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Wild & Alive – 8 Month Deep Nature Connection Journey

October 7, 2017 - June 3, 2018

 “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come truly alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come truly alive.” –Howard Thurman


  • Do you crave a sense of belonging to the natural world?
  • Are you curious to learn the skills of your ancestors, such as animal tracking, bird language and foraging for wild medicinal & edible plants ?
  • Are you stuck in an unfulfilling routine or feel drained by the fast pace of life?
  • Do you know children in one of our programs and long to relate to their experience of wildness, vitality and joy?


Come home to the Wild and discover what it means to be truly alive!  Explore the ancient skills of your ancestors in a deep and integrative way, becoming part of the natural world, while receiving the inherent wisdom that nature is waiting to share.

Whether you are new to Thriving Roots or have done our programs before, we will take you on a journey, learning new skills while strengthening your foundation.  Learn survival skills, forage for wild foods and medicines, learn natural crafts like weaving and cordage, track wild animals, discover the mysterious language of the birds, and deepen your understanding of place.  Become more confident and competent in the wilderness, while expanding your self-awareness and building community.


Throughout your 8-month journey you will:
  • Develop practices for integrating core routines of deep nature connection that have been shared and honed by visionary leaders and elders from all over the world
  • Gain many practical and transferable earth-based ancestral skills:
    • fire tending (including primitive fire)
    • shelter building
    • basket weaving
    • carving
    • animal tracking
    • bird language
    • wild crafting (foraging edible and medicinal plants)
  • Expand your senses and learn to trust your intuition
  • Experience regenerative culture and what it takes to live in healthy community
  • Discover and implement a powerful self-reflection tool that will help you deepen into your unique purpose and gifts
  • Experience nature-based ceremony and rites of passage
  • Awaken your true vitality and reactivate the sparkle in your eye
  • Have fun building long-lasting friendships with like-minded people


“If we surrendered to Earth’s intelligence we would rise up rooted, like trees.” – Rilke

Why this works

This is a time-tested mentoring model developed by Jon Young, founder of the 8Shields Institute. The model is based on powerful teachings passed on from indigenous elders from all over the world and has been applied for over 40 years in modern settings. It is a skillfully crafted holistic recipe of cultural elements and connective practices that enhance health, happiness and well-being in a deep embodied way. Thousands of people are a part of this international movement towards cultural repair and reconnection to nature.


Program Structure

8 weekend gatherings (16 days) on the first weekend of every month: 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. The first and last weekends will include an overnight camp-out on Saturday night.

  • Daily practices for each month between gatherings
  • Monthly assignments and mentoring questions
  • Weekly buddy sharing with other program participants
  • Rite of Passage Solo Experience in Spring
  • Four 1hr personal mentoring calls with Arnaud (optional add-on)


By choosing the one-on-one Mentoring Call option, you will:
  • Accelerate your connection journey with personalized reflections and skillful questions
  • Process your experiences and receive guidance towards the integration of the teachings.
  • Have the opportunity to discuss any questions that arise between gatherings
  • Receive support in moving through mental/emotional blocks



The results of these teachings can be life changing. Those who come with an open mind and commit fully to the practices will get the most results. The gatherings provide the embodied experience, and the monthly assignments, buddy sharing and personal mentoring provide the integration into our regular lives.

We practice what we preach. All the core routines we teach are an integral part of our own lives. We have been practicing them for many years and continue to do so.



Saturday & Sunday.  10am-4pm. Stay tuned for 2018/19 dates.



 $1850 – payable in 3 installments. Course fee covers all gatherings, course materials and monthly assignments. OR $2125 – includes four 1hr private mentoring calls with Arnaud Gagne.

Bonus! Sign up with a buddy and get our “Buddy Rate” of $1700 each! Contact info@thrivingroots.org with names of both participants to qualify for the buddy coupon code.

*Scholarship Opportunities available. Submit a Scholarship Application Online


Registration for  2017/18 is closed. Check back in the new year to register for 2018/19.


Core Instructors:

Alaina Hallett

Alaina is the Director and Lead Instructor for Thriving Roots Wilderness School. She is also a Full Time Instructor for the Wisdom of the Earth’s WOLF Program on Salt Spring Island. Alaina completed the Wilderness Awareness School’s 9-month Anake Outdoor Program in 2014 and the Anake Leadership Program in 2015 where she was immersed in deep nature connection, wilderness living and the art of nature mentoring.

Alaina has spent almost 10 years running nature connection programs for youth and adults, ranging from the wild forests of the Pacific Northwest, to inner-city public schools of Vancouver, to therapeutic horticulture programs at the BC Children and Women’s hospital. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Public Relations and Community Service as well as a Certificate in International Relations and French Language.

Alaina is passionate about nature mentoring and enabling students in their fullest and wildest potential. She is known for her love of music and song, enthusiastic love of nature and people, deep care and accountability and fascination with bird language.


Arnaud Gagne
Arnaud has been facilitating personal growth through deep nature connection for 15 years. Having worked with many well know organizations, including Outward Bound Canada, where he has honed his outdoor skills, advanced facilitation and program development. He’s also a graduate of Jon Young’s acclaimed Kamana native naturalist training. Many years of “dirt time” spent tracking, practicing ancestral skills and building connection to all living things makes his knowledge very real and embodied. He walks in two worlds, integrating ancient skills and wisdom into a modern context. He continues to be mentored in the art of culture repair and village building by Jon Young and the 8Shields Institute.
Arnaud is committed to helping restore a culture that prioritizes connection to nature, self and community for all ages and stages of life. His vision is that in every person is a unique gift that is like a bird song. When someone sings their song, concentric rings of beauty ripple out into the the world starting with their family and community, reaching all the way into the future generations. Aligning our hearts and minds with nature supported by a healthy mentoring culture helps us find that song which is an expression of our true self.


October 7, 2017
June 3
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