“EarthWalk’s core values - a curiosity and reverence for the Earth, a concern for friends and family, a fuller appreciation of what it means to be a member of a cooperative community - guide our son throughout each week.”
EarthWalk Vermont, founded in 2005 by Angella Gibbons, is a nonprofit nature education organization located in the Winooski River Valley in Plainfield, Vermont. EarthWalk's mission is to inspire and empower children, families and communities to reconnect with and care for one another and the Earth through long-term nature mentoring. EarthWalk's nature mentoring approach draws from and is inspired by the practices and principles documented in Coyote’s Guide to Connecting to Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGowan. There are now over three hundred affiliate schools and programs around the world utilizing these mentoring principles, including EarthWalk Vermont.
Today, EarthWalk annually serves more than 300 families through year-round youth and adult programs, including:
EarthWalk Village School
Field Institute courses for educators
Seasonal, multigenerational Community Days
a holistic and dynamic education model in which nature is the primary teacher and mentors skillfully guide and reconnect us to one another and the natural world.
At the heart of this mentoring approach are the Core Routines of Nature-Connection, developed by Jon Young and the Wilderness Awareness School. These practices and principles of Nature Mentoring are documented in Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature, by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGowan. The Core Routines of Nature-Connection (or habits of learning) at EarthWalk include sensory awareness activities, games, outdoor living skills, giving thanks, making crafts, practicing the art of questioning, visiting a sit spot, singing and storytelling. This 8-Shields education model, designed around the Core Routines, is based on patterns, cycles and seasons we experience and can observe in the natural world.
From Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature
"The Core Routines of Nature Connection are things people do to learn nature’s ways. They aren’t lessons. They aren’t knowledge. They are learning habits. Luckily for us as nature guides, shifting our mental habits into these Core Routines of Nature Connection comes as second nature to all human beings. This way of knowing was not born a few hundred years ago, or even with the rise of civilization thousands of years ago. Rather than informing, our teaching job educates ourselves and those we mentor to discover what the Haudenosaunee people call our 'original instructions.' Humans evolved with original instructions designed for dynamic awareness of nature. If we can inspire practice of these Core Routines, remembering our original instructions will happen on its own."