Meet the Facilitators

Our Facilitators

All our facilitators have undertaken the Think like a Tree facilitator programme and completed their portfolios.

You’ll see that we have a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and interests and operate in many different locations.

Facilitators incorporate Think like a Tree into their work in a variety of ways: facilitating/co-facilitating Think like a Tree programmes and workshops; offering workshops and courses in their specialist field; incorporating Think like a Tree into their coaching or other business. 

It’s our mycelial network with exciting emergent collaborations as new facilitators join. 

Sarah Spencer is the founder of Think like a Tree and author of the books Think like a Tree: The natural principles guide to life and Inspired by Trees: creative workbook.

Her background includes work as a legal representative for refugees, but after the charity she worked for folded, she returned to her first love – nature and the environment.

She lives on a beautiful smallholding in the National Forest in Derbyshire, UK with her family and discovered permaculture design as a means to design her own land, leading to the co-founding and development of a community woodland social enterprise.

She holds a Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and is a Level 3 Forest School Leader.

She initially developed the Think like a Tree natural principles and design cycle to overcome her own health struggles as she lives with a chronic illness. Her journey has now led her to share her insights, knowledge and experience to support and train other people.

You can read her full bio and find out more about the bespoke talks and workshops she offers here.

Milly Carmichael is a trained facilitator and perpetual student of permaculture. She has also undergone training in solution-focused practice and compassionate communication and seeks to deepen and extend her skills and practice in both.

She has a background in nursing 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, health and social care, criminal justice, retail, food and entertainment systems and industries.

Samantha Woods has spent over 35 years exploring different ways that organisations and individuals can live simple and fulfilling lives, without damaging themselves or the more-than-human world. 

Sam has been an active member of the Transition Town Movement since 2008 and, as part of Transition Leicester, was involved in the creation of a number of community enterprises.

She qualified as a Permaculture Teacher in 2013 and as a Think Like a Tree Facilitator in 2019. 

Progressing from an early career in which she tried to influence large corporations to be less environmentally damaging, Sam has focused increasingly on empowering action by individuals and grassroots organisations.

Her business, Seed of the Forest is the culmination of her commitment to the ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares in her own life.

Felicity Towns (PGDTLLS, PhD Geography, MA Tourism & Leisure, BSc hon Ecology) spent 10 years working in social housing developing community projects.

For the last 10+ years Felicity has worked for the Environmental Education Project based at Rosliston Forestry Centre in The National Forest in South Derbyshire, developing and managing a range of educational projects, becoming a Forest School level 3 leader and a certified Forest Bathing guide. She is inspired by nature and learning about natural principles to guide her life. She enjoys family time (with her husband and 2 daughters), trail running, looking after her 2 pet rabbits and making nature inspired knitting and crochet creations.

Rosliston Forestry Centre offer Think like a Tree workshops for adults and families. They also offer workshops in other local venues, such as schools and forest schools. You can contact them here.


Clare Hopkins (BA Honours Fine Art, PGCE in Further Higher and Adult Education Education) has over 16 years experience in education working as an art teacher and currently as an environmental education facilitator at Rosliston Forestry Centre.

She is also a volunteer cub leader at her local group and has a husband, three children and a pet cat and enjoys nature and all things creative, particularly sewing and painting. Long standing health issues were progressing and the “Think like a Tree” course came as an opportunity at the right time and helped her to review work and family life and what was really important, to find strategies for coping with challenges that lay ahead. Following principles that nature uses to rest, be creative and be productive in the best possible way have been inspiring…

JK ( Jennie- Kate) McQuinn (formerly McCreight) is the founder of Where the Mind Grows and lead coach and facilitator of the Where the Mind Grows coaching programmes.  Living in West Yorkshire. 

With a background working in mental health, employability  and leadership in third and private sectors as well as working in Public Health.  JK established her coaching businesses  driven by the strong belief that coaching leads people to expand their horizons and create opportunities to enhance life. 

