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Project NatureConnect
Institute of Global Education
Organic Psychology
Special NGO Consultant, United Nations Economic and Social Council
Practical distance learning ecopsychology courses for person/planet well being. Accredited holistic interdisciplinary health and wellness online school grants.



Educating Counseling and Healing With Nature

Supportive Degrees, Career Training Courses and Jobs Online.

Project NatureConnect offers distant learning that enables you to add nature-connecting methods and credentials to your skills and interests. We honor your prior training and life experience by providing grants and equivalent credit for it.

You may take accredited coursework and/or obtain a Nature-Connected Degree or Certificate in most subjects or personal interests. Please vist the subject list below, then return here.

  • Help people connect their thoughts and feelings with the grace balance and restorative powers of nature's web of life.
  • Increase income through ecotherapy stress-relief management.
  • Strengthen personal social and environmental self-esteem/well being.
  • Add the sunlight and beauty of the natural world to your life and community.

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Field reports from online participants:

"I was attracted to go to my newly transplanted container garden, as I do every morning now. The smile instantly appeared as I felt the spring nip in the air and the sunshine making a rare appearance. Slowly, I tried to focus on the birds and the smell of the earth so that the sounds of cars and construction wouldn't pull back into my shell. As I could feel my body transforming into a part of nature the stress rolled off my neck and shoulders and back. After a few minutes even the sounds of human existence didn't make me feel anxious. It felt as if I could see this space from a higher distance and see myself as just one part of the activity in this city. I think that without a connection to nature, I am often left feeling anxious and depressed by the city and the conditions of my neighborhood. We have lots of construction, drug deals, gun shots and gang members around my house and sometimes I really despise the city because of it. Yet when I can remember that even cities are connected to nature, that my box garden is still living by the standards of the sun and soil and rain and that my breath is one of my links, I can relax a little and not be so stressed out."

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect

"My experiences in nature have been some of the most memorable parts of my childhood and early adolescence. During those years I was fortunate enough to love sitting alone at sunset on a hill looking our across the fields, the early night air filled with he sound of crickets and the smell of hay. Those warm summer days were spent gardening and watching the changing clouds with endless fascination for they seemed to speak to me in a language that I somehow understood."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


"I vividly recall the lightening storms that I watched from our home garden. For a young child those electrical storms were both frightening and thrilling. To this day I believe that those storms have provided me with a powerful reminder of he brilliance and magical force of nature."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


"I thought late last year of changing my life in regards to living simpler and rented my house in town to friends and have been living out on my property in the woods with man, daughter and dog since January. I totally love it and my vegetable garden. When we had a cyclone out there in February, there was nothing as far as possessions or power to blow away... lots of trees down yet mostly very exciting and a good late summer clean up of all things. Our biggest concern was being with each other, dog included as the weather passed.

I especially have noticed that I am now stronger in my sense of who I am in relationship to the social paradigm that I work in and deal with. From this stronger sense of living outdoors self I have had way more energy for my work, and an identification of non-attractions clearly and faster. I sleep better... much better - I bath outdoors - I talk with birds in the morning while preparing breakfast and I have access to usual computer stuff in my house in town when I want it.

I recommend making the change, simplify and grow stronger."

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect



"As I reflect back upon my experience in nature I am filled with a deep sense of reverence for the earth and profoundly touched by my connection to all beings. I feel that these formative experiences have become a core part of what move me and motivate me to pursue work in Environmental Education."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


"My experience today is shaped so strongly by my early connection with the land and it's protective, nurturing and spiritual essence. I return often to those memories of inter connectedness and feel so grateful for having experienced them."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


"I most deeply know the peace and joy of solitude when I open up to my connection with nature's essence. Doing so then enriches my connection to the important people in my life and gives me balance between connection and aloneness."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect  


"As a young child, my fondest memories were made spending time in nature with my family. We took weekend trips to wild places both near and far, for the weekend or what felt like weeks at a time. We hiked mountains together, swam and played in lakes, watersheds and on beaches. My dad caught fish and sometimes I was successful at convincing him to letting them go, and other times we would all enjoy a meal of fresh fish together. At twilight, we all gathered wood together and built a fire. The conversations we had around the campfire in the great outdoors facilitated family connectedness and much deeper sharing them any we had indoors. In fact, we seemed to "work" so well overall as a family while spending time outdoors together. There was an absence of conflict or tension, replaced with harmony and love for each other expressing itself. I am grateful for those magnificent nature filled days of my youth. They have created a wonderful foundation on which I now stand as an adult who greatly values the natural world."

