Campsite at Shield Ranch.
Photo by Leonid Furmansky.

Creative Nature Retreat

This fall, connect to your creative self and draw inspiration from the stunning wildlands at the Campsite at Shield Ranch.

About the Retreat

Restore your creative practice while feeling inspired and supported in nature and community. The retreat will be led by creative coach, artist, and designer Natalie Davis with singer/songwriter Jillette Johnson, and Shield Ranch Foundation program director Justine Kies.

Women and non-binary people are welcome. The retreat is ideal for the creatively inclined, caretakers, and people in creative roles who need to recharge. You do not have to be an artist to attend.

WHEN: Oct. 6-8, 2023 (2-night stay); 3 pm-3 pm 

WHERE: Campsite at Shield Ranch, 10417 Crumley Ranch Rd., Austin, TX 78738  

COST: $645 per person; includes programming, 2-night shared accommodations (option to request roommate/s), meals, and snacks.

WILD FOR GOOD PRICING: $450 per person; a limited number of scholarships are subsidized by our generous supporters to increase access for individuals who may otherwise face barriers to participating.


Program Activities

Retreat guests will have an opportunity to find and restore their creative practice while feeling inspired and supported in nature and community through the following experiences:

  • Songwriting
  • Contour Drawings
  • Yoga
  • Forest Bathing
  • Meditation
  • Nature Hikes
  • Nature Weaving Craft
  • Campfire Circle Under the Stars
  • Free Time
  • Reflection

Schedule At a Glance

Introduction & community agreementsSunrise meditation + vinyasa flowSunrise meditation + slow flow
Free time to settle in and exploreBreakfastBreakfast
DinnerSongwriting or Field contour drawingsNature walk or free time
Campfire or night hike Free timeLunch
LunchNature weaving craft
Forest bathing (mindful nature meditation)Closing group share
Free time
Songwriting or Field contour drawings
Campfire circle share under the stars

Sleeping Shelters and Amenities

Come experience the SITES Gold-certified Campsite at Shield Ranch, an off-grid, sustainably built facility where you can unplug, recharge, and enjoy nature. Screened sleeping shelters are designed to feel immersed in the natural world while offering natural air flow, solar-powered ceiling fans, and moveable wooden panels for added protection. Interior spaces include full-size cots with vinyl mattresses, roll-down canvas dividers, and storage cubbies. Five shelters are ADA-accessible. Shared accommodations include three guests per shelter with an option to request roommate/s.

Showers and restrooms are a short distance from the shelters. Biodegradable shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are provided. To conserve rainwater, showers are on timers. Four evaporative ADA-accessible toilet facilities (that use no water or chemical) are located throughout the Campsite. In addition, Horizon Hall at the Pavilion includes 4 flush toilets, and the Weather Room includes 3 flush toilets.

July/August Texas Architect magazine cover.

The Campsite at Shield Ranch, designed by Andersson / Wise and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, is featured in the July/August issue of Texas Architect. Read the article.

What to Bring

Please review our recommended packing list to help prepare for your time at the Campsite. It includes what to pack, what not to pack, and what’s provided.

Creative Nature Retreat Packing List


Our dedicated Camp Chef Addie makes every effort to source local, sustainable, seasonal ingredients from local farms. Fresh, delicious meals will be prepared daily during your stay. Our kitchen can accommodate most dietary needs and preferences including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options.

  • 2 dinners
  • 2 breakfasts
  • 2 lunches
  • snacks
  • coffee/tea

About Our Facilitators

Natalie Davis.

Natalie Davis
Natalie is a creative director, artist, and coach with a deep appreciation of her craft. She received a B.A. in Design|Media Arts from UCLA and her M.F.A. in 2-D Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art. As a first-generation Arab-American, handmade goods and traditional artistry have always been a part of her life. Through Canoe, she continues to explore the ornate textiles, furniture, and objects of her youth through the tactile practice of ceramics and leatherworking. She enjoys educating others through workshops, collaborations, coaching, and speaking engagements.

Jillette Johnson

Jillette Johnson
Jillette Johnson is a critically acclaimed recording artist who first garnered attention playing in New York City, where she released her 2013 debut album, Water in a Whale. Throughout her decade-long career, she has been a road warrior, a piano-pop torchbearer, and a singer/songwriter. Jillette is also a certified yoga teacher and designer/owner of several Airbnbs in Nashville, Tenn. She has a deep passion for holding space for people, helping to foster curiosity, creativity, and connection.

Justine Kies.

Justine Kies
As Shield Ranch Foundation program director, Justine Kies facilitates groups’ goals and implements nature immersion programs at the Campsite. Since 2016, her boots have been walking along the trails of Shield Ranch Barton Creek with youth and adults connecting them to the beauty and significance of the land. She has led seven Camp El Ranchito seasons, five as camp director. In January 2020, Justine trained with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy as a certified forest bathing guide.


For more information about the Creative Nature Retreat, contact Justine Kies.