Alongside being a Master Practitioner in Neurolinguistics Programming, Advanced IEMT practitioner and with over 15 years coaching experience.  JK went on to study ecopsychology and qualified as a Facilitator in the Think Like a Tree Programme.

Her business, Where the Mind Grows, offers coaching for individuals, teams, organisations and workplaces.

Jess Down has always had a love for nature and helping people. She studied Environmental Design and Conservation at University and has been involved in several conservation projects and tree planting schemes. She enjoys growing food and is always looking for ways to live more lightly on the planet. Jess previously worked in the NHS and enjoyed helping people through challenging times. She is also a reiki practitioner. She lives in South Yorkshire and enjoys wild swims and walking in the Peak District.

Jess attended a Think Like a Tree workshop in summer 2022 and found the design process helpful during a challenging time.  She followed her interest and completed her facilitator training in 2023. She now plans to weave her two passions of nature and helping others together by offering Think Like a Tree workshops at events and festivals to introduce the ideas of the course, create opportunities to deepen relationships with the natural world and help others to use the natural principles in life. She is committed to learning and intends to study Ecotherapy and Permaculture Design to broaden her knowledge and contribute to a healthier, happier world.

Amy Ward is the founder of The Permacare Project and the Light Touch Integration therapeutic coaching programmes. Living between Scotland, Wales, and South England, Amy lives a fairly nomadic lifestyle, thriving on land-based living. 

Amy practiced as a Psychologist with the NHS for 9 years, specialising in work with children and families, before she went solo in setting up The Permacare Project. Amy is extremely passionate about the convergence of spirituality and science with ‘Nature as Guru’ to provide a profound and no-nonsense based approach to exploring and healing cultural trauma through the voice of the living world and Nondual Therapy. 

The heart of Amy’s work recognises that healing and creating are synonymous and that those struggling with mental and emotional difficulties are full of genius, holding important wisdom for our emerging culture. With nondual therapy, nature reconnection, and heart-mind integration. Amy firmly believes that we can emerge from the chrysalis into a more expansive and aligned way of living, working, and being.

She offers group workshops, one-to-one nondual therapy, self-enquiry, ego-integration, and therapeutic coaching. Amy also provides consultation services to practitioners and organisations who desire to integrate nonduality and nature connection into their current practice.

Ann Dean is a trained facilitator and student of permaculture. She also has studied garden design, using this to redesign a few gardens, now concentrating on regenerating soil and creating resiliant, largely perennial , beautiful and edible gardens. She is also the happy owner a small woodland where she goes to hug trees, pray, plant woodland shrubs and flowers and harvest wood for all sort of projects.

She started her working career as a doctor, training as a GP and then going out to South Africa to a rural bush hospital. While working there she started an AIDS charity which grew so big that she gave up her day job to run it. Returning the the UK in 2011, Ann took up various medical roles, but found she was much happier being out in nature than stuck indoors so left in 2022.

As well as facilitating Think like a tree, Ann is bringing together her Christian faith and permaculture principles to strengthen the Christian response to the destruction of the planet.

Jude Casson is passionate about empowering people to live well by deepening their connection to nature. She worked as a doctor in the NHS for over 25 years and spent increasing time wishing she could be working more outdoors with her patients to improve their health. Discovering permaculture, Think like a Tree and the joys of her local community garden over the last five years have all helped Jude’s recovery from burnout and continue to feed her roots.

Jude is part of Graceworks, a permaculture project which aims to enable communities to live happy, healthy lives within the natural limits of our planet. Co-housing is the newest part of the project which is thriving using One Planet Living as the framework.

Jude is lucky enough to live close to several beautiful green spaces in Leicester City, and as an experienced group facilitator for university student wellbeing, she is looking forward to branching out and holding Think like a Tree groups in the Attenborough Arboretum from summer 2024.

Would you like to join our expanding network of facilitators? Click here to find out more. 
All facilitators operate as independent practitioners, with permission of Think like a Tree.