ABOUT OUR TEAM
We work with a diverse range of facilitators and educators on our programmes. Each of our staff are highly experienced and bring their own unique skills and approaches to our work. Below are a selection of our regular facilitators - scroll down to learn more about our team.
Meet The Team
Director and Facilitator
Underpinning my work in education is the deeply held belief that it is the duty of Educators to do everything they can to encourage children to develop a responsible, loving and caring relationship with the natural and gardened world. By doing this, we help them to understand that our well being is inextricably linked to the rest of the life on Earth.
My lifelong investigation into how children truly learn about the world they inhabit began in my own childhood. Growing up on a traditional farm in Devon offered me a foundation in many practical skills, including animal and plant husbandry. As a young man, I spent 11 years in Andalusia, bringing up my own children, building, farming and performing street theatre. During this time I worked alongside many people of all ages and backgrounds. I became inspired by the diversity of modes of learning that I witnessed, and developed a yearning to explore a new education.
Since then I have worked as an outdoor learning Teacher in Steiner schools for ten years then lead a land-based learning initiative at Embercombe for 10 years, worked as an outdoor learning consultant and now I lead programs and run the farm at Oxen Park.
Director and Facilitator
Tina spent ten years living within a land based social enterprise (www.embercombe.org), working throughout many realms of the organization as well as with groups and individuals, supporting them to move more fully towards the life that is uniquely theirs to continually discover, express and celebrate.
She brings this experience to On the Hill and Oxen Park, endeavoring to meet the challenge and extraordinary privilege that stewardship of an area of land seems to her to require at this time, guided by the particular skills and loves of the individuals involved.
She also carries forward a lived understanding of how engagement with the outdoor environment, using natural materials, and encouraging the deepening of relationship to each other and with ourselves can nourish and resource our lives.
She is a breathwork practitioner, coach, potter, plays with an interactive theatre group and loves the polytunnel.
Director and Facilitator
I love my work with On the Hill. As a Director I can use my skill set to help shape us as an organisation, working to my personal and professional values of nurturing relationship to self, others and our natural world, while asking challenging questions of each.
I believe in lifelong learning, compassionate enquiry of ourselves and others and nurturing these relationships.
We need fundamental and radical systems change to meet the challenges of this time, and the practices at On The Hill are working to play a part in this change as best we can.
I have worked with young people and with creative teams in diverse environments for over 20 years, beginning my practice in Devon in Youth Work and Theatre production.
I gained my BSC in Youth Work Practice and trained as a teacher of Lifelong Learning while living and working in Bristol, where I worked with both voluntary and statutory organisations. For many years I ran the Prince’s Trust Team programme and developed other youth volunteering and creative peer mentoring and mixed media projects. I have a strong commitment to facilitating youth participation on projects, and encouraging a sense of agency, reflection and responsibility amongst young people.
My teaching practice has developed in a variety of settings from schools, delivering social, emotional and health education to FE colleges, foundation learning settings and in the outdoor environment.
I am currently focusing on building our partnerships locally and globally to widen our reach and collaborate more. We have recently become members of Catalyst 2030 and are part of the Thriving Communities programme.
I came to work in land-based, experiential learning after a 30 year career in mainstream teaching, from nursery to secondary, at the point when I had officially retired! In this work I rediscovered the joy of working with children and young people in a context that encourages and enables them to learn through direct experience, to work collaboratively, to pit themselves against challenges that seem too big and to experience the satisfaction of overcoming the odds.
I bring to this work over 25 years of working in the mainstream school system, with children and young people from the ages of 3 to 16. I have taught in mainstream primary schools in inner city London and Sheffield, in both a school and a community nursery and spent 5 years teaching in a secondary school in Tottenham, North London, developing literacy within mainstream teaching across the curriculum. This school had students from all over the world, many of whom had arrived in London as refugees and asylum seekers from war torn countries. At times we had over 50 languages spoken in the school. These were students for whom education represented perhaps their only chance to make a success in a new country and to lift their families out of poverty. As the daughter and granddaughter of refugees myself, I understand that imperative.
My passion in teaching has always been for children and young people to be confident, independent, problem-solving learners, who love learning for its own sake and experience the satisfaction and empowerment of overcoming challenges. Language and literacy are, for me, primary tools in creating successful learners – to be able to present yourself and your ideas with confidence and competence opens doors to relationships and opportunities. I have worked as a literacy advisory teacher in London, supporting whole school improvement as well teaching within the classroom. I also trained as a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, training teachers to work with children who struggle to learn to read and write, as well as always teaching children myself. Working with children who had given up on themselves (because others didn’t believe they could learn), and seeing them not only catch up but also become independent, enthusiastic learners, reminded me again and again that we can all learn and that, if someone is not learning, it is simply because we haven’t yet worked out how to teach them.
