Facilitator training

Train as a Think like a Tree facilitator

Train as a Think like a Tree facilitator

This training aims to equip you to:

  • Run the Think like a Tree in your own venue
  • Integrate the programme and principles into your existing discipline, such as: wellbeing, education, counselling, complementary therapy, business or organisational management, workplace wellbeing, life-coaching, health, mental health, disability etc.
  • Adapt the programme for different audiences, such as children, specific needs groups.


The training will take the form of a weekend course (20,21,22  November 2020) at Whistlewood Common, south Derbyshire plus a portfolio.  Note: you will also need to complete a Think like a tree  programme prior to the training course.

An optional one-day course to adapt the Think like a Tree concept and content for children will also be scheduled early in 2021 (date tbc). This will be open to anyone who has completed the facilitator course. The children’s course will involve an additional short portfolio. This children’s course is suitable for anyone who has some experience of working with children.

Think like a tree facilitator’s course

Aims and Objectives

The course aims to equip participants with skills and knowledge to be able to:

  1. Teach the Think like a tree six-week programme
  2. Teach the programme in a three day (or other) format
  3. Adapt the programme to specific client groups as required – eg children, young adults, corporate groups, specific needs groups, wellbeing practice, 1:1 sessions.

Prior experience

  1. There are no fixed requirements but it is desirable to have experience in any of the following areas: education/training; outdoor learning; nature-inspired design (eg permaculture), wellbeing practice. We are also working with national organisations to roll the Think like a Tree concept and nature-inspired wellbeing and nature-inspired ways of living, so please get in touch if you would like to send some of your employees for training.


  1. A love of nature and the outdoors!
  2. A personal commitment to conscious/sustainable living
  3. A commitment to equal opportunities and inclusivity

Format (summary):

  1. Complete a Think like a tree programme (prior to the facilitator training weekend)
  2. Portfolio part 1 (personal design)
  3. Three day facilitator’s training course (15,16,17 November 2019)
  4. Portfolio part 2a
  5. Portfolio part 2b
  6. Children’s facilitator training (optional)
  7. Children’s portfolio (optional)

Format (detail):

  1. Complete a Think like a tree programme

Attend one of the Think like a tree programmes.

The course is approximately 16 hours long. Available over six weeks, three weeks or three day intensive.

  1. Portfolio part 1

Complete a personal design based on the learning and materials from the Think like a Tree programme. This design will be personal to you and could include: wellbeing, health, lifestyle, work, leisure, relationships etc. The design will include personal reflection and analysis.

Submit for assessment prior to attending the facilitator’s training course.

Estimate:  10 hours – 1 hour per session plus 4 hours write-up.

  1. Three day facilitator’s training course

Dates 2019:          20 – 22 November 2020   10am to 6pm (15,16th) 10am to 5pm (17th)

Whistlewood Common, Melbourne, South Derbyshire, DE73 8DH

Refreshments and vegan lunch included

This course will include:

Introductions, Ethics, environmental context, principles, aims and objectives

Basics of: inclusion/integration, diversity, catering for particular needs, accelerated learning, different learning styles, compassionate communication,

Examining the content of the Think like a Tree programme.

Choosing venues (including outdoor venues), creating a positive learning environment, the challenges of teaching outdoors, insurance, co-facilitation, evaluation,

Games and ice-breakers, dealing with difficulties, adapting the materials, sharing learning and materials, being part of the network.

Practice teach (delivering aThink like a tree taster session, in groups with feedback)

  1. Portfolio part 2a (assessed)

Ethics: understanding of ethics, how do you live an ethical life? Changes you commit to make. Thinking for the future.

Natural principles: Understanding of natural principles

Learning: Inclusion/integration, diversity, catering for particular needs, accelerated learning, different learning styles, building self-esteem and confidence for participants,

Communication: compassionate communication, co-facilitators

Venues: Indoor and outdoor venues, finding a venue, creating a positive learning environment, risk assessment,, insurance, assessment of your own venue

Trees: Basics of tree lifecycles, how a tree functions, basic tree identification and knowledge

Running a course: advance materials, marketing and publicity,

Evaluation: The importance of evaluation

Adapting materials (if appropriate): Adapt the materials for delivering to your audience and venue

Signposts to further learning: permaculture, biomimicry, forest school, facilitator’s trainings, compassionate communication

Self-evaluation and feedback – write an evaluation of your learning journey

Feedback: Seeking and receiving feedback

  1. Portfolio part 2b: Livelihood design or course delivery design (assessed as part of the portfolio)

Complete a design for delivering your course, and/or for your own livelihood (to include course delivery). You may want to set out how you are going to deliver one course, or you can design how that course will integrate into your overall life (work, leisure, commitments etc).

