Past projects

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Environmental Leadership Programs

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Testimonials “Our workshop with Erica from HumaNature Connect was just brilliant…”

I enjoyed …

  • “The chance to connect with an experience and make it practical to my work now”
  • “Hearing the views of other people, it was very informative “
  • “The opportunity to be hands on and creative”
  • “Time and space to reflect”

“HumanNature Connect were engaged by Banyule Council to facilitate a night for community members, the Banyule Changemakers evening.  Erica undertook significant preparation in the lead up to the event – taking on board all our requirements to deliver an extremely well thought out plan for the night. Erica, together with her team, provided excellent facilitation of the night, ensuring that conversation was on topic and inclusive. Feedback from the event was very positive, with the reflection process encouraging a renewed sense of enthusiasm and energy for environmental action.” Sian Gleeson, Environmental Sustainability Officer, Banyule City Council

City of Banyule, Changemakers Evening (June 2017)

This workshop hosted by HumaNature Connect in partnership with Banyule Council was about reflecting on how we work toward thriving in our projects and ways of being. The aim was to re-inspire people who are already actively working on environmental projects and those who are aspiring to do so and provide an opportunity to network. This highly successful event attracted approximately 80 people form across Banyule. Topics covered included nature and wellbeing, leadership and contributing vs doing less harm.

City of Banyule, Community Sustainability Leaders Training (February 2017; February 2016). Creating meaningful projects of passion

This workshop was designed to explore the role of participant’s connection to nature in bringing them to a point of further action. This awareness serves as a compass to guide project design and ensure that it is actually contributing to the goal of restoring health and wellbeing to the natural system in the best way it can, in the area of participant’s passion.

City of Darebin, Community Sustainability Leaders Training (October 2016; October 2015). Creating meaningful projects of passion

This workshop was designed to explore the role of participant’s connection to nature in bringing them to a point of further action. This awareness serves as a compass to guide project design and ensure that it is actually contributing to the goal of restoring health and wellbeing to the natural system in the best way it can, in the area of participant’s passion.

Centre for Sustainability Leadership (October 2014): How do we talk about thriving?

In the spirit of the Inside-Out Project, this workshop was delivered to participants of the 2014 Fellowship program to explore ways in which we can bring nature into workplaces.

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 Professional Development Workshops

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Workshop City of Banyule 4 2017

February 2016 and August 2016 –  Enriching wellbeing through nature connection. Presented in partnerships with the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria. 

Testimonial: “From the feedback I have received, the teachers really enjoyed your presentation.  You certainly changed their perception of what  sustainability and nature connection is and demonstrated how simple activities such as observing a rock  can be so engaging once you add story, personal experience and mindfullness. ” Tania Karamitos Program Co-ordinator Victorian Schools Garden Awards)

This series of two workshops equiped teachers with the facts and skills required to confidently justify and design, meaningful nature-focussed activities in the school setting.

Workshop 1: Understanding nature and wellbeing-  Focused on the concepts, facts and evidence

  • What do we mean by sense of connection?
  • Where does it fit into mainstream models of health, wellbeing and the curriculum?

Workshop 2: Creating the conditions that may lead to a sense of connection with nature- A focus on practice

  • How do we design, sequence and make meaning of activities, in a way that will more likely lead to a sense of connection to nature and the positive benefits that flow from it?

November  2015 – Using Natural Environments to Foster Wellbeing. Presented in partnerships with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne/Cranbourne

Testimonials: “The evidence was really useful, that’s what my principal will need to get this work over the line”

“I was really fascinated by the brain research, that we process emotion and poetry in a different part of the brain than normal spoken language. It makes sense that we have trouble putting emotions into words but can talk about it through art”

“I have attended a number of Erica’s presentations with the latest focusing on the research about the benefits of nature on our health and well being. I thought Erica’s presentation was amazing, participants were hanging on off every word. Erica managed to summarise a large amount of material and make it easy to understand. The feedback on the day was that it  will be really useful for teachers to use when arguing for well being programs in their schools. ” Gwen Michener Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne 2016″

“So well researched & left me thinking about the content for many days & I referred back to this PD in conversations.”

“Erica provided relevant & evidence based information & I am eager to read & watch the research sites/books she recommended. Very inspiring.”

“I feel totally inspired by Erica and fascinated by the information she presented – I shall explore through further reading!”

This workshop drew on the growing evidence about the positive benefits of nature and wellbeing to equip teachers with an understanding of:

  • Where nature fits into models of health and wellbeing
  • What nature connection is
  • How we can create the conditions that may lead to connection with nature

Teachers  learnt how to deepen and sequence nature based activities to create the most meaningful outcome for students.

The Wilderness Society Melbourne- (March 2015). Why I do what I do A creative inquiry into experiences with nature and values, designed to refresh and restore motivation for work in the advocacy space.

Inside-Out project (Nov 2015): How do we talk about thriving? 

This workshop brought together 20 cross-sectoral professionals in a face to face forum and approximately 20 more on social media to discuss ways in which we can deepen the conversation about environmental care in our workplaces,  to include emotional and spiritual aspects of nature connection.

National VET Training Conference (Adelaide)- Horticulture, Agriculture, Conservation and Land Management. (Guest presenter) (August 2014). Deep learning through personal experience.

