David Gilligan, Faculty in Ecology and Associate Dean of Sterling’s Wilderness Field Programs, wants other humans to know that nature is our home.  He reminds us that wild nature is the ”wellspring of human being, of all diverse cultures on planet earth, of all creativity, of all thought.”  After many years of venturing into the wild nature and conceiving of it as the ultimate unbounded classroom, David remains awed by the depth and kinds of learning that are possible in extended backcountry field programs.  For this reason, he (along with recent guest Laura Beebe), lead Sterling’s Wilderness Field Program, which gives undergraduate and Gap Year learners an immersive opportunity to simultaneous participate in a liberal arts education and adventure in the Southwest and emerge as influential interdisciplinary naturalists, environmental leaders, educators, and protectors of the wild.  Guided by the belief that free people are responsible for knowing about and caring for our earthly home, the Wilderness Field Program uses experiential, liberal arts education — and a curriculum that blends outdoor skills with natural history and sciences, arts, humanities, and indigenous cultural studies — to prepare the next generation to protect, preserve, and thrive as part of the natural world.  

[05:08]-David speaks of the simple notion that nature is our home. “It’s kind of the wellspring of human being, of all diverse cultures on planet earth,  of all creativity,  of all thought and goes from there.

[08:56]-David speaks about one of his mentors of natural history who is fond of saying “there has never been a culture without natural history. It’s part of being human. It is being human and the practice of natural history is the practice of being human, but never has there been a time in the world? Well, natural history has been practiced less than today, so that’s kind of the conundrum we’re in and briefly following the notion that historian naturalaus or the inquiry into nature is part and parcel with being human giving people experiences where they can connect with the natural world…the wilder, the better with a solid curriculum and really awesome mentors. Their world is changed and the way that they then go and engage in the practices of their own lives becomes more, essentially human, less industrial, less digital, less, kind of, emessed in the trappings of the 21century…”

[14:15]- David talks of the origins of every single culture on planet earth coming forth from wild, natural landscapes. “It’s in all of our heritage. So why not make that accessible to everyone? I found that one of the important pieces that accelerates the learning process for people out there is the distractions of modern life are basically eliminated…everything is pared down and simplified to a level where people’s learning retention is amazing. People’s stamina for learning new content and new skills is unparalleled. The results are just incredible.”

[21:39]-David discusses trying to cultivate what we think from our perspective would be the ideal interdisciplinary environmental leader of the 21st century who is going to be very active through immersive experience. Like Rachel Carson was like Terry Tempest Williams is, like Gretel Ehrlich is, like John Muir was, like Henry David Thoreau was. All of these people, the signature is the deep experience that they had with the natural world. They weren’t armchair ecologists.  They, they lived it, and that’s what we want our people to do nothing less than what those mentors have done for us.

 

TIMESTAMPS

[24:25]-  David speaks of spending time in small groups, in focused learning environments away from modern distractions gives us a tool kit. “ It gives us a skillset to interact with other human beings that’s so authentic and real that students could come out of this program, be amazing executive directors for nonprofits, be CEOs of corporations. If that’s what they want to do, that the skill set that that people have after interacting with a small group for a prolonged period of time is so transferable to so many different life paths.

[30:52]-When Daivid was younger he wanted solitude and quiet in wild places and now he looks forward the synergy, the music of the shared experience with other people, particularly people of college age, who are really coming into a sense of themselves and their identity in relationship with all of reality. 

Transcript

DAVID GILLIGAN TRANSCRIPT

[:

Welcome to Emergency to Emergence, a podcast produced by Sterling college. I'm Nakasi Fortune and I'm Dakota La Croix. This podcast intends to engage in spirited, heart-centered dialog about intersecting, eco-social emergencies, featuring the voices and perspectives of people purposefully, engaging in ecological thinking and action, while fostering active, community engaged responses that offer hope.

[:

And joining us today is David Gilligan, who is faculty in ecology and Dean and Co-Director of Sterling's wilderness field program. David, a long-time faculty member teaches in the areas of ecology and natural history and has led the college's field studies programs. And he's particularly known for the extended back country, educational excursions that he leads in the American Southwest.

David, thank you so much for joining us.

[:

Thanks for having me. It's great to be here with you all.

[:

Yes. Such a great pleasure to have you, David. Thank you.

[:

And so I wanted to start by asking what is your early experience and how you discovered the sense of awe with nature beyond the walls of the classroom?