My wide experience of working in schools supports conversations with teachers who bring their students to On the Hill, about how they can link the experiences of the residential to their on-going work in school. Many teachers and students use memories and metaphors from the residentials to support students who are finding learning difficult. Remembering what they have achieved in one context reinforces students’ resilience and belief that they can overcome challenges in other contexts.
Director and Facilitator
I am passionate about the role of education in shaping and informing our relationship with the world around us and have worked for over a decade in the envrionmental sector as both practitioner and researcher in multiple roles. I have worked with organisations seeking systemic social change, such as the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), and the Field Studies Council at Slapton Ley. I completed my PhD research in early 2018, focusing on realtional aspects of residential outdoor learning.
When not at my desk, I can be found leaping into rivers, hiking on Dartmoor or contemplating the vibrancy of life on the allotment. I remain committed to practical action, outdoor adventure and the importance of a restorative education through which we might fall back in love with this magnificent world.
My current work focuses on supporting educators to work creatively and to infuse their practice with principles of deep sustianability as well as running workshops, facilitation and teaching.
Facilitator and Social Comms
With a childhood spent outdoors entranced by the freedom that I found there, I have always felt most at home lost in nature. My excitement for the true magic, alchemy and mystery of the garden and the natural world inspired me to protect it, and to build my long-term experience in outdoor youth and care work, and to help develop land-based community projects. It also feeds my passion to support young people to build a relationship with where their food comes from and to strengthen their connection with the natural environment, helping them to make sense of the world and their place within it.
On The Hill is a perfect environment to nurture this in young people, while they work with us to grow, taste and discover, in the kitchen, on the land or on building projects, we can help them to understand their own power, even at a young age, to have an incredible effect on their environment. We listen, hear and value their thoughts and ideas, encourage and support them to have the courage to live an extraordinary life, to begin their own projects, and take charge of their own lives and worlds. Igniting this passionate self-belief in young people is pure joy for me, helping them to realise that the experiences of self-discovery through physical work they have on the farm, translate into the wider world. That their choices and actions have incredible power, and they hold the freedom and the strength to take ownership for their own environment and community.
With the challenges that face our young people in the years to come, as educators we can support them and the future of our world by fostering the growth of resilience, empathy, and a deep understanding of the importance of community and the need to help each other. By nurturing a connection with the natural world and an understanding of our place together as citizens within it, we can teach them to value every action, every life, and themselves.
I’ve been working with young people since 2010 when I worked on a residential school program at Embercombe. Since then I’ve worked for a number of forest schools, one to one with young people and on residential programs for different organisations including Embercombe, On The Hill, The Cherry Wood Project, World Challenge, and the Cambrian Wildwood.
For the last 10 years I’ve been living close to nature and the elements and in 2014 I took 6 months out and travelled to America to learn how to live out in the wilderness near the Canadian border. After 4 months together a group of us walked out into that wilderness to live off wild food, wear clothes we’d sewn from animal hides, feel the rain on our skin, feel the cold lake water wash our bodies and feel deeply alive, together.
This experience and experiences since inform my work and a large part of my passion to work with young people in nature.
We live in a time where nature deficit disorder is a very real thing, mental health issues are on the rise and screens are replacing trees for our young people. It never fails to be powerful to watch the changes that a group go through after a week of waking up to birdsong, working in a garden, eating around a fire, and falling asleep to owls, and to watch the therapeutic power of nature.
I am highly committed to bringing forward a message and an experience that nature is in fact our home and a place of fantastic wonder, miraculous beauty and endless fun.
My background has been working in the world of large construction companies in London based engineering and management roles. I also have hands on experience in carpentry and restoration. I have always felt a drive to help create working environments for people based on respect and individual growth.
I took a break for a year to work with the homeless. I lived in a London community project where people who have been street homeless, and volunteers, live together in an environment of love and tolerance until individuals can move into a more structured life. I learned the true value of how community and kinship can change us.
Within the culture of inner city industry I began to tire of the values of corporate production and consumption above our precious planet. Feeling dismayed by this and its impact on the future I started to look for opportunity elsewhere.