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect



"I awoke very early one day and saw the sky lightening through my window. I felt invited to go the beach with a cup of coffee and got there seconds before sunrise. I sat on my log and drank in the crystal clear sky, which had a vibrant liquid orange band stretched above the horizon and the lake as smooth as glass. Within seconds of arriving, a small spot on the water began to glow orange and before my eyes it spread and spread until a small arc of the sun itself rose straight out of the water. It only took about two or three minutes and the sun was fully out. I welled up at the magnitude and the beauty and the silent simplicity. I felt blessed to be alive and a witness to what seemed like a birth of a new day and a sensuous deliverance of myself. I could feel myself being wonderfully released along with the sun.

My trust of nature's essence as a fact was enhanced by this experience because I was so directly and immediately affected by this repeatable and trustable display of earth's love of and dependence upon the sun's light. I depend upon it as much as the earth does. If I thought this was my last sunrise and my last experience of that kind of connection I would feel bereft.

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


" A couple of years ago I went back home to the mountain, a place I had not for almost twenty years. I am not sure why this was the time I was to go home but I knew it was. Something drew me to go there and to the peak of the mountain. I had spent my youth there.

It was a hot sunny July day and we hike towards the peak of the mountain and swam in a lake that I used to skinny dip in as a child. I continued to the top, a place I had not been for almost twenty years. The hike was hot, strenuous and it was a and incredible accomplishment on the broiling day. the peak provided me with a magnificent view of the city , mountains and the ocean The place and view was the same as I had remembered. I felt an incredible sense of joy and relief the be there.

I think back on that incredible day on the mountain now and I know that it was a time for me to let go of my past and open the door of my future. And that is what happened as to long after my life took some incredible changes. These changes have been personally incredibly positive and I know that it all started from the day.

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


" My fondest memory of experiencing the essence of my being was a "stand still" moment at Quispiis. I was eleven years old. I recall sitting the beach; my hands and fingers gently over the round, smooth, warm flat stones. The gray-blue ocean stretched out into the horizon blending in with the light blue skies. The sun shone on the pacific sea waves. The ocean sparkled brightly. In one movement I lay on the beach and blended in with the universe. I looked up and saw two bald-eagles circling above me. As I watcher the eagle circle above, my senses became alive to the sounds and smells around me. I heard children laughing or squealing, dogs barking, birds singing; sea lions barking, the sound of a sea plane in the distance the steady drone of a fish boat trolling the ocean. The sea breeze across the sand whiffed a salty-scent deep into my nostrils. This warm ocean breeze gently embraced me. I had a sense of feeling one with mother earth, with a deep spiritual connection to the universe. Quite often I go back to this special moment for comfort, warmth or inspiration and groundedness."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 



" When I was ten years old my parents and I went to Saskatchewan for a holiday in a small cabin beside a lake for a couple of weeks. I spent a lot of time swim mining, playing around in the woods, walking down the dirt roads discovering the new smells and and experiencing the quiet. Many time I was there alone fishing and looking at the the lake. It was during these moments that I realized how well sunset and open water complemented each other. I saw how a lake settles as darkness nears, people on boats would slowly disappear, kids splashing around would slowly return to the cabins. The quietness of the lake is when the attractiveness of the environment truly came to light. The loons would be calling out, the frogs would start sounding and the lake would become like glass. Thinking back, I realize how fortunate I was. Not may people from the suburbs of Montreal had time to experience the lake as it presented itself. I have a sense that it helped me learn how to appreciate what nature had to offer and that I wanted to spend more time in nature. It was a great time. I learned and gained some very valuable memories."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 



" When I was eight I went to summer camp for the first time in a wilderness setting when we slept in canvas tents. It was all boys and it was my first time away from home. It was a time on innocence and naivete. The smell of pancakes and wet tent are stuffed in the crags of distant memory. The best part of summer camp was the nature hike leader. He was lively and dynamic and funny and caring and engaging and knew everything about nature. He lead us on a one-day hike that whose theme was the boreal forest and outdoor survival and from time to time he would make us stop and listen Stop and listen. One of the most important things I try to pass on in my daily relations with my students, co-workers, my family, visitors...stop and listen. We rarely take time any more to internalize our natural surroundings. The regenerative and rejuvenating power of this simple activity abounds."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 



" A hike in the Ova Peninsula is particularly attractive and memorable to me because of its pure sensory nature. I recall very vividly may of the scents, tastes, textures, sight and sound o f the experience. The transitions of the day are also marked in my mind" our departure on a humid morning, the building tension of the oncoming storm, the cool relief and refreshment it provided, and the emerging heat of our return. I remember my personal transition as well moving from worry over the possibility of bad weather to concern at staying dry until finally giving in and embracing the pounding rain. It is one of the most refreshing things I have experienced. I still smile as I recall sliding down the slippery slopes, getting knee-deep in the river, being covered in mud, and never so at one with the earth."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