[:

That's a great question, and hopefully the question that we all eventually ask ourselves. In my case, I just have to say it was already there. It was in my cells. It was in my unconscious from a very young age. I was fortunate enough to have access to a small scale, natural places growing up in a town outside of Washington, DC, where there were woods and creeks.

When we're young, we don't need big wilderness because our imaginations are so extensive.

[:

True.

[:

So that was it. And I fell in love with creatures and trees. And, and when I found out about dinosaurs, that was a big deal. We used to go down to the American museum of natural history in Washington, DC. and I remember walking in there as soon as I could read.

And there was a massive, full-size skeleton of a, of a wooly mammoth, right in the, uh, the lobby room. And you took a right and went into the beginning of time. It started with the big bang and the creation of the universe and the earth. And I just started reading those walls and, and my mind was, was expanding from the beginning.

There were a couple of other big turning points. When I was an adolescent, I started going to an Episcopal diocese camp, a Christian camp in the mountains of Virginia. And this was unlike any experience with, mainstream religion I had ever had at the time. The camp was about nature and spirituality and it brought those two things together in a way that I didn't know was, was really possible and opened up a whole new way of seeing and being in the world that was really powerful.

[:

Yeah. And David, you, you began your studies in philosophy and religion in Northeastern, Florida, and you left to travel the continent and explore all these different diverse landscapes. What did you find and how did those experiences shape your priorities and kind of influence you as an educator? You just touched on that a little bit, but I'd love for you to expand on that relationship further.

[:

My journey through higher ed was very fragmented and kind of perforated by these times where I would drop out of school and go travel. And those were pivotal moments as is important as, as the actual time I spent, in the con the formal confines of higher ed.

Basically what I found out there was public land. I found national parks. I found national forest. I found vast wilderness areas. I found something that I had only, thought and dreamed was possible in what was then the 20th century. And that was islands of human civilizations, surrounded by seemingly seas of, of massive forests and beautiful, intact river canyons and mountains.

This was a as profound for me as, you know, camp that brought nature and spirit together in one place, cause it was really a continuation of that same self-narrative. And that was, that was mind blowing. That's what really turned me on to wanting to learn more about natural history and ecology. Prior to that, I just wanted to learn about philosophy and religion and kind of the, uh, the endeavor of the human spirit.

And being out there and seeing those places and having that kind of exposure to big wild nature just opened my mind up to a whole new level of interacting with the natural world. It was awesome.

[:

Yeah. And you spend more time than a lot of people I know, and, and most of the other people in, in, in the back country, and so everybody has their own definition of what back country is.

So can you tell us what it means for you and what the back country has to offer you?

Yeah, I think it starts with this simple notion that nature is our home. It's kind of the wellspring of human being of all diverse cultures on planet earth of all creativity of all thought and goes from there. Back country words like back country and wilderness and hinterlands all have this physical aspect to them.

Designated wilderness places that have lots of, you know hundreds of thousands of acres or even square miles, but there's also kind of a metaphorical piece to that. Gary Snyder. Who's a California poet, beat poet and Buddhist meditator. Wrote extensively about this idea of the back country of the mind. I think about that with wilderness to wilderness represents this unpredictable wellspring of creativity.

That's the Fountainhead of all being, and it's in each one of us. It's kind of like, God, it's both imminent and transcendent. So being in these physical places makes it all that much more possible for us to access those spaces in our own consciousness. I've often described meditation as a pocket wilderness experience.

It's a little campfire that we can carry around in the cave of our hearts everywhere we go to access that way of being that we can can access so naturally when we're in big wild places, when we're in deep back country for long periods of time. So that's a little bit of, of what it means for, for me and hopefully what we can do in our programs to help other people find that same connection.

[:

David, you've immersed yourself in the high mountains, around the world, such as the Sierra, Nevada mountains in California, the Ice-field ranges of Alaska and the Yukon border country, Highlands of Scotland, just to name a few, what do these places have common for you and how have they been distinctive teachers for you?

[:

That's a really fun question. All these questions are so wonderful because there's so many different levels that one can speak to them. So on one level, each place is its own place forever and eventually wild. I didn't say that first. It's another idea put forth by Gary Snyder, and of course he didn't come up with that idea.

It's ancient as ancient as the oldest wisdom traditions of the world. The places that I've been are big, bold, beautiful places, but really what makes them special is, is when I'm in the right state of consciousness, to be able to connect with how amazing and incredible they are. Some, some people would say that to have to go to those places to get that means you're, you're pretty dumb.

