Our mission is to provide the means by which people anywhere on Earth can reconnect to the natural world where they live. The Exploring a Sense of Place programs and guidebook are the tools for discovering how to do this wherever you are.
Everywhere on Earth life is established on a functional community basis. Each distinctive bioregion is composed of mutually supporting life systems that have organized and sustained over vast expanses of time.
Exploring a Sense of Place began in 2001, inspired by Wendell Berry’s observation “You can’t know who you are until you know where you are,” and the disconnect between our human culture and the world it overlies. The recent natural disasters have only emphasized the fact that as a society we have become fluent in our human constructs, yet we remain illiterate in the systems of the Earth. While most of us recognize where we live by its cities, buildings, places of business, even sport teams, how many of us identify with and understand the beauty, wonder and actual functioning of the natural ecosystem which supports us, and of which we are a part? We believe there is wisdom in the idea that rootedness in place is the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.
For us, as humans, to endure within these communities, we first need to become aware of their natural patterns and then design and express our presence in a manner which will result in a mutually-beneficial, enhanced relationship.
As humans, we identify ourselves primarily through relationship – relationship with family, religion, ethnicity, community, town, state, nation. Two of our most prevailing challenges seem to be our limited identification, often forcing us into adversarial behavior with one another and our profound disconnection from place, which leads us to miss seeing nature as our teacher.
Exploring a Sense of Place offers opportunities for reconnection at all levels — Exploring a Sense of Place at home, in my community, in my bioregion, within the larger community of life and in the Universe. All of these are about re-identifying ourselves and reconnecting.
A project of Children in Nature Collaborative, which is a project of Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization.