(For Professional Development) Trainings and Retreats
It starts with you. What's your connection to your sense of place? What are your stories of place and belonging?
Being able to articulate what you care about and why strengthens your ability to inspire others to care.
Personal connections to places is at the heart of conservation, preservation, stewardship and sustainability.
A Soulful Landscape training give you the same five-step process offered in my public programs, but our work will focus on creating compelling, memorable programs and stories to inspire your visitors and/or supporters and keep you inspired, especially during challenging times.
You’ll leave with strategies and a renewed sense of self and place. You'll gain tools and receive support to further develop your ideas. For writers and non-writers alike, all levels of experience.
The Soulful Landscape Training
In part one, you’ll uncover and express your personal story of connection to your place. In part two, using skills and writings from part one; you will further craft your personal story, or your story about the site where you work or are helping to protect. Includes valuable networking, supportive feedback and group brainstorming time, as well as individual time with Erica.
- Part one: craft your personal story of place and belonging
- Part two: craft the story of your site
- Explore the role of place-based arts in land stewardship
- Keep yourself inspired, even during challenging times.
- Cultivate community and celebrate your sense of place
What you'll experience
- Restored passion for connecting people and place.
- Powerful tools and skills to help you discover, develop and deliver sense of place stories.
- Ways to authentically inspire engagement in stewardship and sustainability.
- Ideas for how to integrate natural and cultural history with the creative arts.
- Strategies and support to stay inspired.
Formats: From introductory breakout sessions to in-depth half, full or multiple-day programs. All levels of experience. Trainings can accommodate small intimate groups to lecture hall size.
Part One: Discover and Enrich Your Sense of Place
Discover, develop and deliver your personal stories of place and belonging. Begins with a presentation of place-based arts and their role in land conservation and historic preservation to empower your creative voice. Followed by a series of sense of place writing exercises, practical tools and experiences.
What you'll experience during part one:
- Place-based arts: Begins with a presentation place-based song, story, poetry and visual art to evoke and inspire your own sense of place connection.
- Core writing practice: A three-part prompt that lets you see the connection between yourself and the places that are meaningful to you.
- Group sharing: Helps you hear your stories and others in a fresh new way. ( Demonstration: Erica usually creates several "songs on the spot" using participant writings.)
- Additional writing prompts.
- Sense of place experiences, such as a sensory walk and more.
Part Two: Develop and Deliver Your Sense of Place Story
Builds on the foundation created in part one. Focuses on telling the story of your site from a unique, fresh perspective. You'll work on developing your ideas using your new skills. Includes supportive feedback and peer brainstorming session. Workbook and other resources provided to further help in developing your sense of place writings.
What you'll experience during part two:
- Find the story of your site: Using skills developed in part one, writing prompts about your place from a new, fresh perspective.
- Structure your story:Learn tools and skills to further craft and deliver the story you want to tell.
- Develop your story: Using the ideas, imagery, formats and structures you have learned, beginning to flesh out your idea on your own, with the group or with the instructor.
- Questions and discussion.
- Integrative solo time and/or more sharing/peer support.
- Sharing our stories, songs, poems, essays or other expressions of sense of place.
- Plans and strategies for staying connected to our sense of place, sharing our connection with others, and inspiring others to connect with their sense of place.
What others are saying:
"Her work with the ‘sense of place’ concept provides excellent hands-on exercises in an area that is so often perceived as intangible, while her keynote was just the dose of inspiration we needed." Kelly Farrell, Assistant Chief of Interpretation, Arkansas State Parks
"The workshop lit a spark and inspired me to start writing again. Her approach of interweaving landscape and natural history with oneself opened up a whole new avenue of writing I never thought about before. As an interpreter, it showed me another way to connect people to places, nature, and science: by relating it to personal thoughts, feelings and experiences." Thomas Meier, Interpretive Naturalist, Baltimore Woods Nature Center, Marcellus, NY
"Erica has an amazing knack for bringing out the creativity in people. All of the workshop participants enjoyed being able to find a new level of interpreting personal experiences as well as developing their themes in a supportive, relaxed atmosphere." Deb Mitchell, Program Specialist,Montana Historical Society, Helena, MT
"Erica creates a kind of alchemy in the room where even the most timid of us is inspired to find the writer within. She gave us new tools and reminded me of tools I once knew and had long forgotten. She inspired me to get back to an interpretive project I had put aside which I am now working on with renewed enthusiasm and focus." Julia Clebsch, Interpretive Naturalist, Brooklyn, NY
"With its emphasis on integrating writing, music, and a sense of place, Erica's workshop was incredibly inspiring... [She] gave us all an invaluable opportunity to reflect on our connections to the land, our personal history, and our best selves." Walter Poleman, Faculty Director, University of Vermont, VT
"Place-based educator and author David Orr often writes that the ecological crisis is not a technical crisis, but rather a spiritual crisis. In a world where we often fail to connect our heads and our hearts, where we often rely so heavily on the deeply rational and scientific that we loose sight of our collective humanity, Erica helps us to bridge these spaces. Her songs weave together metaphors that speak to what we can learn from nature, and they encourage us to look closely at the world around us to discover what roots us to the places we love."Torrey McMillan, Director of the Center for Sustainability at Hathaway Brown School
Previous Trainings Include:
Interpreters National Association for Interpretation Annual Workshop, Keynote and Breakout session National Association for Interpretation Region One Conference, Keynote and Breakout session Arkansas State Parks and Tourism Winter Workshop, Keynote and Training Idaho State Parks and Recreation Spring Training , Keynote and Training Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Historical Society Spring Training, Keynote and Training
Educators Georgia Environmental Educators Alliance, Keynote and training Approaching Walden, Training Teton Science School, Keynote and training NEEEA, Breakout Session MEES, Breakout Session
Conservation Professionals National Land Trust Alliance Rally Performance and breakout session Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Performance and breakout session Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference Breakout session Maryland Land Trust Conservation Conference Keynote and training Trustees of the Reservations Hilltowns Meeting Songs and breakout session