I left London to seek something new in life out of the city, which led me to Embercombe, where I had the opportunity to volunteer on youth programmes. I loved working with the young people, and I was heartened to see such amazing work being done in a spirit of connection with nature and each other. I knew I had to get involved in youth and land learning, it was a life changing experience and since then I have worked at On the Hill in most aspects of the youth programmes and land work.
I believe in using respect and openness when engaging with young people, to make the compost that grows people who see themselves, others and our earth in kindness.
I bring a passion for communication and relationship to the programmes, for these things in life I cherish most, I love to learn from people, collaborate, create, and very essentially, play.
I love the outdoors, I always have. I love being among the trees and grasses and seeing sun sail through the sky. To me this is where we are meant to be as a species, we are meant to walk this land, to sit back and find our place in it all. This is why I do this work, I want to be part of giving this opportunity to others. To have the space and time to step outside our normal day to day life and marvel in the exquisite simplicity that is around us all the time.
I have worked with different organisations over the years to bring this passion to young people. I worked at Embercombe as an apprentice Gardiner to learn more about growing food and helping on the education programmes that happen there. More recently I have been working with an organisation called Wildwise https://wildwise.co.uk/ taking young people into the wild places here in Devon. Looking at ancient skills of fire craft, camp craft and many other bushcraft techniques. This has given me a more in depth understanding of the natural world.
I also have been a part of on the hill helping to create the site that is the beautiful place you can visit today. I work alongside the diversely skilled staff team there to deliver programs.
I believe in the amazing power of creating things together, and how this process can bring about something far more magical and significant than the end result. My particular focus is natural construction, which has led me to work with organisations as far flung as Guatemala (long way home), Greece (Oinofyta) and Romania (ACASA), as well as the temperate climes of the Teign Valley. Oxen Park and the On the Hill team embody this ethos and through the building of beautiful natural structures, the nurturing of fire and the growing and cooking of food (amongst many other things), shared experiences are had which shape lives far beyond the boundaries of the farm.
I have training and experience in natural construction methods including round pole and heavy timber-framing, straw-bale, adobe and cob, as well as more conventional building practices, and more specifically in ways to safely and inclusively get anyone involved in using them. I have run my own small natural building company (The Ground UP) as well as working as a facilitator with other nature-based organisations but time spent working at On the Hill is always some of the most joyous and rewarding.
Something very special is being created On the Hill and I feel honoured to be a part of it.
I am a creative facilitator, artist, forest school practitioner, fire maker, coach and planter of seeds. I have worked in a diverse range of educational settings from working in the classroom to leading groups up mountains. Over the last decade I have worked alongside young people to support them to build relationships and to thrive at home, school and in their communities.
From an early age my passion and love of the outdoors found me sleeping under the stars, singing around fires, adventuring with little in my pack and making from only what is in the natural world. It is this creativity, simplicity, awe and wonder that I strive to share and use to empower, connect and build resilience in young people.
I now live and work in Cornwall developing programs that combine the creative arts, bush craft, nature connection and therapeutic youth work. I am the Founder of Creative Roots (www.creativeroots.earth) and TIDE forest school for girls. I have worked as a member of On The Hill’s Education team, have lead groups for over 12 years within Forest School Camps alongside being an occasional lecturer with Plymouth university. More recently I have completed a postgraduate certificate in therapeutic education and worked as a senior therapeutic practitioner for the Art Room in Oxford before returning back to Cornwall in 2017.
Basket making, cob, felting, weaving, painting, natural dying, inventing, fire making, story telling, camp fire singing, stalking, foraging, cooking, carving, listening, adventure, playing and group work…. Are just some of the things I bring to my work at On The Hill.
Gardener and Facilitator
I've worked alongside Jo and Tina to get this exciting new project up and running from spring 2017, And i'm truly loving it!
I'm usually found up in the garden, in the orchards attending to the new apple trees we have planted. If you don't find me there, i'll be mowing the garden green areas or raising the beds in the circular garden we created back in the spring last year and which already have some amazing produce growing!
I'm very excited to be working with On The Hill to keep growing produce, working with young people out in the elements, and making a difference to the world. It's a pleasure to be working alongside such an amazing team and to be making more and more vibrant plans for this space.
Awi Frances developed her love of nature, exploring and having adventures in the outdoors as a child and has worked for many years to provide opportunities for children to be inspired by and connect to nature. She believes that these enjoyable experiences are important for growing all aspects of children’s lives including self confidence and independence as well emotional wellbeing which is vital in these times when children face new challenges and have increasing mental health issues.
