Thousands of students around the globe have experienced this unique model of helping humanity reconnect with Nature. Here are just a few testimonials from our students. You can find many more at our home school website at ProjectNatureConnect.
Connecting With Nature
“My daily walks take my dog Petey and me through some old Pennsylvania woods. Not too long ago, it was easy for me to have had so much going on in my mind that I hardly even noticed, much less appreciated, everything that was going on in nature around me. Other times, having felt no connection to the natural world, I’d come home thinking maybe I needed to find a more stimulating walking route.
Lately, however, my walks have taken on a whole new dimension. I feel like a little kid in a candy shop when I venture outside in the morning, thanks to some activities I learned from Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D., when he recently met with several Prevention Magazine staff members.
Dr. Cohen practices and teaches NAE Applied Ecopsychology, a new area of psychology that views people as profoundly affected by the natural world. Dr. Cohen is also the author of Reconnecting With Nature(Ecopress, 1997).
He taught us some activities that felt so relaxing and inspiring that we asked him to help us design some for you to try while walking in your neck of the woods.
These exercises are designed to help awaken or sharpen senses you probably haven’t paid much attention to. The activities help you recognize more strongly, through direct experience, that you’re a part of nature, not apart from it.
Dr. Cohen feels that this recognition helps people “learn to make healthier decisions for themselves and their environments.” In other words, he hopes people can make a profound connection between their psychological health, their sense of well-being and the health of the environment around them by becoming aware of–without talking–all the sensory experiences nature offers.
The value of these exercises lies solely in what you experience when you do them. If you just read them, they may seem, quite simply, silly. But if you do them and have fun, as we did, you may find a whole new pleasure and energy in taking your daily walks outdoors.
As I did these exercises, I found at times that I didn’t trust my own reactions. That’s when sharing your feelings or insights with a friend or a group really helps. If you don’t have a partner, share your experiences with me or on an online nature-connection course.”
– Maggie Spillner, Editor
Walker’s World, Prevention Magazine (1997)