OutSide   In

                                                           Nature Connection Inside and Out

                                     Connecting People with Nature

                          With Each Other
                         And with Themselves

                                                                                              Testimonials & Links

Out Side in Nature's
 Director, Peter Bergen is know as
one of the most sought after Nature Connection Specialist in California.
He is famous for his ability to guide children and adults in creating and developing lifelong, personal relationships with the Natural World. Doing so in accordance with time tested best practices of indigenous wisdom, harvested from around the world, by dedicated and passionate Elders, mentors, colleagues and our ancestral lineages.

Wendolyn Bird
Director of Tender Tracks Tales and Trails
Co-Director of Children, Nature and You

"Pete Bergen is not only highly skilled with primitive skills
and the 8 shields model, but he is extremely gifted with children.
His kind, gentle, engaging and very loving self always brings children alive
and longing for more of the Earth and Sky.
I have never seen a child do anything less then adore Pete
and flourish in his presence and gifts.

Jon Young
 Tracker, Mentor, Author

Thanks for keeping that deep nature connection fire burning for your community. So many of us at 8 Shields think of you as the Uncle we all wish we had as kids! If you live near Pete's work, and your kids can be involved... Don't hesitate! Great work, and big thanks for your commitment Pete.


www.youtube.com/Bird Language

Nicole Young
COO 8 Shields Institute
Co-Founder, Regenerative Design and Nature Awareness Program        

Pete Bergen has done things at our programs that nobody before or since has pulled off. Not only are the kids smiling at the end of the day, but so is he. We call him Sneaky Pete because you really have to look deeply through his calm humble exterior to find the exceptionally powerful competent mentor that he is. I have witnessed participants of his long term mentoring programs grow into adulthood, and no doubt are leading the change that they want to see in the world in part because of their time with Pete.

Will Scott

Founder, Wilderness Within
Instructor, Regenerative Design and Nature Awareness program, RDI.

Reconnecting to the natural world is healing, restorative, necessary, and incredibly fun. 
There are few out there who do this work as well as Pete Bergen.
He's a joy to work with and a treasure to learn from.

Mellissa Seaman
 Co-director, Avalon Springs

Pete ran an outdoor wilderness program for kids here on the land of Avalon Springs.  He was wonderful to work with: caring, honest, responsible, and deeply devoted to the work, as well as super respectful of the land and people here.  The kids in the program responded to him with respect and wide-eyed joy at the wonders they explored in the beauty and intelligence of nature.  We recommend Pete highly as an inspired facilitator.

Diane Lafrenz,
AudubonCanyon Ranch Docent,
Bolinas Lagoon Preserve Docent Council President,
BLP School Program Overnight Chair.

   I first met Peter Bergen in 1994 in our docent training class at the Martin Griffin Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch. (It was the Bolinas Lagoon Preserve then.) He was bright, friendly and already so knowledgeable about the outdoors and how to work with kids in a way to make those outdoor spaces become a comfortable place for them. He had been to the Tom Brown camps and shared his information quite freely. He was always enthusiastic and gracious. He could demonstrate how to effectively get the kids so interested in being outside and fostering that lifelong yearning to learn about what is around them in each of them.
 Later as we put that docent training to work at Audubon Canyon Ranch, Peter diligently worked to
develop an overnight program at the preserve that has now spanned 13 years. From that first trial overnight the program has grown to include fall and spring overnights and a couple of two night overnights for mentor teachers.
 Peter gave me a lot of help while I chaired docent training one year. He assisted in bringing Joseph Cornell to Audubon Canyon Ranch. Peter made sure Joseph’s stay was easy. We were able to have Joseph work mostly with the new students, but also with every available docent. Peter makes sure all of us have the best in teachers and mentors.

 Peter went on to study with Jon Young and continued to hone his many talents. As he would weave his time back in to work with us docents on the overnight program he would share his new information as well as demonstrate new fields of study we could open up for the kids. He brought us mapping, fire starting, story and song, and tracking.

   Through his work with Jon Young, Peter started working regularly with groups of students to foster that enthusiasm for the outdoors that is so much a part of him. Peter is very well versed in coyote mentoring. Peter also had Jon Young come to Audubon Canyon Ranch and work with the docents. Peter, yet again ensures that we can have great resource teachers available to us all.

   In all the time I have known Peter Bergen, he has always demonstrated to essence of being a great teacher, friend and mentor. To see him move forward in this new area of his life at  Out Side In Nature is  a pleasure. As soon as my granddaughter is old enough I will have her up there playing and learning garnering what she can from a man that knows life, life science and how to share it.