You're pretty thick headed. You've got a big ego in the way, and you need something massive, like a mountain sunrise to pop your ego out of the way. I'm probably guilty of. Uh, so I love places that are, um, give us just direct exposure with what I would call raw elemental nature, where the veil between what we experience is the physical world. And what we experience as what a lot of cultures would call the astral or energetic world becomes thinner. And there's nothing like mountain landscapes, oceans, windy, storm ridden, places, ice fields, to put you right there and make you feel the kind of humility and interconnectivity and, uh, fragility of that is that makes life so essential and wonderful to participate in.

[:

And over the last 200 years or so, a span of time, that seems a long in terms of human life span, but is really just a blip in terms of natural history. Humans have made a little bit of a mess. What might be different, what might become more possible, if a larger portion of the human population really knew natural history.

[:

I love that question. One of my mentors of natural history is fond of saying there has never been a culture without natural history. It's part of being human. It is being human and the practice of natural history is the practice of being human, but never has there been a time in the world? Well, natural history has been practiced less than today, so that's kind of the conundrum we're in and briefly following the notion that historian naturalus or the inquiry into nature is part and parcel with being human.

The short of it is if more people practice being human, then the world would probably be less of an ugly and more of what we perceive as a beautiful place. And for me, that means engaging in intentional reciprocity with the more than human world or what I'll call the natural world. It means I'm engaging in observation and description and interpretation of the natural world.

It means being affectionate to the natural world. It means cultivating. What eco-psychologists would call inter-subjectivity with the natural world, rather than focusing on the necessity of a subject-object relationship that a purely scientific view might give us. So I don't have all the answers, but I know what I've seen happen for people.

And when we give people experiences where they can connect with the natural world, the wilder, the better with a solid curriculum and really awesome mentors. Their world is changed and the way that they then go and engage in the practices of their own lives becomes more, essentially human, less industrial, less digital, less, kind of, in messed in the trappings of the 21st century,

[:

David, sometimes we find you in a traditional classroom, but more often than not you're in the field and not just for like a night, you're there for extended periods. What does an extended and immersive wilderness feel experience after you and your students?

[:

Another mentor of mine answered this question for me perfectly.

So I'm going to first reiterate what he said, and then maybe comment on it a little bit. This person's name is sky. He said the magic of the transformational wilderness field experience involves these elements. A long period of unbroken time, in whole healthy ecosystems with a small group of like-minded people, a solid curriculum and awesome mentors.

The first piece is the first piece for a reason. A long period of unbroken time in whole healthy wild ecosystems. I think that space and time have a lot of similarities like in biogeography and conservation biology we talk about this idea of habitat fragmentation. So a grizzly bear needs big intact space to be able to survive and lots of small pieces that if you pasted them together would add up to the same amount of space aren't the same. So it's the simple holistic notion that the whole is, is bigger than the sum of its parts in terms of time and our time in a wild place. I see that very clearly. So weekend trips are great, but you know, 30 weekend trips of two days each are not the same as 60 days of contiguous time in, in a whole healthy wild ecosystem because the continuity's perpetually broken. So you're transitioning in and out and in and out, in and out, in and out. In a 60 day period, you cross that transition threshold. You drop down to kind of the original state of human being that I think the word recreation is really always pointing to and you get to live it for a long period of time for two moons before that 60 days ends.

And I say two moons because your concept of time becomes different. It lays down and becomes horizontal, cyclical. There's a transformation of consciousness that only happens with the unbroken period of time. It allows for grizzly bears to live in our consciousness.

[:

Yeah, you're kind of telling us what it's like out there in a different way of perceiving and I wonder, how does this back country education fit into a college experience? This back country education?

[:

Yeah part and parcel with the wilderness still program is this idea of re-wilding education. We have 2 million years of walking. We have 1 million years of using and gathering around fire. We have a million years of oral tradition. We have 5,000 years of written tradition. We have 200 years of industrial tradition. We have 20 years of digital tradition. It's a lot of different traditions coming together and all of them have their origins and our relationship with the natural world. So there's no question of re-wilding. We evolved in the context of wild places. I think about what we call liberal arts education. It goes back to liberalous arts, which means the worthy pursuits of a free person. Right? So part of what we do in, in 21st century Sterling style education is try to make the worthy proceeds of the free person accessible to more and more different people.

