The Origins of Project NatureConnect and Natural Attraction Ecology
In 1959, Dr. Michael J. Cohen founded an extraordinary Trailsideexpedition education school. Emanating in 1946 from Progressive Campingand Josh Lieberman’s Creative Camping programs, it was based on learning how to genuinely connect with nature as community, to experience the flow of our living Earth, in and around us.
….Through natural attraction sensations and feelings that were energized into consciousness during sensory contacts in natural areas, young or old, students and staff alike learned to commune with the web-of-life community including themselves. Nature taught them to enjoy, validate and incorporate the self-correcting wisdom of the web in their thinking and feeling.
….The National Audubon Society identified this program as the most revolutionary school in America. In it:
- Chemical dependencies, including alcohol and tobacco, disappeared as did destructive social relationships.
- Personality and eating disorders subsided; violence, crime and prejudice were unknown.
- Academics improved because they were applicable, hands-on and fun.
- Loneliness, hostility and depression subsided. Group interactions encouraged stress release and management; each day was fulfilling and relatively peaceful.
- Participants using meditation found they could enhance it, or not need it, as they helped build their nature-connected community.
- Participants knew each other better than they knew their families or best friends. They felt safe and developed the resilience to express and act from their deeper thoughts and feelings. A profound sense of social and environmental responsibility guided their decisions.
- When vacation periods arrived, neither staff nor student wanted to go home. Each person had enjoyably worked to build this supportive, balanced living and learning group. They were home.
[1993 APA Journal: The Humanistic Psychologist]
.….The sane and applicable process of Cohen’s Trailside School expedition education, not the madness of Industrial Society’s excessiveness, is the source of Natural Attraction Ecology methods and materials. They have received additional verification with the 2012 affirmation of the Higgs Boson and Gravity explosion waves