A distinctive approach to Leadership the way Nature intended!

A new breed of leaders

The world needs a new breed of leaders – fearless leaders at that! At this critical point in our society where many of the large systems that we have counted on for so long – political, environmental & educational to name a few – are beginning to break down, the opportunity for people to come together to develop innovative local solutions has never been greater. The good news is that people from all walks of life are stepping up to lead the way. The bad news is that much of leadership development and support is stuck in the large organization, hierarchical mentality of the 20th century!

You, as emergent, local, dispersed, networked, change agents of the 21st century, require practices and support worthy of the change that you are bringing into the world. Nature-based leadership development is one such effort.

What is nature-based leadership development?

Nature-based leadership development (NBLD), originated by Dr. Beverly Winterscheid of the Center for Nature and Leadership, combines best practices from the fields of emotional intelligence (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2013) leadership development (Scharmer, 2008, 2013), positive psychology (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 1988), systems thinking (Meadows, 2008) and sensory immersion in Nature to help individuals identify and use their highest strengths in service to something larger than themselves.

This approach to personal and professional effectiveness has been used since 2005 by Professor Winterscheid as the foundation of the 2-year Personal Leadership Development Courses in the Sustainability MBA Programs of Marlboro College, VT and Bard College in Manhattan, NY. Private clients and business students, alike, have reported transformative shifts in their individual and collective consciousness, action, creativity and commitment through nature-based leadership development.

Why link nature and leadership development?

Nature is our first and greatest mentor

It provides models that we can easily emulate — research and practice has shown that time in Nature expands our creativity, clarity and intelligence — individually, and in groups.

Inspiration, Perspective & Motivation

Nature provides inspiration, perspective and motivation for stewardship of ourselves, our families and communities — which improves our quality of life.

Breakthrough Learning

Learning and change is best achieved in settings that facilitate reflection and new perspectives — especially the opportunity to periodically unplug from the demands of technology.

Become More Human

Time in nature helps us become more human. Our senses, that have been increasingly dulled by our urban lifestyles, gradually awaken to reveal the beauty, intelligence and wisdom that has existed before our eyes!


Nature’s magnificence reminds us of our place in the natural order — helping us to think and act in ever-widening circles, considering the impact of our decisions on the more-than-human world. This is human leadership at its best!

What the Research Says

The vital link between mind and nature

D. B. Smith, (2010) Is There an Ecological Unconscious? NY Times Sunday Magazine, 1/31/10.

Improvement in mental alertness & creativity

R. Kaplan and S. Kaplan (2008) Bringing out the best in people: A psychological perspective. Conservation Biology, 22(4), 826-829.

Improvement in employee health and physical fitness

P. F. Barlett (Ed.) (2005) Urban place: Reconnecting with the natural world. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Improvement in morale & workplace satisfaction

R. Kaplan and S. Kaplan. (1989) The experience of nature: A psychological perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Republished by Ann Arbor, MI: Ulrich’s, 1995.)

Sustainability & Conservation Behaviors

Sustainability and conservation behaviors are motivated by developing relationships with aspects of the natural work that attract individuals. Your Brain on Nature (Outside Magazine, 2011.)

Experience The Transformative Effects of Nature

These two videos by Alan Watts and John Milton exemplify the transformative effects of nature. Learn more about the fathers and mothers of awakening into nature-based leadership development.