an online Course Guide;
  • access to a private email group;
  • CPD certification and;
  • email support.

NZOIA Bush Leader and Outdoor First Aid (PHEC 24hr) certification is a standard requirement to graduate from this course. You can complete the course without these but you will not receive a CPD certificate until they have been completed.

You may add the NZOIA training and assessment elements to your course. These will then be delivered at Tongariro as two separate additional courses.

We will provide advice on how to complete the first aid requirement with our recommended supplier at a choice of locations around New Zealand. This element will not be offered directly by us.

If you are not intending to work in New Zealand, you will need to demonstrate equivalent qualifications for your chosen region of operation to graduate.

To get the most out of the course, it is recommended that you bring a minimum of three years professional experience of working with groups. This does not need to be outdoors.

This course has been developed through over 20 years of international research, development, post-graduate teaching and hands-on professional practice.

It takes a unique approach to sustainability and leadership, which combines psychology with ecology and outdoor learning. The approach is process-focussed and recognises that the ways we behave toward the rest of nature are at their root down to our own sense of self. Of who – and what – we think we are. Not what we know.

Many of the techniques and frameworks explored on this course were used on the Natural Change Project for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) between 2008 and 2011. This resulted in some profound and far-reaching changes, including new government policy on sustainability in Scotland – recognised by UNESCO in 2015 as making a global contribution to learning for sustainability.

Includes: 210 hours (APPROX) of total contact time on a maximum 1:10 ratio; 12 nights single-room accommodation; residential catering; group outdoor equipment and personal safety equipment; four hours of online one-to-one tutorials; four hours of live online group webinars, recorded to watch-again; access to an extensive library of resources; online course guide; access to a private email group; CPD certification and; email support.

Excludes: Travel to/from residential venue; personal travel and possessions insurance; personal outdoor clothing. NZOIA Bush Leader Training course (3-days)*; NZOIA Bush Leader Assessment course (2-days)*; Outdoor First Aid course (PHEC 2-days)**.

*prerequisites for graduation which can be added into the course as options, at additional cost.

**prerequisite for graduation which can be undertaken independently at locations around New Zealand with our recommended supplier.

Read our Sustainability Charter