Awi trained as a Forest School Leader in 2001 and has worked with children and young people of a diverse range of ages and abilities. She has trained adults as Forest School Leaders and ran a small Forest School charity in South Wales for 13 years.
Awi brings to On the Hill her group facilitation experience, practical outdoor and bush-craft skills and knowledge of wildlife. She is a qualified Psychophonetics Psychotherapist and End of Life Doula and will one day write a book called 1001 things to do with sticks!
I began working with young people when I decided to build a travelling Jewellery making workshop and visit music festivals. I hadn't really anticipated how much they would love beating copper and how much I would enjoy helping/letting them explore the material and expand their ability. I then moved to Embercombe and became their Land Based Learning Facilitator (aka Education Apprentice). Working on week long residential camps with children aged eight to eighteen was amazing and I learnt a lot.
I am a qualified Forest School Leader and I also work with adults, facilitating processes with a view to personal and social change. I enjoy working at On The Hill because I think in order to grow healthier children we need to plant them in some decent soil, not literally of course! My passions include making things out of reclaimed or natural materials, dancing, cycling, bushcraft, swimming in cold water and growing vegetables.
I work in the woods, which means I get to see the forest change through the seasons in its cycle of growth and renewal. Over the years, I have witnessed the healing power of trees and of land based work both on a personal level and in working with groups. I have been involved with a variety of organisations doing this work, including Forest School Camps, various Forest School groups and The Cherry Wood Project where I did an apprenticeship in forestry and green woodworking. Most recently, I facilitated "Fireside" in partnership with Off the Record; a project around mental health and the transition to winter.
I strongly believe in providing opportunities for young people to develop a relationship with the land; as this is a tool that can be drawn on throughout life.
I am always struck by the transformative potential of these camps. Through working the land and living in community, there is so much learning that can take place.
I live in a yurt close to nature, love to sing, forage and make baskets.
I first began working with young people in experiential education during an apprenticeship at Embercombe, where I became really interested in facilitating meaningful experiences in nature, incorporating traditional earth-based technologies, sensory games and self-reflection exercises. This led me to undertake a year-long training at the Wilderness Awareness School in Washington State, in which I went through my own process of deeply connecting to land and ancestry, as well as the intersection of social and environmental justice issues. Since my return to the UK in 2016 I have been working in outdoor education for both youth and adults, in various enterprises in the south of England.
I bring a strong understanding of nature-connection pathways to the work, as well as a playful and silly attitude to serious things. I also bring various different crafts and passions, such as wilderness survival skills, friction fire-making, basketry, poetry and spoken word, clowning and performance, martial arts and movement practices. I am also massively interested in facilitating/being part of conversations with young people on contemporary social issues.
I am passionate about creating meaningful experiences for young people that foster connection to self, human community and nature. I feel committed to this work because our connection to these things is inherently political. It carries a unique capacity for individual, collective and systemic transformation. It’s also really, really fun. And often ridiculous. Which is important.
I started working with school groups in 2014 and I am still struck by how much I learn from the experience; I always leave feeling freshly inspired. Through my work I aspire to return these gifts to young people who come to Oxen Farm.
I am a kitchen coordinator, so my contributions to On The Hill programmes have their origins in nourishment - in preparing meals and feeding everyone. What I truly love about working on these programmes though is that my involvement doesn't end there. When I cook, I cook alongside the young people, which in our case includes tracing food back to its very roots. We harvest together, and then we combine together the fruit, vegetables and herbs in creative and collective ways. It's wonderful to watch students deepening their connection to food. This gives the art of cooking a whole new meaning. Cooking on an open fire or on a rocket stove has its challenges but is very special at the same time. It slows down the process, is very grounding and gives me a deep connection to our ancestors for whom fire was vital.
Spending time outside fills me with joy and recharges my batteries. Gardening, exercising, going for walks, swimming in rivers, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, having fires...this is what I associate with working at On the Hill.
When I'm not working on an On the hill programm I study psychology which means I can offer more than just practical skills to the students.
I began my career in the environmental behaviour change sector at Global Action Plan, facilitating programmes from engaging local communities to tackle air pollution, to working with students from schools across South East London to develop their own water saving campaigns. It was at the Women’s Environmental Network, however, that I came face to face with the complexity of issues like our broken food system, and encountered for the first time the extraordinary power of grassroots movements, and of simple acts like growing food together. I realised that charities approaching policy often lack a deeper understanding of the community and land based aspects of both the food system, and environmentalism as a whole.
