The Pathway of Experiential Learning
Project NatureConnect is built to function, as much as possible, the way nature works: according to natural attraction and mutual consent. Students in our program follow their natural attractions to participate at every level of the organization, enabling us to offer the program at minimal cost, with an extremely generous and flexible financial aid program. The whole program is an exercise in the development of mutually beneficial relationships via natural attraction.
- MS or PhD Applied Ecopsychology Sensory Ecology Track (SET-18)
Courses Offered by PNC Affiliates (Credits/CEU’s applicable for Project NatureConnect and Portland State University):
Project NatureConnect curriculum consists of a series of courses that build upon each other. Students learn the theory of Natural Attraction Ecology and the method of the Natural Systems Thinking Process, and go progressively deeper into experiential learning. Because our students come from many different professions with a wide range of professional goals, advanced learning is tailored to each student’s area of professional interest.
Students learn about how nature works by direct sensory perception. They study how our sensory system functions as an integral part of the natural ecological system, and how to use direct sensory contact and interaction with nature in education, counseling and healing work. Students learn from experience that nature is a ready and willing partner in human self-regulation, revitalization, insight, personal healing, and restoration of healthy, responsible relationships not only with self and others, but with the Earth ecosystem community as a whole.
The Orientation Course: Start Here
All students begin with The Orientation Course, ECO 500/600 (A). This course is an introduction to the model and method; at the end of this course, students generally know whether they are ready to commit to the certificate or degree program and to join the Project NatureConnect community. During week 5/6 of the ECO 500/600 course students may apply for admission to the Certificate program or one of the Degree program tracks by completing the Project NatureConnect Student Cooperative Contract.
The program path in its entirety consists of three small group courses, two theoretical self-study courses, three self-tailored, self-study advanced courses, an experiential practicum in participation in the natural system community process, two comprehensive exams, and for graduate students, a Master’s Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation.
Unlike conventional graduate programs which run on a semester schedule, group classes are self-organizing and begin whenever several students and a Co-Facilitator are ready to start. Typically this is done at the start of each month. In practice, each group class (known as an Interact group) may speed up or slow down their posting frequency through group consensus.
Personally Tailored Advanced Coursework
Advanced and elective courses enable students to tailor their learning to their professional interests and goals and provide a framework within which students can begin to integrate Applied Ecopsychology into their existing knowledge and experience base.
Detailed Program Information
Explore the Community Process webpage for detailed program information.
Project NatureConnect is not just an educational program- it’s an international community of deeply committed, loving people who work together according to individual attraction and mutual consent to support, develop and evolve both the organization and the theoretical model and method.
Wherever possible, the Project NatureConnect program integrates the fundamentals of Natural Attraction Ecology in its philosophy, systems, and procedures. Examples of this are self-organizing classes, sliding scale tuition, and student involvement in curriculum development, marketing, research and development…the community participates and contributes via mutually beneficial, interdependent relationships at every level of program functioning and administration.
Through their involvement in community life, students experience, explore, and identify the differences between organizational processes in play in traditional industrial society organizations (processes which separate the “human” from the “natural”), and the way we follow nature’s flow in the Project NatureConnect program.
The experiential learning model unique to our program does not end with students’ experience in the nature activities of the group classes. It extends into the exploration of inner nature as students experience being free to follow attractions and self-organize into work groups; to offer their skills and talents to benefit the organization and advance the science.
The community becomes a practice ground for the implementation of applied ecopsychology as the web of life is experienced in class and community relationships. Students experience participation in mutually supportive relationships in group classes, in the online community discussions, in self-organizing work groups arising out of the attractions of students, faculty and staff, in the use of consensus building, asking permission, and respecting attractions as valid guides to personal choices.
Students volunteer to play support roles and offer services that tap their skills, talents and inclinations. A student may offer any service they believe would help the organization by contacting the Executive Director Dr. Cohen. Students help build web pages, manage the online community, co-facilitate classes, write advanced curriculum, offer ideas for research and development, orient and guide less experienced students, and help to refine and increase the extent to which the program functions as a natural community.
They learn how to negotiate consensus even when needs differ, and how to relate via attractions when tensions arise. They practice going to nature for respite, support, and insight. They practice building social webs with strands of attraction, appreciation and discernment. They explore how it feels to be in community with senses and hearts open. They practice bringing nature into everything they do.
Students also learn how to network and build social connections to other communities, to nurture appreciation and excitement for reconnecting with nature at work, home and in their community. They learn how to invite others to learn the process and support others in discovering the benefits and rare potential of reconnecting with nature.
The community consists of students, alumni, and friends who may have been involved in Dr. Cohen’s earlier work or in on-the-ground workshops. Many students stay actively involved in Project NatureConnect well beyond their academic involvement. Project NatureConnect is a living, evolving community of people with a common mission to create peace on earth through peace with earth.