Outdoor experiences can transform our psychological health and well-being, and encourage us to live sustainably.
But not all experiences of nature are transformational. I show you how to design and facilitate them so that they are.
My approach reveals how outdoor experiences impact our psychology, changing the ways we think, feel and behave. It shows how they can be harnessed through design and facilitation to deliver incredible outcomes for people and the planet.
My clients include NGOs, local and national governments, businesses and learning institutions. I also work with individual practitioners including leadership coaches, educators, psychotherapists, outdoor leaders, academics, writers, conservationists and artists.
I work at the intersection of psychology, outdoor leadership and sustainability.
Since 1996 I have designed and delivered outdoor programmes for psychological well-being and sustainability to a wide diversity of organisations and individuals. I have also taught, supervised and researched extensively in the academic sector and am published in several languages.
I have a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Design and a Masters of Science (Dist.) in Human Ecology. I am a Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology (UK) and am on the editorial boards of several international journals. I am a National Governing Body qualified outdoor instructor in both the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Ecopsychology Consultant & Coach, 2011 to present
Design, facilitate, and research projects that work with the psychology of experiences of wild places.
Member, Editorial Committee of the Journal of Experiential Education, 2011 to present
A peer-reviewed international journal published in Canada. Remit to review submissions with psychological content.
Member, Editorial Committee of the European Journal of Ecopsychology, 2010 to present
A peer-reviewed international journal published online in the UK.
Fellow, Centre for Human Ecology, Edinburgh, 2005 to present
Teaching Fellow leading the Ecopsychology module programme.
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter, 2019 - 2020.
Fellowship with the Department of Psychology to support ecopsychology research through post-graduate student supervision.
Visiting Research Fellow, Anglia Ruskin University, 2017 - 2020.
Visiting fellowship with the Department of Science and Technology and the Global Sustainability Institute to support their development of learning that engages attitudes and values, rather than just skills and knowledge.
Managing Director, Natural Change Limited, 2012 to 2015
Delivery of outdoor training programmes to catalyse and support leadership for sustainability.
Short-course Teacher, Schumacher College, 2011 to 2015
Lead a programme of courses around ecopsychology, deep ecology and the psychology of people’s relationships with the rest of nature.
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter, 2010 to 2011
Fellowship with the Department of Geography at Tremough Campus, Falmouth, to develop research interests in the psychology of human relationships with the rest of nature.
Director, Footprint Consulting Limited, 2004 to 2011
Sustainability consultant specialising in behaviour change. Work on a diverse range of projects for the commercial, social enterprise, NGO and public sectors.
Senior Lecturer, University of Strathclyde, 2005 to 2010
Ecopsychology lecturer and supervisor on the MSc Human Ecology programme, offered in partnership between the Centre for Human Ecology and the Department of Geography and Sociology.
Senior Lecturer, University of Stirling, 2004 to 2008
Lecturer on BSc in Environmental Science and Outdoor Education programme through supply of four outdoor education modules, student support and undergraduate supervision.
Director, Centre for Human Ecology, Edinburgh, 2005 to 2006
The Centre for Human Ecology is a network for ecological and social transformation.
Instructor, Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre, Glenmore Lodge, 2002 to 2005
Ecotherapy and Eco-education programme leader. Mountaineering instructor.
Ecological Education Consultant, Self-employed, 1999 to 2002
Working with clients to develop ecological education curriculum and staff training.
Senior Instructor, Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, 1996 to 1999
Outdoor pursuits instructor and group facilitator.
Senior Lecturer, Whanganui Polytechnic, 1994 to 1996
Lecturer on BSc Computer Graphic Design programme.
Managing Director, Fulcrum Creative Limited, 1991 to 1994
Marketing and graphic design consultancy.
Director, PP Associates, 1990 to 1991
MSc Human Ecology (Dist), 2003
Centre for Human Ecology, Edinburgh.
Deep Ecology: Ecological Wisdom for the Modern Age, 1998
Short course with Arne Naess, Stephan Harding and Stephanie Mills. Schumacher College, Devon.
Certificate in Adult Teaching (1 & 2), 1995
Whanganui Polytechnic, New Zealand.
BA (Hons) Design for Industry, 1990
University of Northumbria, Newcastle.
Key, D.H. (2015) ‘Transpersonal Patterns in the Natural Change Project.’ Self & Society: An International Journal for Humanistic Psychology. Issue 43, Vol. 2.
Lancaster, O.J., Kerr, M.H. and Key, D.H. (2014) 'Optimism, Pessimism and Hope: Personal responses to the professional challenges of sustainability.' Natural Change Foundation: Edinburgh.
Kerr, M.H. & Key, D.H. (2013) 'Evidence of Natural Change – Case Studies from the Scottish education sector.' Natural Change Foundation: Edinburgh.