Since then I have lived at Embercombe, learning more about seasonal and local food, worked with groups from Lifebeat and Miss Represented, and co-founded The Shared Plate, a community interest company working to build resilience in individuals and communities through working with food.
I love working at On The Hill because it embodies so much about what is beautiful about being human - working together, growing and eating food from the land, and figuring out who we are while we do it.
I am an experienced life coach, counselor and Transformative Movement Education (TME©) specialist. I hold a Graduate Diploma in Psychophonetics, an anthroposophical psychotherapeutic modality of Counselling & Coaching for Deep Leadership. I work as a holistic massage therapist, embodiment movement 1:1 and group facilitator.
I facilitate transformational leadership programmes using the TME© methodology for both personal and professional development. I work therapeutically 1:1 and in groups with people of all ages. TME is a body of work, which identifies and fosters healthy movement in the human being. Drawing inspiration from archetypal forms and forces in the natural world, it reveals how movement impacts the physical, emotional and cognitive development of the human being. It is both a study of movement and a movement practice.
At the core of TME© is the rites of passage journey known as ‘Sea to Mountain’. Here both young people and adults are immersed in the natural world exploring more of whom they are whereby a new or deeper sense of self in connection to others and the world is experienced.
I have previously worked over 18 years for Ruskin Mill Education Trust (RMET). I designed and delivered TME© sessions for students and staff, in response to specific developmental or learning needs.
I have completed an MSc degree in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education as continuing professional development within RMET. Over the years, I worked in many and varying roles including residential provision, transition into work co-ordinator and group facilitator. I also worked as a support worker accompanying students with their many outdoor, farm, woodland and craft based workshops.
As a child, I spent much of my time exploring, playing and working on a family farm in Wales. This foundation of health and wellbeing underpins my belief that everyone can benefit from time spent outdoors engaging in activities within the natural kingdoms, mineral, plant, animal and the 4 elements.
I am committed to supporting people to find their true potential, bringing their gifts and strengths to the world.
Camilla Rose Yuill
I am an Artist and Signwriter, but I have been working with young adults in creative and land based settings for 12 years.
After completing my degree in Politics and Economics I decided one of the most important environments to create change was in education considering this is where most young people spend a lot of their time! I felt at the time, and still do, that we desperately need to support our younger generation to recognise their own self worth as individuals and their role as a responsible human being connected to the wider social and environmental world. After feeling let down by our mainstream educational institutions I became interested in projects that brought these values into the focus of their purpose.
Over the last 12 years I have bought my creative practice into mural projects with youth clubs and schools and I regularly work with a theatre project which builds shows with teenagers, supporting them to write scripts, compose songs, design theatre sets and perform, allowing them to engage with their absolute imagination and build their confidence in the process. I have also worked at Embercombe and facilitated with On The Hill since its first year of work. As someone that loves growing and being outdoors I experience so much happiness and learning in my times spent at On The Hill. I feel it is crucial to be supporting the next generation to step into these beautiful places, to work with the land and to explore the questions of how we are relating to land and people in our current time.
Something that really excites me is seeds. Flowers, herbs, vegetables, grasses, every kind of seed is a little wonder in itself. How lucky I am to be working for an organic seed company based in Devon now that grows and sells beautiful vegetable, flower and herb seeds! Other things I like doing: picking flowers, making jam and pesto, whisteling and making other sounds with my body, splitting wood with an axe, walking up a hill enjoying the view walking down a hill, cooking pancakes on the fire, cooking meals for lots of people on the fire, eating lettuce leaves and other edible greens just by themselves and then compare their taste, singing songs that I know or don't know, watching the stars and the moon at night, learning facts about nature, sharing facts about nature, sleeping outside, spending most of my day outside, and what I really like is doing all these things together with other people. On The Hill gives me a chance to do that. I believe that tasting something new, saying how you are in the morning circle, sleeping out, or cooking pizzas in a wood-fired oven for everyone can change lives in small and big ways. It certainly did for me in the last three years that I have been working with Jo. The focus on connecting to self, to the people around, and to the natural environment that we spend time in helps to develop confidence and understanding of oneself in the wider web of life. I am also currently training with Ecodharma in Northern Spain, a centre for ecology, socio-political action and Buddhism, to learn how to facilitate nature based practices and I am looking forward to sharing some activities from that learning in programmes soon.