Hello! I'm Dave Key. I work at the intersection of outdoor leadership and ecopsychology.

Since 1996 I have designed and delivered outdoor programmes for psychological wellbeing 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.

Facilitator & Coach, Self-employed, 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
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
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
Marketing consultant.

Education

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.

‘Applied Ecopsychology’
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.
Video: http://www.traid.org.uk/traidtalks-who-is-educating-the-educators/

'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.

‘Ecopsychology’
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.


I was greatly impressed by the depth of Dave’s expertise, insights and empathic connection to the landscape as he led our group of wild lawyers through the wilderness of the Knoydart Peninsula in Scotland.

Cormac Cullinan
Organisation:Cullinan & Associates

Dave is a very gifted facilitator who is able to connect people from all walks of life and to create a safe environment in which learning, practice and storytelling can happen for everyone. I came away from this course feeling enriched and with a new sense of direction for my own life and work path.

Karen Liebenguth
Organisation:Greenspace Life Coaching

Dave is an exceptional practitioner, teacher and thinker. We worked together for three years; if the right project came along, I’d have no hesitation in asking Dave to work with me.

Osbert Lancaster
Organisation:Natural Change Limited

Dave is an inspirational, calm and creative facilitator allowing all participants to feel comfortable and able to connect with the wonders of nature.

Jim Riach,
Organisation:Keep Scotland Beautiful

In learning that the wilderness can be such a powerful source of intense natural healing, I have a new and profound respect for the earth and our complex relationship with it. I now know that this is a new beginning.

Louise Macdonald OBE
Organisation:YoungScot

Dave has worked with me and my team for the past few years on team dynamics, programme design, and personal coaching. He is an extraordinary trainer, though that word is a dis-service here, his wealth of experience in the broad fields of outdoor education and facilitated wild experiences is un-paralleled. His attention to detail, subject knowledge, and impeccable research means all learning experiences with him are enlightening, thought provoking, and deeply practical.

Dan Ryan
Organisation:Eden Project

Approaching the beach from the cliff top I had a feeling something profound was going to take place. And when I met Dave it started happening. In just 36 hours I had the best reset I could have imagined and 36-months later I am still enjoying its effects. If you’re reading this and wondering if it’s right for you, just get in touch with Dave and see where life takes you. It helped me and I loved it.

Steve Malkin
Organisation:Planet First

I heartily recommend David’s work to anyone wishing to deepen their understanding and experience within the broad purview of ecotherapy. The bespoke nature and pacing of the work, together with David’s extensive experience, strong companionship and challenge gives a blend of embodied practice with imagination and study, making for a profound synthesis and optimal conditions for deep change.

For me it was a tremendous vessel in which to simmer and steep, one that promoted the risky business of leaping, that served encountering the nobly camouflaged layers of self and led me to “be able to stand in the wreckage of what used to be (my) certainty” and have that be a flourishing of wild and previously unseen truths.

I recommend David, the man and his work, to anyone with heart enough to commit and head enough to set the compass.

Keith Hackwood
Organisation:Synthesis Wales