If we go back further to the origins of human being, every single culture on planet earth came forth from wild, natural landscapes. It's in all of our heritage. So why not make that accessible to everyone? Why not fundraise to provide tuition free education for education that takes us back to the places in which we evolve.

It's all there. So in a more practical note, we carry books in our backpacks. We have classes, we have written assignments. We have tests, we have field quizzes, we do it all. It doesn't look or feel that different from what's happening on campus. But the context of the wilderness field program is, is what's different.

I found that one of the important pieces that accelerates the learning process for people out there is the distractions of modern life are basically eliminated where living in a very kind of Aboriginal human state, where with 12 people living in a wild, natural place. Carrying the things that we need on our backs, everything is pared down and simplified to a level where people's learning retention is amazing. People's um, stamina for learning new content and new skills is, is unparalleled. The results are, are just incredible. When you pair things down and create a really focused, simplified learning environment.

[:

I wonder David a follow-up to that. What is that, the shape and the size and the personality and just the, the space or place that, that students in when they start that program to, when you see them on that last day of your program?

[:

Well, again, there's different layers to it at the beginning of their program, people have expectations and attachments just like we all do. And at the end of the program, those are gone. And the reality of the experience has replaced those expectations and attachments. So there's, I hate to say it, but disappointment is a wonderful teacher because it, it opens the doorway for authenticity of experience.

And we have to be in, we have to be in an experience for a long enough time for that to happen, or we keep perpetuating the romance. It's hard out there, but it's hard in completely different ways. It's hard in ways that are very relatable to the human scope and scale. So it's not overwhelming. Right? That, that's something I think is a product of, of the modern world, that the challenges tend to be a little bit more immediate and the rewards for overcoming those challenges tend to be fairly immediate as well.

[:

Well, you kind of touched on my next question there actually, you know, I was going to ask you. Keep it real with us, what's it really like out there for you and for students?

[:

That's the big secret Nakasi, and it's a, it's a golden question that I have to start with saying it's, it's impossible to clearly answer.

And there's an old, spiritual alternative phrase that I think really applies here. For those who know, no explanation is necessary. And for those who don't, none is possible. So we have poetry and we have songs and we have science and we have all these, these ways of communicating to try to convey essences to other people and they all fall short of actually being there. So it's dirty, it's clean, it's simultaneously dirtier and cleaner than anything that we would experience in our home lives. You'll be more hungry and more fulfilled. Uh you'll be more exhausted and sleep better and have more vivid dreams than you do at home, et cetera.

You know, I could go on with the poetic language, but for me personally, and I've seen this with a lot of other folks as well, there's an amplification of the genuine human experience that takes place. That's not always pretty, but it's always beautiful. It's not always perfect. It's never perfect, but it's awesome.

[:

You have any stories that you can share with us of, I don't know, extreme temperatures that you've had to, you know, overcome and, and exhaustion and all the other dirty, but clean parts of trips that you've lead?

[:

I'm not Good with that because I intentionally try to craft experiences that avoid those kinds of extremes and because of some early experiences that I've had, I very intentionally try to craft an experience that de-emphasizes drama and adventure because there's enough of that in life anyway. And when we're out in the field for long enough, there's really no reason to contrive any of that because it's happening around us all the time.

[:

David you've been running the semester programs in the American Southwest for several years now and part of this work is evolving into this three semester wilderness field program. What do you hope the students will gain from this suite of programs?

[:

I think that conventional higher ed is themed around the perpetual narrowing of focus that, you know, heads you into graduate school in PhDs. And that narrowing usually involves picking a discipline, which has really a worldview of how we perceive the world.

And we're coming from a place where plurality of world-views creates diversity and richness in the human experience. So why narrow? Is there a way to move through higher education in a way that has a focus or a theme that doesn't require a narrowing of worldview that is truly, um, stays true to the idea of integral and interdisciplinary or not.

I mean, interdisciplinary implies that you've gone off into these disciplines and then you have to bring them together. So another tack is to simply not do that. So I call it integral and the, and the Ken Wilber sense of the term. So the idea here is that wilderness and the wilderness experience and wilderness on all different levels is what's tying the educational framework together.

