Spirituality in Outdoor Learning
 | Search
Spirituality in Outdoor Learning

SOLSIG web page banner image

Welcome to the IOL Spirituality in Outdoor Learning Group

Spirituality in Outdoor Learning (SOL) SIG Opening Event

  • Membership of SOL is £10pa and is open to all IOL individual members*. You can join the SIG by contacting Louise at IOL 
  • For the inaugural AGM voting was by those members present.

IOL Spirtuality in Outdoor Learning Group Event

Finding Yourself in the Outdoors

26th March 2017 - 10am to 3pm at Humphrey Head Centre, Flookburgh, Grange over Sands, Cumbria.

Presenter: Elpseth Mason

A gathering for outdoor practitioners and others with an interest in the psychological and spiritual relationship between people, place and the natural environment.

Looking at the impact of connection with the natural environment on personal development and happiness.

Exploring aspects of landscape, woodland, sea, open spaces and dark skies as they might be used to help re-connect to the natural environment within the context of everyday lives.

  • FREE for members of the IOL Spirituality Special Interest Group (but please book!)
  • Other IOL members £20
  • Non members of IOL £40
  • Bring your own lunch or pay £5 on the day at the venue.

Attending this event will give you a FREE place at an event provided by Humphrey Head Centre on the day before...

Leap into Spring

Saturday 25th March
10am - 5.30pm at Humphrey Head Centre (as above)
(this is not an IOL event)
Outdoor Workshops

  • Art with Natural Materials
  • The Craft of Fire Making
  • Elder Tree Mystery
  • Wheel of the Year Ideas
  • Hedgerow Wander
  • Tree Familiarisation
  • Planting Trees

Indoor Talks

  • Attuning to the Sacred Landscape
  • Dryads
  • Spirits of Place in an Urban Landscape
  • Sacred Water From Holy Wells to Human Cells

Once you book for Sunday 26th we will send a link to book your FREE place on Saturday 25th.


or call 01228 564580

or email


  • At the IOL National Conference SOLSIG meeting, Dan Whittaker stepped down as Chair replaced by Elspeth Mason.
  • The SIG  have developed a 1-2hr ‘What is Spirituality in Outdoor Learning’ workshop that several PDCs have been inducted to deliver. Now that it has been piloted we are looking to tweak it and perhaps offer a couple of variations suitable for conferences or CPD days. Titles include ‘The Quiet Outdoor Learning’ and ‘Building Awe and Wonder into OL programmes’. Both use an experiential approach reflecting on what is so special about the outdoors for ourselves, for our groups and for society as a whole as a basis for generating practical ideas to take away and try with groups, or to build into our programmes.
  • Membership of the SIG is open to any IOL member with an interest in exploring this awesome aspect of our work.
  • SOLSIG are building towards providing a national full-day workshop in the Winter/ Spring.
    Since the last update I have forged contacts with Mel McCree, her website explains her mindfulness work. I've also made contact with Alexander Gnanapragasam, who is studying for his PhD at St. Andrews. He's interested in Values Education in Outdoor Learning and would be keen for colleagues to contact him if they are involved in this work. Members of SOLSIG can access the SOLSIG web area and see various events and papers, one of interest is 'Religion, Spirituality & Education for Human flourishing'. Another interesting read is 'Soil and Soul', by Alistair McIntosh which is available from bookshops. Fiona Burgess attended a meeting, on SOLSIGs behalf. This was held at Brahma Kumaris and focused upon Youth, Spirituality & the Future. Fiona's report of the meeting will be on the SOLSIG web area shortly. The Spirit of Adventure Foundation have a new webtalk on their website.. I close by mentioning that I will be stepping down from Chair of the SIG at the National Conference. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have contacted me already to thank me for the work that has gone into getting the SIG 'off the ground'.         Dan Whittaker, SOLSIG Chair.
  • Wrekin Trust Consultative and Advisory Panel Meeting at the Brahma Kumaris Global Co-operation House on Wednesday 13th June 2012 - Download the minutes here.

