Training course for Youth workers


nature-based practices for personal and professional development of youth workers

Gudevica village, Bulgaria, “School in Nature” educational centre

04 – 12.05.2022

 LIVING NATURE Learning for change


For more information reed below


LIVING NATURE is a training course targeting personal development practitioners (trainers, youth workers, social workers, mentors, school teachers and councillors). The main intention of the project is to equip the participants with successful tools and methods to support their personal and professional development, thus providing higher quality value-based youth work.

The training process is focused on discovering and experiencing nature-based practices for personal and professional development of the participants. The areas from these practices originate are Positive psychology, Eco-Soul centric human development, Eco-psychology, Depth psychology, Eco-therapy and Nature-based learning.

The general background of the programme is based on the work of the American psychologist and therapist Bill Plotkin. Through the last 40 years, Bill and his colleagues in Animas Valley Institute developed two models that depict the very depths of human psyche – Eco-Soulcentric developmental Wheel and Nature Based map of Human psyche. These two models represent the very essence of what we humans are born to deliver in this world, both physically and spiritually. The models describe the ideal template for human development, if it goes in harmony with Nature (inner and outer) and offers a map of all inherited resources everyone is born with.

In our modern westernized world, unfortunately we are living in industrial consumer-conformist society where the free will, expression, wildness, talents and values are controlled and directed by social norms and economical tools. The human nature is trapped in a materialistic prison.

All these lead to gradually in last few centuries of very deep loss of our connection with nature. Thus developing a long list of psychological deficits and health problems. Modern youth are separated from the wild world they are born to grow in and are surrounded by electronical devices and screens. Modern humans are bombarded by negative information and forced to live as consumers and gears in the big industrial machine. At the same time, nature is treated simply as a source of goods and materials. Humanity have lost their very respect to the Nature we are coming from and we cannot survive without.


An alternative to the current industrial consumer model of Western civilization we find in the model of Bill Plotkin – Eco-Soulcentric developmental Wheel. The model serves as a guide to deep cultural transformation of society bringing back to life the values of mutual respect, community, responsibility, acceptance, purposeful life and diversity. This map charts the development through life of a human being’s consciousness and ego if this person develops “soul-centrically’, as opposed to “ego-centrically”, and nature-connected. This way the development of a person becomes focused on facilitating the emergence of their innate gifts and soul-purpose and developing the resources to be in reciprocal conversation with Nature and Culture.


The second model – Nature-based Map of Human Psyche – provides us with an understanding of what is hidden within every human as a resources and capacities which are waiting to be cultivated and used to enrich our individual lives. The map also offers us a way into identifying and transforming our conditioned patterns of behaviour that originated in our childhood wounding, in order to free our adult life from these unconscious, life unserving strategies.

Both models provide a number of practices, which offer transformative individual and group processes leading to growth and discovery of human’s full potential.


This course will offer you…

Deep personal journey following

the Nature-based map of human psyche and

Ecocentric developmental Wheel


The training approach combines nature-based methods, mindfulness practices, developmental psychology and somatic practices. Тhe process is woven around six pillars, collected in the abbreviation SPIRAL.

SPIRAL stands for the basic principles that unite the methods included in the process:

  • Spiritual development
  • Positive worldview
  • Interconnection with all natural beings
  • Resilience building
  • Active role in the community
  • Life purpose identification


  • Exploring models and theories from Ecocentric development and Nature-based learning;
  • Practicing nature based methods which provoke self-discovery, thus facilitating personal and professional development;
  • Developing a personal relationship with nature (deep nature connection) and cultivating the ecological consciousness;
  • To discover practices and guidelines for further use with specific youth target groups (NEET, marginalized, hard to reach, in a risk of radicalization);
  • To create environment for development of social core values which youth workers can foster with their target groups: compassion, support, unity, respect, empathy, inclusion, acceptance;
  • To empower youth workers to adopt and create their own practices based on personal strengths, talents and preferences in the field of personal development.


  • Awareness of one’s own being (who they are, what is their essence, how they can make their life journey in a more genuine and meaningful way);
  • Exploration and cultivation of the inner resources by working with the archetypes: Nurturing Generative Adult, Wild Indigenous One, Innocent/Sage, The Muse Beloved;
  • Confidence, courage, empathy, naturalness, authenticity, clarity, wildness, Imagination etc.;
  • Authentic and empathic connection with others (integrating the principles of listening and speaking from the heart).