Total portfolio time needed: This will very much depend on existing experience – eg teaching/education,  wellbeing practice, forest school, outdoor learning, permaculture. None of these are required, but it will be useful if you have some experience in one or more relevant fields.

We would expect the full portfolio to be submitted by the end of February, and must be completed and assessed prior to you teaching of any courses yourself.

Children’s facilitator’s training (optional extra).

Date: early in 2021

One day on how to adapt the materials for children. An additional (assessed) portfolio will follow the children’s training.

Please note that you must have completed the facilitator’s course to attend this training.


The trainers for the facilitator’s course are: Sarah Spencer and Milly Carmichael.

Sarah Spencer

Sarah is passionate about woodlands, trees and all things natural and grows food and cut flowers on the nine-acre smallholding in south Derbyshire that she has shared with my family for the last 15 years.  She has planted woodlands, forest gardens, created an oasis for wildlife. Sarah has always felt most at home in the woods, growing up in ancient Charnwood Forest, and now lives in the National Forest, a new woodland being created around her. 

Sarah holds a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, having completed detailed designs from everything from her own land, a school garden, a community woodland and, moving into social permaculture – her own health.

Sarah is a founder director and lead designer of Whistlewood Common community woodland social enterprise.  Sarah trained as a forest school leader and was formerly a caseworker providing legal advice and representation to refugees.

Sarah founded Think like a tree in 2017 after recognising that nature gives us the tools for better wellbeing, and realising that many of the world’s problems (personal, social and environmental) might be solved by supporting people to reconnect with, and learn from, the rest of the natural world.

She is the author of the book: Think like a Tree: The natural principles guide to life.

Milly Carmichael

Milly offers training for individuals, service providers, for education  and  for corporate clients.

Milly lives in Marlborough in Wiltshire and teaches (including the Think like a tree course) in a wide radius around her home area.

Milly is a trained facilitator and a perpetual student of permaculture. She also practices and shares the skills of solution-focused & compassionate communication. She has a background in nursing, occupational health and youth work, with most of her clinical experience focused on sexual health, substance use and associated mental health and wellbeing.

Milly has also studied horticulture and is a gardener. She draws on the myriad ways that soil, growing, weather and land management offer us analogy, metaphor and direct comparison to inform our personal and organisational growth and development.

Milly seeks to contribute to a broader understanding and practice of systems thinking, nature connection, power-sharing, collaboration, cooperation, resilience and sustainability in our education, business, heath and social care, criminal justice, retail, food and entertainment systems and industries.

Think like a tree network

On completion of the training and assessment, participants will be able to join the Think like a tree network, which will give access to updated resources, group support and resources shared by the network. There is an annual charge for being part of the network and operating under the Think like a Tree brand.

Think like a tree: The natural principles guide to life

Sarah’s book sets out the natural principles, and how they can be applied to a wide range of circumstances. The book will be included in the facilitator’s course. If you wish to read the book prior to the November facilitator’s training then please let us know and we can send you a link to the ebook.

Accommodation: If you are coming from further away there is camping at Whistlewood Common (if you are brave in November!), or lots of lovely local accommodation in Melbourne and surrounding places in South Derbyshire. Sarah offers Airbnb in a self-catered cottage at her farmhouse nearby.

How to book: 

  1. Please book the Think like a Tree programme of your choice via separate links
  2. Book the Facilitator training (here)
  3. Book the children’s training (optional) (here)

When booking please state in the notes at the checkout which Think like a Tree programme you have booked (or send us an email).


Please let us know if you have any specific requirements for example disability, health or learning style and we will try our best to accommodate.

We’re sorry but there are no reduced price places on this course.