  • SOLSIG Committee meeting was at Whitemoor Centre, Alrewas, Staffordshire at 9am on the Saturday 10th March 2012.

  • RELIGION, Spirituality and EDUCATION FOR Human Flourishing – February 2012 By Maureen Goodman, Programme Director Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, UK. Download the PDF of this research paper by clicking on the title.

  • "Spirituality" by David Holmes - download the PDF HERE (7mb) (David Holmes who is a workshop leader at the forthcoming "Peaceful Primary Schools Conference" on May 18th arranged by Spiritual England)

Nature and Spirit Questionnaire

.... on behalf of Kevin Button Message from Kevin. "I am writing to gather thoughts, feelings and past experiences to develop an understanding of spirituality. The outdoor environment is my medium to see whether by going into the wilderness you can become more aware of your own identity/inner nature, essentially one´s human spirit. Undergraduate Outdoor Education dissertation: “The Role of Outdoor Experience in Developing an Understanding of Spirituality."

Download the Survey (PDF doc.) HERE     Your completed survey must be sent direct to Kevin HERE

(SOL) SIG Opening Event - 5th February 2011

Llangollen near Wrexham

There was no formal agenda although Elspeth did a sterling job of providing food for thought with a power point presentation.

There was a discussion on the roles that needed filling on the committee.  It was felt that rather than have a Chair who ran the meetings on a formal basis, we would prefer to have the meetings facilitated by each member of the committee in turn.  In addition, it was felt that the usual committee posts might be rather demanding and that it would be better to split them up.  As a result, the following posts have been created:

  • Chair - Dan Whittaker
  • Trustee liaison  - Elspeth Mason
  • Forum  - Michael Ryder - he’ll research a forum code of conduct
  • Note taker - Lun Roberts - she’ll write up and circulate meeting notes
  • Editor – Jo Bowie - She will edit anything we put on the web
  • Liaison – Roger Orgill- Who will liaise with other organisations that have similar agendas
  • Secretary – Bettina Maccariello – Who will write letters, etc on behalf of the SIG


Joining SOL SIG 

Membership of SOL is £10pa and is open to all IOL individual members*. You can join the SIG by contacting Louise at IOL and book a place on the workshop at the same time.  (Overnight accommodation must be booked direct with the venue)

For the inaugural AGM voting will be only by those members present. Anyone willing/wanting to share cars should indicate on booking where/when they will be travelling and give permission for us to share their contact details with other members attending. Full directions & details supplied on booking. (*IOL individual members).  

Background to the Spirituality in Outdoor Learning SIG

Judging by recent articles in Horizons and conversations with members, there appears to be growing interest in:

“… the exploration of…. inner or innate spiritual potential and its integration and expression in everyday life.”

At this time of global crisis and turmoil, a sound relationship with oneself, others, the natural environment and the divine provides empowerment and resilience in the confusion of current events.

U Thant, Secretary General of the UN in the early 1970s defined ‘Spirituality’- not to be confused with religion - as:

“…….. a state of connectedness to life.
It is an experience of being, belonging and caring.
It is sensitivity and compassion, joy and hope.

It is the harmony between the innermost life and the outer life, or the life of the world and the life universal.”

In March 2010 the IOL Midlands Region in conjunction with the Wrekin Trust held an event “Spirituality in Outdoor Learning”: a workshop style approach to help practitioners get to grips with the “S” word."

Read an article by Roger Orgill "A Spiritual Imperative" which is also a report from the Spirituality event mentioned above.




Spirituality Committee

Current committee is as follows:
  • Chair/Co-ordinator – Elspeth Mason
  • Secretary – Fiona Burgess
  • Treasurer –
  • Forum Moderator – Michael Ryder
  • Committee members – Dan Whittaker, Bettina Maccariello, Roger Orgill, Lun Roberts, Michael Ryder, Jo Bowie, Di Collins.
  • New committee volunteers - Bob Larcher – help with Linked-in etc