Nature Based Leadership Institute

Applying Nature’s Lessons to Leadership and Life

The Antioch University New England Nature Based Leadership Institute links scholarship, practice, demonstration, and inspiration. The Institute’s founders and collaborators comprise leaders who embrace and practice the tenets of Nature-Based Leadership, inspire, educate, and develop values-based leaders and leadership committed to applying nature’s lessons to living, learning, leading, and serving.

The Institute addresses the misconception that humans and society are disconnected from nature. In fact, we are of and integral to nature and, as a species, we powerfully influence nature itself. In so doing, we may be jeopardizing our own future. Nature Based Leadership is a vehicle for rescuing us from ourselves. We can learn from nature how to improve our lives, enhance our leadership, and, perhaps, save our species from itself.

The vision of the Institute is a world in which all humans live, learn, lead and serve in healthy balance with nature. AUNE’s Nature Based Leadership Institute applies nature’s lessons to achieve economic, environmental and social justice. The purpose of nature-based leadership is to create and sustain healthy environments of all kinds—within ourselves, with others, and with the Earth itself.  To learn more about the Nature Based Leadership Institute, contact Cheryl Charles, PhD, research scholar and founding executive director of the Nature Based Leadership Institute at [email protected].

Course and Workshop

Applying Nature’s Lessons to Leadership, Learning, and Life

Once again, a three-credit course hybrid course with both online work and a three-day face-to-face workshop will be offered in the fall of 2023 starting on October 2. Or one may take just the 3-day face-to-face experience as a stand-alone non-credit workshop. The dates for the three-day workshop are Saturday, October 14–Monday, October 16, 2023, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM each day.

Learn more about the workshop and course

Cheryl Charles - Director of the Nature Based Leadership Institute

Cheryl Charles, Ph.D.
Cheryl Charles is the lead instructor for the Nature Based Leadership Course. She is also one of the leaders of the worldwide movement to reconnect people to nature. Co-Founder and CEO Emerita of the Children & Nature Network, Founding Executive Director of Project Learning Tree and Project WILD, Cheryl is the Executive Director of the Nature Based Leadership Institute at Antioch University New England.

Vision A world in which humans live, learn, serve and lead in healthy balance with nature.

Inspire, educate and develop values-based leadership through which people will care for themselves, one another, and all of life.


  • Human health and well-being are inextricably linked to the health of the planet’s living systems.
  • Direct experiences in nature nourish health, hope, creativity and compassion.
  • Solutions to a healthy future can be found and applied through an integrated ecological approach with mind, heart, body and spirit in balance.
  • Nature-based leadership, which is inherently collaborative and generative, differs significantly from most current mechanistic and hierarchical leadership models.


Nature Based Leadership Institute | Founders
Cheryl Charles, PhD (NBLI Founding Executive Director and Research Scholar)
Co-Founder and Principal, Hawksong Associates
President and CEO Emerita, Children & Nature Network

Kathleen E. Allen, PhD
President, Allen and Associates

Craig Cassarino
Vice President, Leonardo Technologies, Inc.

Lina Constantinovici, MBA
Founder, Risk and Value Creation Institute
Founding Partner, BVC Fund

Mark Fly, PhD
Professor, Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, The University of Tennessee
Director, Human Dimensions Research Lab, The University of Tennessee

Cary Gaunt, PhD
Director of Campus Sustainability, Keene State College
Faculty, Managing for Sustainability at Marlboro College Graduate School

Lori Hanau
Founder and Principal, Global Round Table Leadership

Stephen Jones, PhD
Former President, Antioch University New England

Gary Malkin
Founder, Wisdom of the World – Media for a Meaningful Life

Martha Freymann Miser, PhD
President, Aduro Consulting

Victor Pantesco, EdD
Associate Professor, Antioch University New England
Director of the Psychological Services Center, Antioch University New England

Ray Silverman, PhD
Associate Professor of Religion and English, Bryn Athyn College

Chandra Taylor Smith
Vice President, Community Conservation & Education, National Audubon Society

Keith A. Wheeler
President, Brandwein Institute
President and CEO, ZedX Inc.
Chair Emeritus, IUCN Commission on Education and Communication

Beverly Winterscheid, PhD
Founding Partner, Center for Nature & Leadership

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