" The nature hike leader made us write our name in the sand and then asked us questions about why we used this letter or that size and then he picked up a grain of sand and said that it already had his name written on it. "We're made of the same stuff and we have an intimate connection to this planet." Then he shifted gears and asked us to think that the grain was our planet and the other grains were the stars in the universe, an overwhelming cosmic adventure for an eight year old. He challenged our minds and our bodies and left us satiated. We were in awe of his mastery and in his non-offending sensibilities to question and guide and share. We need more leaders like him."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 



" I remember my brothers and I reaching the mountain top. We started at 5 PM and hiked into forest then alpine then show. The sun set and we climbed in darkness through icy crevasse fields to the south col. As we reached it in darkness, the moon came into view behind the Roman Wall. I remember being bathed in this blue electrifying light. When we reached the summit, the sun rose and bathed the peak in a pink glow, casing a 50 mile shadow to the coast. I felt on top of the world and utterly joyful. The return of that morning into forest surrounded by streams was rejuvenating. It left me sensing all my body, breathing differently , moving differently and deeply connected. Felt more real. For years I've come to realize the vital importance of me getting out every 2-3 weeks for a major hike/trip."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect 


" My wife and I were engaged on a mountain in the Sierra Nevada. We spent our honeymoon canoeing the lakes of the Quetico north of Minnesota. We spend a lot of time on vacation sea kayaking some of the beautiful parts of the northwest together. These are the events that bring us together. A mutual love and attraction for nature. We spend most of our time apart from this-and as a result we find fault in each other because we remain disconnected from the unity that brings us together. It is difficult to find community without unity-all that's left is comm. What is comm without unity?"

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect



"I was meeting with a corporate planning team to set up programs for high level corporate execs. I took a chance and asked each member to find a natural place, gain consent, listen without words and thank the natural object. The activity was a great success. The ones who were most skeptical had some great experiences, even though they joked about things. Just to put this in perspective, I later tried to explain holistic management and got beaned (BIG TIME) by this same group.

"Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect

"I was born with a "mild" form of cerebral palsy. When I was growing up, I was put through many programs because of my disability. I was labeled a variety of negative terms by my peers. When I got older, my disability was less noticeable, although still very real for me. But now I was dealing with people who tried to discount my disability, saying I wasn't "disabled enough" (whatever that means?!). So, I have been constantly caught between two worlds, never feeling I belonged in either one. Recently, that feeling of loss of place strongly came upon me. I felt sadness and frustration, as I always have. But, this time, after the negative feelings were felt, through the gardening activity I found a reason to be happy. And that reason was/is nature. Nature has no labels for what I am. It just gives me feelings of love and acceptance. So although I felt the sadness, I did not wallow in it, thereby making it worse (I had done that often in the past). I realized I could go to nature and find peace and acceptance."

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect


While continuing to sit under the tree, I took some deep breaths and allowed my body to let go of control and sank slowly into the forest floor to lie there a few moments, sometimes looking up at blue Sky through Trees and sometimes closing my eyes. What a comfort to let go of all burdens, stories, wranglers, worries and just let Earth support me in the simple act of BEING. It was truly relaxing and energizing (I felt very tired and stressed at the beginning of the exercise and then, at the end, ran part of the way home! Where did that energy come from?). I wrote: Is it possible? Is it right? Is it natural? Is it real? Can I trust it? To just let Earth cradle me, support me, love me Could it all be THAT simple? Yes.

Environmental Education Student, Project NatureConnect


I feel an infinity desire for the perfect balance of sun and shade as I sit here on this hot summer day. A gentle breeze makes me experience pleasure and comfort, and acts as a homeostasis for my internal temperature/thermometer. Trees, bushes, and ferns offer shade as the 5 o'clock sun shines through to warm me and my senses at the same time. Being outdoors and connected to the attractive combination of the elements is much more comfortable then being indoors trying to escape the heat of the day, breathing stagnant air and being out of touch with nature's intelligence. I feel much more sane sitting outdoors connected to nature's essence.

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect

I sat on the shore, listening to the cry of the gulls seeing how freely they traversed the winds. I saw the most beautiful shells in vast array, around me. I dipped my feet in the water and found that I had to have MORE. Waded in to my knees and needed MORE. I ended up, fully clothed in the ocean surf, feeling alive, connected, understood. I had found healing and meaning in those moments. I gave some tokens of myself to the water and it embraced me. It gave me a gift that I will embrace forever. Later, I found the sand in my clothing to be like a fond friend, one that would go with me always. I didn't seek to remove it. I carried it in a bottle, the water home with me to realize that no matter where I am, that water and its love embraced me no matter where I was.