So students are in through this, this series of programs, they're doing a progression in natural sciences that goes from natural history and ecology to biogeography, to conservation biology. They're simultaneously doing a progression about door skills that goes from desert backpacking and canoeing to high mountain expeditionary travel to more desert backpacking in technical canyoneering and then sometimes some desert rock climbing as well. They're doing a humanities progression that takes them through learning about ancient cultures and how they've co-evolved with ancient landscapes and the kind of the applications of that to the plight of humans in our modern times, and then there they're going on from there to study the history and philosophy of wildness and wilderness and public lands and celebrate how human beings have expressed themselves in relationship with wildest and wilderness through poetry, through art, through philosophy and other, other media, and then kind of culminating in learning about performance ecology, as it relates to the natural world, expedition planning and management for future trips. The idea is that we're trying to cultivate what we think from our perspective would be the ideal interdisciplinary environmental leader of the 21st century.

Who is going to be very active through immersive experience. Like Rachel Carson was like Terry Tempest Williams is, like Gretel ehrlich is, like John Muir was, like Henry David Thoreau was. All of these people, the signature is the deep experience that they had with the natural world. They weren't armchair ecologists.

They, they lived it, and that's what we want our people to do nothing less than what those mentors have done for us.

[:

You've spoken of the field program and I wonder how will these studies equip the students to address some of the intersecting, eco-social crisis's of our time. And what do you see emerging or imagine emerging from this individual and collected experience?

[:

One thing that comes to mind is that any practice that gets us in touch with the primal root of human being will shed light and perspective on the plights of our times. Because as we know a lot of those plates have to do with shifts in Life-ways and world-views, shifts from forging to agriculture, shifts from small-scale horticulture to large-scale arable agriculture, shifts to industrialized agriculture, shifts from written tradition to digital tradition. You know, it goes on and on and on, and the timeframes get shorter and shorter and shorter, and the populations get bigger and bigger and bigger.

All of these are derivations of the original human condition. They're all derived versions of the same challenges and questions that we face since, you know, since we've been on the planet. So going back to some of the basic practices of being human can help us. I think, give us a deep and abiding appreciation for being human than con in the context of an increasingly complex world and give us a sense of groundedness.

That allows us to simultaneously engage in practices that are healthy for the individual and for human and non-human communities without getting our feathers so ruffled that everything's going into hell in a hand basket all the time. Like we need to remember to party with one another. And I don't mean that in an unwholesome way to sing songs, to love and dance and appreciate all the good things or what some traditions would call blessings that we have.

In a more practical sense. I think spending time in small groups, in focus, learning environments away from modern distractions gives us a tool kit. I don't often like, metaphorical terms like that, but you know what I mean? It gives us a skillset to interact with other human beings that so authentic and real that students could come out of this program, be amazing executive directors for nonprofits, be CEOs of corporations. If that's what they want to do, that the skill set that that people have after interacting with a small group for a prolonged period of time is so transferable to so many different life paths.

Um, and I've seen that happen time and time again, I really do think it sets people up to be in leadership roles to help people kind of untangle some of the complexities that, that you're alluding to.

[:

Sign me up, like where, where do we do the podcasting in the field?

[:

Well, I was going to ask, you know, what does, what does fun in the back country look like?

[:

It looks like the real deal. I mean, There's this idea that I don't know where it comes from, that if you're having fun, maybe you're not learning so much and it's, it's not true. It's not only not true, but it's actually the opposite when we're relaxed and we're are enjoying ourselves and we're engaged in play. We're so receptive to learning because everything is open, you know, we're open vessels and yeah, there's a time to buckle down and get serious, but it's not that often, right? It needs, we need to be able to turn it on and off, but fun and play. Makes us more receptive to everything that we're experiencing.

So fun in the back country. It looks like swimming. It looks like walking. It looks like hanging around, hanging out around the campfire telling ridiculous stories about the different experiences that we've had, whether it's that day or a week ago or a month ago. One of the signs of a healthy culture on a wilderness field program is the conversation is less and less about people in places that are not part of our immediate reality and more and more about our own collective culture that we're, co-creating all the time. So fun becomes hanging out and kicking around and telling stories about our group and other experiences and interactions that we've had throughout our time together. Fun also means, charade. It means, uh, having playing games around the campfire that often involves skits and costumes and hilarity of various types, uh, it involves occasionally going into town and making a raid on the thrift stores and the crystal shops and the grocery stores.

And then of course, coming back to camp and telling and sharing all of our stories about the crazy adventures that we had cause town becomes the unfamiliar town, becomes the mysterious wilderness and wilderness is home. It's just another day.

[:

Blisters and belly laughter. I love it.

[:

So how might we, how might we foster, you know and facilitate a deeper understanding and bond with ourselves, spirit and with the natural world?

