Certified Nature Retreat Leader

December 14 - 17, 2016

  • $2,495.00 – Program Price - All Inclusive Full Training program plus 3 nights lodging and 8 healthy meals. You provide transportation to and from Beulah, Colorado

Date and Time Details: Inquire on custom dates to meet your schedule needs.

Location: The Horseshoe Lodge at Mountain Park Environmental Center

Address: 9112 Mountain Park Road Beulah Colorado 81023

Program Contact: Helene Van Manen MCC.
Email: coachhelene@gmail.com.
Phone: 719-485-2191.

earn money leading nature retreats











For People Who Offer Nature-based Retreats

This comprehensive, in-person training program will grow your skills in leading retreats that focus on our connection to the natural world.

The training covers the many facets of running a successful Retreat Leader business, including the unique considerations and skills associated with leading retreats that emphasize Nature as a key component of the retreat experience.

snowshoe nature retreat leader


Topics covered in this Certification Course include:

  • The nuts & bolts of running a retreat business: marketing, how to name & price a program, insurance, finding your niche, writing descriptive copy, cancellation policies, managing group dynamics and how to be profitable
  • Developing yourself as a Leader
  • Creating dynamic Nature retreats based on your passions, locations and expertise.
  • Environmental ethics and “Leave No Trace”
  • Fundamentals of selected outdoor skills e.g. animal tracking, plant / tree identification, map/compass skills, basic birding
  • Creating and using a Nature journal to enhance our connection to Nature
  • Identifying community resources to enhance your program e.g. rafting, rock-climbing, challenge/ropes courses
  • Risk Management / Safety
  • Overview of literature and authors pertinent to being a Nature Retreat Leader
  • The need to connect children to Nature-Creating intergenerational experiences for groups
  • Nature games and activities
  • Developing and nurturing your own connection to Nature
  • The Art of Walking / Sauntering / Hiking
  • Tools and supplies to enhance your retreat leader skills


tree view from groundThe program will be based out of the Mountain Park Environmental Center (MPEC), an award winning Nature education not-for-profit that operates in Pueblo Mountain Park.

The park is a 611-acre ideal outdoor classroom located in Colorado’s Wet Mountains, 70 miles from Colorado Springs. MPEC is headquartered in the Horseshoe Lodge, a depression-era building recently renovated into a “green” retreat center. The Lodge offers immediate access to Nature right outside the door…there will be no need to drive anywhere once arriving at the Lodge. The park, which borders a 17,000-acre roadless area in the San Isabel National Forest, has several miles of hiking trails through conifer forests rich in native flora and fauna. Participants should be prepared to be outside in all sorts of weather, as many classes will take place out in Nature. Depending on weather and the moon cycle, evenings may include an outdoor experience. Accommodations at the Horseshoe Lodge include comfortable private overnight rooms, breakout areas for classes and discussions, and delicious chef prepared meals.


CERTIFIED RETREAT LEADER logo 225X225The Certified Nature Retreat Leader Designation is awarded by the premier training company Retreat Coaches, which began in 2003.

Up until 2014, the certification program was exclusively designed for women and over 400 women have received certification to date. Retreat Coaches is now proud to offer this comprehensive training for both women and men that combines business with Nature leadership training, all based on the coaching competencies as outlined by the International Coaching Federation.

This competency-based training provides Retreat Leaders a strong skill-set as a foundation for leading Nature Retreats. It includes gaining confidence in how to bring coaching conversations and facilitating group process into your leading style. Upon completion of the in-person training, you will be designated as a Certified Nature Retreat Leader, which can be used in your marketing and advertising.

Training begins upon arrival on day one with welcoming and orientation and continues after dinner with a two-hour class; days two and three consist of full days of intensive learning, much of it outdoors, plus two evening class sessions. Day four concludes the training with a final class session after breakfast for completion and wrap-up of learning modules (in coordination with shuttle departure to airport).


Co-led by two respected and experienced leaders in the field of environmental education and leadership training:

helene van manenHelene Van Manen is the Founder and Director of Training at www.RetreatCoaches.com and holds a Master Certified Coach degree from the International Coaching Federation. On the faculty at Coach University, Helene is a seasoned teacher that designs and trains leaders to create retreats that are successful and profitable. Specializing in mentoring new coaches, Helene Van Manen has trained hundreds of students to lead retreats, workshops, trainings and other programs. Drawing upon her expertise as a Business Coach, Helene will give you direct support through coaching on developing your strengths in both your business and leadership during class time. Coach Helene leads retreats for leaders, professional women, self care retreats, staff and organization retreats. Helene brings her love of music and poetry to her work and leading style and empowers others to listen deeply to their creative selves. CoachHelene



dave van manenDave Van Manen (Ranger Dave) is the Founder of the not-for-profit Mountain Park Environmental Center, which he began in 1998, and served as its Executive Director through 2013. Dave is currently an independent contractor as MPEC’s Executive Consultant. His service to MPEC includes facilitating specific programs (Nature Toddlers, Full Moon Hikes) developing special projects and programs, writing about MPEC for various publications, and public speaking. Ranger Dave has been working in the field of education, with both children and adults, for nearly forty years. His background includes being a nationally known children’s musician, performer, and recording artist with a specialty in environmental music and storytelling. He is the author of Plants of Pueblo Mountain Park, a field guide to the flora of the park and surrounding areas. Dave is a recipient of the Enos Mills Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education. Dave has been a resident of the town of Beulah for 35+ years, where he and his wife Helene raised their two children and now spend much time with their grandchildren. He is an avid hiker and can often be found hiking the trails of Pueblo Mountain Park and beyond. Through Mountain Consulting, Dave consults for not-for-profits and those working on special projects.



Helene Van Manen The Sunflower Room is welcoming and art filled!

The Nature Retreat Leader Training includes:

  • Your own private room at the newly restored historic Horseshoe Lodge in Beulah, Colorado
  • Eight meals, beginning with dinner on day of arrival and ending with breakfast on day of departure. Special diets can be requested
  • Full Training Program (includes all outdoor activities and more!)

You also receive these bonuses:

  • Access to private Nature Retreat Leader on-line library with downloadable resources and activities you can use immediately with your groups. The library will be updated with new resources as they become available and will be a valuable support for your leading.
  • Course reading list to prepare for the training and to extend the learning
  • Recorded classes to prep you for your training
  • Logo to put at your website showing your professional status (Certified Nature Retreat Leader)
  • Listing at online “Find A Retreat Coach Directory” which gives you a strong internet presence.

Nature Retreat Leader Training Cost: $2495

You are responsible for transportation to and from The Horseshoe Lodge, located in Beulah Colorado. Shuttle service from the suggested fly-in airport of Colorado Springs (COS) is available and recommended. The Mountain Park Environmental Center can provide you with airport pick-up and drop-off at the rate of $125 round trip. You will not need a car while at the Lodge, so we suggest that choosing the airport shuttle is your best value ( and reduces your ecological footprint) Upon registration, you will be given info on how to arrange your flight times so that you can coordinate with the MPEC guest relations staff to schedule your shuttle.

dan“I love nature and grew up outside knowing alot about the wildlife, trees and the natural places around me. Now I am excited to lead retreats and introduce people to the outdoors through my retreat business.

The Nature Retreat Leader Training put it all together for me; both with the business framework and environmental activities.

I am ready to go back home and make it happen. The training met all my expectations plus the take home resources were fabulous!” ~Daniel Watson – Rugged Hearts Retreats, Texas



walk by lake

“No matter how he may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science or the bicycle, he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world.” — Frances Willard