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect

We are still enjoying seasonably warm weather here and just before dawn I awoke to a real downpour. It was soothing to hear the rain coming down so hard and cozy to be in bed to listen to it. Later, when I got up, I went onto the balcony and sat in the sweet freshness of a rain soaked morning. The birds were singing and the pigeons were preening. The trees glistened and the sky rolled by with all its clouds and shades of gray. I thought of the rain, and how it was attracted to the ground, and how the ground was attracted to soaking up the rain, and how the water there would make it's way to the lake, and how the seagulls were attracted to the beach area, just like me. I saw how the birds were attracted to singing in the light of dawn, just like me. I felt how the earth had freshened its breath and was breathing deeply after a night's sleep, just like me. I saw people stirring and beginning their days, some with cups of coffee made from the water of some other rainfall, just like me. I felt the wind blow through and wondered how many miles of earth it had swathed before it freshened us all up here before moving on, and I felt caressed by the wind as well as all the people and things it had touched on its way to me.

Ecopsychology Student, Project NatureConnect

Where we live, on the Eastern shore of Maryland, the gentle waters run in and out like fingers slimming at the tips. They curl into the smaller creeks and coves like tender palms.
The Canadian geese know this place, as do the white swans and the ducks who ride an inch above the waves of Chesapeake Bay as they skim their way into harbor in the autumn. By the thousands they come home for the winter. The swans move toward the shores in a stately glide, their tall heads proud and unafraid.
They lower their long necks deep into the water, where their strong beaks dig through the river bottoms for food. And there is, between the arrogant swans and the prolific geese, an indifference, almost a disdain.
Once or twice each year, snow and sleet move into the area. When this happens, if the river is at its narrowest, or the creek shallow there is a freeze which hardens the water to ice.
It was on such a morning near Osford, Maryland, that a friend of mine set the breakfast table beside the huge window, which overlooked the Tred Avon River. Across the river, beyond the dock, the snow laced the rim of the shore in white. For a moment she stood quietly, looking at what the night storm had painted.
Sudden she leaned forward and peered close to the frosted window.
"It really is" she cried out loud. "There is a goose out there!" She reached to the bookcase and pulled out a pair of binoculars. Into their sights came the figure of a large Canadian goose, very still, its wings folded tight to its sides, its feet frozen to the ice.
Then from the dark skies, she saw a line of swans. They moved in their own singular formation, graceful, intrepid, and free. They crossed from the west of the broad creek high above the house, moving steadily to the east.
As my friend watched, the leader swung to the right, then the white string of birds became a white circle. It floated from the top of the sky downward.
At last, as easy as feathers coming to earth, the circle landed on the ice.
My friend was on her feet now, with one unbelieving hand against her mouth.
As the swans surrounded the frozen goose, she feared what life he still had might be pecked out by those great swan bills.
Instead, amazingly instead, those bills began to work on the ice. The long necks were lifted and curved down, again and again; it went on for a long time. At last, the goose was rimmed by a narrow margin of ice instead of the entire creek. The swans rose again, following the leader, and hovered in that circle, awaiting the results of their labors.
The goose's head lifted. Its body pulled. Then the goose was free and standing on the ice. He was moving his big, webbed feet slowly. And the swans stood in the air watching. Then, as if he had cried "I cannot fly!", four of the swans came down around him. Their powerful beaks scraped the goose's wings from top to bottom, scuttled under its wings and rose up its body, chipping off and melting the ice held in its feathers.
Slowly, as if testing, the goose spread its wings as far as they would go, brought them together, accordion-like, and spread again.
When at last the wings reached their fullest, the four swans took off and joined the hovering group. They resumed their eastward journey, in perfect formation, to their secret destination.
Behind them, rising with incredible speed and joy, the goose moved into the sky. He followed them, flapping double time, until he caught up, until he joined the last end of the line, like a small child at the end of a crack-the-whip of older boys.
My friend watched them until they disappeared over the tips of the farthest trees. Only then, in the dusk which was suddenly deep, did she realize that tears were running down her cheeks and had been for how long she did not know.
This is a true story. It happened. I do not try to interpret it. I just think of it in the bad moments, and from it comes only one hopeful question: "If so for birds, why not for man?"

(See earthstories 101 for similar experiences)



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Readily available, online, natural science tools
for the health of person, planet and spirit
P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <email> www.ecopsych.com

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Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director

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All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the book
The Web of Life Imperative.