  • Self-discovery and resourcefulness – understanding about ourselves and supporting others’ self-development process;
  • Physical exercises – practices based on yoga and other traditions that can be implemented in everyday life;
  • Meditation and mindfulness – tools for focus and balance of attention, emotions and consciousness;
  • Outdoor creativity and nature – connecting with the self, nature, other people, the outside world, organize open air learning and creativity activities;
  • Dance and movement – embodiment as a method for deepening connection to oneself and provoking kinaesthetic learning experiences;
  • Spirituality – exploring secret-sacred elements sharing experiences, understanding human spirituality in different cultural backgrounds, exploring rituals and ceremonies.


  • Working with values
  • Nature based methods
  • Experiential learning
  • Methods for self-development
  • Workshops development and delivery
  • Solo time in nature
  • The Way of Council
  • Practices for wholing and self-healing
  • Living as a community (cleaning, cooking etc.)



You can apply for this training course if you are from any EU Member state (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, France, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden) or any of the associated with the Erasmus + Programme countries (North Macedonia, Serbia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Turkey).


Dates of the course: 04 – 12.05.2022

Arrival day: 04.05.2022 before 12:00 (AM) in Sofia

Departure day: 12.05.2022 after 2:00 (PM) from Sofia.

Participant profile:
  1. RELEVANT PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: people who have experience in youth work. The participants should have one of the following roles: youth workers, youth leaders, educational and career counsellors, teachers, general educators, trainers, mentors, coaches, educational nature guides.
  2. MOTIVATION: people who feel a strong calling to participate in this course and have strong and relevant motivation for joining the process. The motivation should be a blend of personal and professional factors. We are looking for people who feel comfortable with being in nature (as the topic will be addressed through nature-based practices) and who can immerse in natural learning environments.

The participants must be over 18 years and have a good level of English.



If you want to participate in this training course, we invite you to fill in the application form available at this link: APPLICATION FORM


The deadline for applications submission is 15 February 2022 (included).

The selections results will be published on 25 February 2022.

Learn more about the venue – training center “School in nature” – Training center

Download the detailed Call for participants – Call for participants Living Nature


Ognian Gadoularov – project coordinator and trainer  +359 896 756 267




The trainers’ team has a rich history in providing life changing experiences in safe but challenging learning environments. The guides of the learning process are professional youth workers, international trainers, persons with strong backgrounds in human development and psychology, with high ethics and working principles. The team is composed of:


 LIVING NATURE Learning for changeOGNIAN GADOULAROV (Bulgaria) is a passionate naturalist, rock climber and expert of wildlife, birds and forests. For 11 years, he has been working in the field of non-formal education and personal development. Ognian supports people to unfold their full potential in life and to discover themselves. He is a trainer with interests and experience in meditation, yoga and energy practices. His favourite topics are personal development, self-discovery, responsible consumption, sustainability and environmental protection. He lives as an activist for cultural evolution, re-sacredtising life and reconnecting people with more-than-human-world. As a participant in the Great Turning, he likes to be known as Fire of Life and The Tree Listener, dedicated to the Great work for fair future for all living and nonliving beings on Earth.

Ognian is part of Nature-based Wholing and Self-healing Wild Mind Training Programme (WMTP) at Bill Plotkin’s Animas Valley Institute, Colorado, USA.



 LIVING NATURE Learning for changeLUCIE KLEIN (France) At the heart of Lucie lies a commitment to serve the soulful unfolding of all beings. From the red rock canyons of Utah to the dark forests of Transylvania, she has tracked and crafted her soul gifts. As a Chrysotherapist, Soul Initiation Guide and Geomancer, she dances with the veil between the worlds, exploring the subtle movements and voices of the human heart and soul, listening for their echo in the voice of the Earth. She is a lover of the wild, a guardian of thresholds and a guide through life-passages. Through her deep listening and fierce loving, she tracks people’s mystery stories throughout life and guides them to awaken to their soul-rooted purpose.

Lucie is part of the Nature-based Soul Initiation Guiding Soulcraft Apprenticeship and Initiation Programme (SAIP) at Bill Plotkin’s Animas Valley Institute, Colorado, USA. She has over 10 years of experience in guiding groups and individuals in transformational, nature and arts-based settings. She has pioneered several nature-based healing and wholing and soul initiation programs for communities across Europe and Latin America. She is the founding director of Via Magus ( .



 LIVING NATURE is a project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, thus all the activities, accommodation and food are 100% covered by the EU grant. The travel costs will be reimbursed to the participants after the course in the amounts limit according the Erasmus + regulations. Additional reimbursement will be provided for the expenses related to international travel regulation due to COVID-19 measures (testing, medical certificates etc.)


If you plan to arrive earlier or leave later your expenses for accommodation out of the days of the training will not be reimbursed by the organizers.

  • Taxi fees;
  • Accommodation for extra days in Bulgaria;
  • Insurance

There is NO participation fee for this training course.