Anne Morse’s journey started with a love of wild places, particularly northern places, fostered by her family and upbringing. She began working for Outward Bound in Maine and the Adirondacks, while also exploring social justice issues around nuclear disarmament and US involvement in Central America.
She notes, “I discovered in myself something of a social activist. I came of age in the peace movement in Boston and Nicaragua, and then for several years channelled my energy for making the world a more just and peaceful place into the avenues for personal transformation offered within the context of Outward Bound courses.” She continues, “My thinking is that if we can build just, constructive, collaborative communities of ten or twelve people, we will learn at least some of the skills and awareness needed to build a more just and collaborative—and ultimately more sustainable—society.”
Over time, Morse migrated west to the Boundary Waters and eventually south to Big Bend, Texas, where she fell in love with desert places. As part of the migratory pattern of a full time Outward Bound Instructor and Course Director, she paddled desert rivers in the winter, the Boundary Waters in the summer, assorted northern rivers in Ontario, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories (now Nunavut) in summer and fall, and at times played on springtime rivers in Idaho. From Outward Bound, Morse moved on to finish her BA at the Prescott College Adult Degree Program in Prescott, Arizona, and later completed her MA in Conflict Management at Antioch.
She began teaching at Prescott and her classes included everything from Interpersonal Communication and Small Group Dynamics, to Group Process for Outdoor Leaders, taught along the Rio Grande in Big Bend Texas. She developed a course on Gender in Outdoor Leadership, which students explored while backpacking in eastern Arizona or Colorado. For many years, she taught Therapeutic Use of Wilderness along the canyons of the San Juan River each May. She says, “While the landscapes varied as much as the syllabi, to me the overarching goal was always the same: to help people grow into who they want to be, in response to and in full awareness of the challenges that our society and environment are facing.
I am just a helper in the teaching process; I structure the experience, but the students teach each other, and the rivers, mountains, weather, trees, books, journals, essays, discussions, and rocks teach, too.”
Having come home to New England with her family in 2000, the landscapes she teaches in are different now. They are the Sugarbush and the Cedar Swamp, the icy rivers running between snowy banks, the slopes of the Green Mountains, the classrooms of Sterling College, and the whitewashed fences of the Common. Annually, she makes the Rio Grande in Big Bend Texas her classroom, as part of the Sterling College Southwest Field Semester. The lessons are the same and yet different. In recent years it has become increasingly clear to Morse that race and racism lie at the root of the problems we face, both locally in our own small communities, and on a regional, national, or global level. Whether we are studying gender, outdoor education theory, social justice, risk management on the challenge course, facilitation skills, conflict management, or group dynamics, racism needs to be part of the conversation.
“Our survival,” Morse says, “will depend on our ability to attend to detail, comprehend the big picture, take responsibility for our choices and understand their impact, relate well with others, care deeply for ourselves, others, and the planet, solve problems, and laugh together.”
|Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution||The McGregor School of Antioch University|
|B.A., Education and Social Studies||Prescott College Adult Degree Program|
|MA. Studies in the Peace and Justice Program,||Tufts University, Medford|
|Liberal Arts studies with a focus on the US labor movement and Russian language and history||Yale University, New Haven, CT|
|An Outdoor Educator’s Parallel Calling: the fight for climate justice at the Regional Conference of the Association for Experiential Education, 2015.|
|Exploring Being Woman, Being Leader, Being Parent at the International Conference of the Association for Experiential Education, 2009, and at the Northeast Regional Conference for the Association for Experiential Education, 2011|
|at the Northeast Regional Conference for the Association for Experiential Education, 2011.|
|Conflict Management and Mediation, at the Northeast Regional Association for Experiential Education Conference, 2008 and 2009.|
|Outdoor orientation integrated into the curriculum- at the Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium at the Northeast Regional Association for Experiential Education Conference, 2006.|
|Gender and the Development of Voice, at the Northeast Regional Association for Experiential Education Conference, 2006.|
|The Role of the Outdoor Educator in Promoting Social Change, at the Northeast Regional Association for Experiential Education Conference, 2005.|
|Transforming the human/nature relationship, at the Northeast Regional Association for Experiential Education Conference, 2004 and 2005.|
|Mediation: a Tool for Constructive Conflict Resolution, at the International Conference of the Association for Experiential Education, November 2002, and Northeast Regional Conferences, 2003, 2004.|
|Gender in Adventure Education, at the International Conference of the Association for Experiential Education, November, 1997.|
|National Wilderness Risk Managers Conference, October 1999. Keynote Speaker.|
|Gender Conflict in Adventure Education: Three Feminist Perspectives. Journal of Experiential Education, Dec. 1997.|
Outstanding Experiential Educator of the Year Award, Association for Experiential Education, 2009.
Co-organizer, The Rendezvous for Energy, Culture, Truth, Justice in Irasburg VT, August 2013
Certifications and trainings:
- Wilderness First Responder
- Certified Mediator for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office
- Secondary Education Social Studies Teaching Certificate, State of Arizona
- Swiftwater Rescue Technician
- Trained in High Angle Rescue
- Trained as a Restorative Justice Panel Volunteer, Hardwick Greensboro Restorative Justice Program
Three Books You Recommend?
Deep Green Resistance, by Jensen, McBay and Keith, for Leadership and Social Change. The Tao of Leadership, Heider, for Foundations of Outdoor Education. Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks, for Gender in US Society.