[:

I think I've been hitting on that the whole time, but I'll come back around to the idea of intentional practice, a practice of different forms of being quiet and still. What some people will call meditation. Practices of natural history of intentionally engaging in a reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Practices of, of wildness and wilderness practices of the wild spending time and in whole healthy ecosystems. And I would add the practice of what, what I'll call and what I've heard Linda Blackhawk referred to as intentional indigeneity. The idea is here is that we are all indigenous to planet earth.

We're all indigenous to being human. And there are things that we can do to intentionally engage in the practice of intentional indigeneity that take us home to a greater sense of belonging and human being, universals that every human culture has practiced at some time in the present or the past.

Those things lean us into the light. They connect nature and spirit like, like I think nothing else can.

[:

Yeah, you speak of home and it's interesting. I can only imagine that first few days for a student out on the program, maybe doesn't feel like home and then suddenly so many levels of home are felt through this program.

[:

Yeah, that's a great observation and a good reality check. It sounds dreamy, but it does take a lot of delayering of the psyche to what I call drop into or drop down to the level of what we're doing. And there's a lot of resistance that we build up. Some of it is conscious and some of it is unconscious.

It's it's true for, for us as instructors as well. You know, we've done 20 or 50 programs and spent thousands of nights outdoors. There's that delayering process still has to happen. The entry, uh, still has to happen. And then a real challenge is the opposite. What we call re-entry. What does it look like for so many to come from this type of experience and reenter the complexities of the modern world.

And we do our best to prepare students for that transition. The whole last kind of week to 10 days of the program, we're having ongoing conversations about the return and starting to process what are the transferrable lessons? What are ah new structures that people can set up in their lives to transfer the gems and jewels of the wilderness experience to life in the 21st century.

And there's simple things like sleeping with a window open. Um, but there are also more complicated things like learning the virtue of always finishing something, of bringing something to completion every day. Reentry is a big part of the ongoing conversation for us.

[:

And David, I have have one final question and I think it's a great way to close this out. You've been doing this for a long time now as an instructor and as someone who just enjoys being in the back country and in natural spaces. What is one thing that you always look forward to whenever you go on these extended excursions, as we are phrasing them?

[:

When I was younger, I spent a lot more time. I wanted solitude and quiet in wild places and now what I look forward to is the, the synergy, the music of the shared experience with other people, particularly people of college age, who are really coming into a sense of themselves and their identity in relationship with all of reality. One of the things I love about being in the natural world is that one of the lessons that we learned is that all identities are fictions and really who we are is this wonderful interaction of relationships with all beings and all things.

It's frightening for any egoic sense of identity, but it's liberating for, oh, I can relax. Gandhi said when, you know, tell us your secret to life in 25 words or less and he said, I can do it in three. Relax and enjoy. And I think that the sense of identity that we get out there allows us to do that and seeing that happen for people, that's the transformation. That's the magic. That's what keeps us coming back and doing these programs over and over and over again.

[:

I can see why, why you started studying philosophy. I can, I can see it in this conversation. Thank you so much David.

[:

Yes, It's been a real joy to peer into your brain and hear some of your spirited stories and conversations and shared wisdom. So thank you, David.

[:

Yeah, thank you both,

[:

If you enjoyed this conversation, do come back for the commendation. We'll spend a few more minutes with our most recent guests identifying the specific works that inspire them. So you can route further, draw new sources of nourishment and connect to the emergence of vital possibilities.

And before we come to a close Sterling acknowledges that the land on which we gather. Places now known as Vermont and Kentucky are the traditional and unceded territories of several indigenous peoples. The Abenaki in the North and the Shawnee Cherokee, Chickasaw and Osage people to the South. We also learn in, and from a range of landscapes that belong to other indigenous peoples and more than human kin.

As we seek deeper reciprocal relationships with nature, we respect and honor the place-based and cultural wisdom of indigenous ancestors and contemporaries. Words of acknowledgement and intention are just a first step. We must match them with acts of respect and repair.

Thanks so much for listening, you can subscribe to emergency, to emergence wherever you listen to podcasts. And a very special thanks to Sterling alum Fern Maddie, for her musical creations.

For more information on how Sterling is advancing ecological thinking and action. Visit www.sterlingcollege.edu.

If listening has prompted something new to emerge in you we invite you to share your thoughts as a written message or voice recording, which you can send to [email protected]

Until next time, this is Emergency to Emergence.


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