Kerr, M.H. & Key, D.H. (2012) ‘The Ecology of the Unconscious.’ In Totton, N. & Rust, M.J. ‘Vital Signs’. Karnac Books: London. Ch. 5, 63-77.
Key, D.H. & Kerr, M.H. (2012) ‘The Natural Change Project.’ In Totton, N. & Rust, M.J. ‘Vital Signs’. Karnac Books: London. Ch. 18, 239-250.
Kerr, M.H. & Key, D.H. (2011). ‘The Ouroboros (part I): towards an ontology of connectedness in ecopsychology research.’ European Journal of Ecopsychology. Vol 2, 48-60.
Key, D.H. & Kerr, M.H. (2011). ‘The Ouroboros (Part II): towards an intersubjective-heuristic method for ecopsychology research.’ European Journal of Ecopsychology. Vol 2, 61-75.
Key, D.H. & Kerr, M.H. (2011) ‘The Natural Change Project: Catalysing Leadership for Sustainability.’ WWF-Scotland: Dunkeld.
Key D.H. & Macdonald, L. (2010) ‘Natural Change Project.’ In Britton, T. (ed.) ‘Hand Made: Portraits of emergent new community culture.’ Blurb: London.
Key, D.H. (2006) ‘No Words.’ In Angus, A. (ed.) Topographies and Tales. Proboscus: London Key, D.H. (2003) ‘Diversity in Unity.’ The Great Outdoors Magazine: 37.
‘What happens to us “out there”? Why can experiences of nature transform us?’
Elective Sessions: The Natural Phenomena Conference: Nature Education Network. Wild Woods, Glenbervie, Whangarei, November 2019.
‘Nature by Design: how to design transformative outdoor experiences’
Keynote Session, Elective Sessions: The Natural Phenomena Conference: Nature Education Network. Wild Woods, Glenbervie, Whangarei, November 2018.
‘The Roseland Walks for Wellbeing Project: Let’s just go for a walk’
Elective Session: Gathering at the Edge of the Wild: UK Ecopsychology Conference. Green & Away, Worcestershire, July 2015.
Public Keynote lecture, Schumacher College, Dartington, May 2015.
‘Alice through the looking glass’
Public Keynote lecture, Schumacher College, Dartington, May 2014.
‘Who is educating the educators?’
Public Keynote lecture for Traidcraft, London, June 2014.
'The Natural Change Project’
Keynote Session: International Symposium “Cultures of Sustainability in the Age of Climate Crisis”. Part of EU COST IS 1007 “Investigating Cultural Sustainability”.
Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Telemark University College, Bø, Norway, May 2014.
‘Values, Sustainability and the Citizen: Making the Cultural Shift’
RSA Lecture Plenary Session: RSA in Scotland and WWF Scotland, Edinburgh, 2010.
Plenary Session: Climate Change Conference, Cornwall College, 2009.
‘Ecopsychology & Outdoor Education’
Plenary Session: Advancing Adventure Conference, Lochaber College, 2008.
‘Beyond Sustainable Tourism’
Plenary Session: Scottish Tourism Forum, 2007.
‘Sustainability: Scottish Tourism’s Competitive Edge?’
Plenary Session: Tourism Innovation Group Conference, Turnberry, Scotland, Scottish Tourism Forum, 2006.
‘Ecopsychology and Sustainable Nature-based Tourism’
Plenary Session: European Union Northern Peripheries Project - Nature-based Tourism Working Group Conference, Ballachulish, Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage/National Trust for Scotland, 2005.
‘The Healing Power of Wild Places’
Plenary Session: E39 COST Action - Human Health Benefits of Forests Conference, University of Edinburgh, Forestry Commission/European Union, 2004.
‘Wild at Heart: The Philosophy & Psychology of Wild Places’
Plenary Session: Sustaining Wild Land Conference, Pitlochry, Scotland, John Muir Trust, 2004.
‘Deep Ecology: An Ecosophy of Wildness’
Elective Session: Wild at Heart Conference, Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, Scotland, 2004.
‘Wild at Heart: The philosophy and psychology of wild places’
Originated and convened two conferences to promote deeper discussion about the fundamental role of wild places in human affairs. External funding acquired through the Cairngorms National Park Authority, The Great Outdoors Magazine and SportScotland, 2003 & 2004.
‘The Ecology of Adventure’
Elective Session: Wild at Heart Conference, Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, Scotland, 2003.
‘The Ecology of Adventure’
Plenary Session: Human Ecology Research Methods Conference, Centre for Human Ecology, Edinburgh, 2003.
‘The Ecology of Adventure’
Plenary Session: Outdoor Education Research Forum, University of Edinburgh, 2003.
‘Outdoor Experiential Learning in New Zealand’
Elective Session: Asia Pacific Conference & Exhibition of Experiential Learning (APCEEL), Singapore, Singapore Training and Development Association, Outward Bound Singapore and Association of Experiential Education, 1998.