Alan Heeks is a conservationist, author and social entrepreneur who has over 20 years’ experience helping people to grow their wellbeing through contact with Nature.
He left a successful business career to set up a 130-acre organic farm and education centre, and the Seeding our Future project, which helps local communities and others to build resilience in the face of climate change. Alan and his wife, Linda, are keen gardeners, and grow much of their food in their 1-acre garden at home in Dorset.
Alan also runs workshops on developing personal resilience using nature, and specifically gardening, to help people handle the stresses of modern life, including climate change.
“Although I am an optimist,” Alan says, “I see plenty in modern life that worries me. But I believe there is a gift in most problems, if we have the will and skill to dig for it.
“I’ve had a lot of blessings in my life, and some tough times. I hope that my experience, the many things I have learned from others, and a lifelong connection to nature can be of help through Natural Happiness, our workshops, newsletters and other resources.”
I hope that some of my experience, and the many things I’ve learned from others, can be of help through this website and the resources it offers.” – Alan Heeks
Alan is an expert in growing resilience and wellbeing by learning from nature. Since 2012 a major focus of his work has been in growing resilience to meet future challenges, especially climate change: he is now working with Jem Bendell, exploring ways in which Jem’s Deep Adaptation approach can be applied by businesses, communities and individuals through the Seeding our Future project which he directs: see www.futurescanning.org.
Alan’s pioneering work on learning resilience and wellbeing skills from Nature has grown from his experience of creating two land-based learning centres: he has led many groups exploring this approach, and has developed his ideas in three published books and many blogs. His first book, The Natural Advantage, translates organic growth to the way individuals and organisations work. His second book, published in 2013, is Out of the Woods: a Guide to Life for men beyond 50. His third book, published 2018, is Not Fade Away – Staying Happy When You’re Over 64!
He is Chair of Hazel Hill Trust, a registered charity which owns and manages Hazel Hill Wood, a 70-acre woodland nature reserve and retreat centre near Salisbury, The Trust was set up by Alan with the overall aim of promoting wellbeing, resilience and sustainability through learning from Nature, especially through programmes run at Hazel Hill, some of which explore Deep Adaptation and other responses to climate change. See www.hazelhill.org.uk
Alan has many years’ experience as a consultant, group facilitator and coach for organisations, including vision/strategy, resilience and team building, values-based business, and change management. He has enjoyed a successful career in mainstream business management, starting in marketing with Procter & Gamble, and progressing through senior marketing and general management roles in the building materials sector. He co-founded Caradon plc, a major building materials group which became a FTSE 100 company within 10 years. He was non-executive Chair and lead advisor for Abel & Cole; 2000-2004, and in 1990 he set up Magdalen Farm, an education charity and 130-acre organic farm in Dorset, running programmes on sustainable living.