Kim & Joel

Hi Pete, Kelly's been out of town for most of the summer and I'll ask her to reply when she returns.  From our perspective, your class was one she really looked forward to and always relayed info she learned when she returned.  When we go on hikes near our home, she often lags behind to listen to her surroundings and looks for animal clues.  She also pipes up with info about local flora and fauna, obviously you taught in such a way that she retained much of it.  Again, I'll have her reply with more specifics when she gets home. 
Hope you're having a good summer,


Dave Deppen

I feel very fortunate to have benefited from Peter's mentoring since 2004. At dozens of events and meetings, I have experienced and seen Peter's unique mentoring abilities make nature connection fun and deep. Whether with children or elders or those in between, Peter meets people at their comfort level - then wonderfully expands their awareness, skills and happiness. Peter's abilities are unique. If you or those close to you have a chance to work with him, go for it! 

Sharon Dado 
Retired Petaluma Teacher
Active Audubon Canyon Ranch Overnight Program Coordinator
Pie Maker Extraordinaire!!!

"Peter Bergen has a special knack for connecting children with nature and sparking their natural gift of curiosity.  I wish my grandchildren lived in Petaluma, so that they could spend time with Peter and learn the skills he can teach and take part in the activities, stories, songs and games he knows."  

                                   Hey Pete,
Good to hear from you. I miss spending Fridays with the group. What started
out as an excuse to spend some quality time with Chris turned out to be so
much more. Chris and I have really taken to being aware of what our
surroundings are telling us. We listen to the birds so we know where to look
for interesting things. We notice the small things because they tell us the
history of where we are.

I find myself trying to pass along some of the wisdom we learned from you

and our experiences to the people that I am with. It's fun to explain the
"Story of the Day" and what a "Bird Sit" is to friends. I still get a thrill
thinking that we made fire!

If I were to do this again (and I would at the drop of a hat), I would look

forward to more "nature sign" things; tracking, observing, finding the
"story of the day" that our surroundings show us. I loved being able to go
back and see what we did, by looking at our maps. It would be great to learn
how to tell what everything around us was doing. Looking at the map that
everything else left, if you will.

One of the most powerful experiences for me was probably one of the most

basic. The blindfold walk was one of the most calming experiences that I
have had in many years. It cut out the noise and got to the basics; where is
the sun hitting my face, what do I feel under my feet, what can I smell,
hear, and taste. I also liked the day on the beach. Trying to think like the
animal and react like the animal was a real eye opener. The world is a scary
place for small animals!

Thanks for the wonderful experience Pete, I enjoyed it immensely. I would

like to be kept in the loop for things you might be doing in the future.

Chris is up on the
Metolius river this week with Susan and Jessie, so I will
ask him to write when he gets back with his take on the experience.

All the best,


Environmental Education The Core Routines

by Alessa

This semester my environmental class and I took several
classes with Peter Bergen. Peter studied under Jon Young,
who studied under Tom Brown. Last year I read one of
Tom Brown’s books, “The Tracker.”

Our class met every Friday for four hours. Some classes
were held in Point Reyes, some in Bolinas,
and some on ornear Limantour Beach.
Every day before we started each class, we would do what we
called a Thanksgiving Address.Each person would also do
what we called a sit spot. At the end of each class we
mapped out where we went and what we found along the way.
These activities are all part of whatwe call, “core routines.”

The tradition of doing a Thanksgiving Address before each
class goes back several thousand years to the Native
Americans. They used the Thanksgiving Address to expand
their awareness of the world around them. When giving the
Thanksgiving Address to the group you start by thanking
everyone for being there, then the earth beneath us, then
the small creatures, then the bushes and shrubs, moving
onto the trees and the birds, reaching the sky, clouds, sun
and moon, ending with thanking the spirit that moves within
everything. This can be done in many different forms, from
being direct to general, but always stopping after each
thing to ask the group if they feel the same way. This
keeps everyone included and brings our senses to the
surrounding nature. Because this core routine keeps us
thinking about all the aspects, tracking becomes a part of
everything, a piece of the puzzle, which is better than
becoming so absorbed in just the tracks themselves.

Our sit spots have been another core routine that has
opened my eyes. Sitting in solitude in nature started out
as being boring and long, quiet and empty. The first time I
did a sit spot, it took me 20 minutes before I settled in
and started noticing the birds in the trees that were
watching me, or the ants crawling on my shoes. Each time I
did my sit spot I got faster and better at pulling in my
concentric ring or disturbance ring and becoming more aware
of everything around me. By the last time I did my sit spot
with this class, it only took me 5 minutes to become
settled. After those 5 minutes of settling, the birds went
back to their daily routines, the noises and calls became
louder, and my sense of direction became sharper.
After every class we mapped out our day. The maps became
more detailed as the year progressed, north and south
becoming clearer, direction of the wind, certain events
that occurred, and many other details. At the end of class
we pulled out all of our maps and presented them to some of
Peter’s friends. We were amazed by how much we remembered
about each day because of the maps.

I really enjoyed this year’s Environmental Class because
it has opened my eyes to the world and nature that I live in.
I have learned how to read situations, start a fire without
matches, and find which way is north. I hope there is
another class similar to this one next year

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