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Bio (Hilary Leighton)

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Hilary Leighton

Hilary Leighton


Assistant Professor, Program Head


Environment and Sustainability


Dr. Hilary Leighton is an assistant professor and acting program head for the Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication program, and program head for the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Community Development program. Formerly the director of individualized studies for the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies program, Leighton worked with students to co-create pathways to degree completion. Her current research focuses on eco-pedagogy—recovering wildness in teaching and place-responsive education; wild ethics—respect for the animate world in its own right; nature-based play as an essential medicine for human health and development; and tracing qualitative methods to ancient myths and etymological roots.



A lifelong apprentice to nature and psyche, Leighton is an educator and eco-psychotherapist who draws wisdom from eco-psychology, depth psychology, integral systems thinking, mythology, Indigenous and embodied nature-based practices, literature, the poetic traditions and deep play. Leighton reflects the ethical dilemma, suffering and loss of our relationships with wildness and to re-embrace learning as an initiation toward wholeness, maturation and a deeper, more soulful way of belonging to the world. She is a registered clinical counsellor in B.C., a member of the Canadian Network of Environmental Education and Communication and a founding director of the Child Nature Alliance.



Leighton holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Victoria (2014) as well as a Master of Education in Curriculum and Education from Simon Fraser University (2004). She is a recipient of the University of Victoria Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship Award (2013).