Testimonial “As a farmer from the Mallee Region I was skeptical at first when you said this was going to involve story telling and creativity, but I gotta tell ya, I loved it….I think all politicians should do this with us and listen to our stories” (participant)

This hands on workshop aimed to demonstrate the value of experiential learning methodology in teaching sustainability. In particular sharing stories of personal experience as a tool for learning and creating shared understanding between people of diverse professional and personal backgrounds.

Jesuit Social Services. (June 2014)Ecoliteracy: Exploring meaning and practice A facilitated learning and inquiry workshop developed to help the J.S.S ecological working group to better understand the meaning of ecojustice and how to apply it in their work through out the organisation

National Outdoor Education Conference (ACHPER)  (April 2014) –The Meaning of Sustainability: An inquiry into the meaning of sustainability to support the implementation of the Sustainability Framework of the Australian Curriculum in the context of Outdoor Education.

Aus. Assoc. for Bush Adventure Therapy (March 2013): IMG_2989National Conference;  The Meaning of Sustainability, adapted to explore the implications of nature connection  and sustainability in therapeutic contexts.

Aus. Assoc. Environmental Education National Conference. (Oct 2013). The Meaning of Sustainability

Testimonial: “What a lovely workshop, facilitated with clever grace. It was a welcome return to curiosity,  even a fidgety wriggler like me slowed down and appreciated the insightful moments that arrive through mindful reflection …” April Seymore -Pt Phillip Ecocentre; School Programs Coordinator

Bridge Road Early Learning Centre (March 2014): Sustainable Actions from Values and Passions.  A creative ideas workshop to develop nature based activities for young children.

A selection of Testimonials:

” I loved reflecting and realising how important childhood nature experience is”

“In will definately use the ideas gained from this lesson in educating and interacting with children”

” It was very helpful and fun. I’m a visual learner so I found it fun and entertaining. I was always focused and interested”

” It is a great way to stimulate the brain, thinking and having ideas. I really liked the structure of the session.

” I am very excited to implement this new knowledge in my classroom”

” Great workshop for all early childhood teachers/educators. Hands on and very informative.”

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 General Public

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Bulleen Art And Garden. (May 2013). Awe, mindfullness thought and creativity – a guide to wellbeing and sustainability. An inspirational participatory presentation

Testimonial:

” ……We really had a great time and particularly enjoyed Erica’s contribution to the morning’s program very much. ” (Participant)

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Shire of Nillumbik – Panton Hill Bushland Reserves Team.  Presented at the ‘On the Hill Festival’ and St Andrews Festival (May 2014 and October 2013). Tokens of Gratitude  : A self directed, participatory workshop exploring values held about nature and the local reserves. This workshop formed part of a broader strategy to increase stewardship in the Panton Hill Bushland Reserves.

Testimonial

IMG_3289“The ‘Tokens of Gratitude’ workshop facilitated by Erica (of HumaNature Connect) was an excellent community engagement tool that attracted participation by over 50 people who provided meaningful comments about why they value the natural environment, particularly around the Panton Hill Reserves.     Erica’s wealth of knowledge, experience and insight into people’s connection with nature allowed her to create a program that was tailored exactly to our situation.  We will certainly be working with HumaNature Connect in the near future to assist NSC to engage the local community in the care and stewardship of our bushland reserves.”

Brad Tadday; Senior Environmental Works Officer. Nillumbik Shire Council

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Community Mental Health

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Neami National – Thomastown. Exploring Art Exploring Nature

  • IMG_3185 3 x individual days December 2013 – February  2014
  • 5 weeks (Sept 12th – Oct 10th 2013)
  • 6 weeks (March 18th – May 13th 2013)

Testimonial

“Our 6 week Exploring Art Exploring Nature group with Erica from HumaNature Connect was just brilliant. The participants had many opportunities to really see and experience the natural world around them and they used this increased awareness to guide their art making. Participants described the activities as “inspiring” and “really enjoyable”.
One participant started utilising art making to cope with her emotions whilst at home. Another participant planned to take his family to explore the local parks we had visited during the group. All participants expressed the benefit of mindfully connecting with nature..” read more from Emily Bull (Neami Thomastown)

“I didn’t know what to expect really – but it was a wonderful, interesting and engaging group. So relaxing also.
My impressions were that the participants really enjoyed the program and that there was a lot of guidance from you and support – particularly with art making. I found you really installed a sense that art making was for everyone and not just “artists” – which I reckon people seemed to really like.
I got a lot of feedback around people feeling a sense of peace/relaxation or calmness from the group.” from (Bridget Kelly Neami Fairfield)

Neami National Fairfield/Regent (October – November (6 wks). Exploring Art Exploring Nature

Neami National Doncaster (Nov 2013- Jan 2014 ( 3 wks): Exploring Nature Mindfully 

Some group members Le Page

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Students (Tertiary/Secondary)

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Tafe SA Diploma Garden Design students (February 2014):  Bringing the Heart of Sustainability into Garden Design 

A creative ideas workshop grounded in design thinking for 1st and 2nd year students. Participants considered what a garden may mean to the end user i.e. their clients and then using creative thinking techniques brainstormed ideas that would be resonant with their values and expectations. Second year students were applying this workshop to the generation of ideas for a real project : a roof top habitat and will take the ideas right through the design cycle.

Testimonials

” I have discovered that I am/can be very creative! This is so exciting for me personally as often I get stuck in a “head set” or get mental blocks and don’t know how to get out of this situation successfully.You are very inspiring and I have thoroughly enjoyed your workshop Thank you! ”

“This workshop helped me to define what it is about natural spaces that captivates me and how then to assist others in achieving this.”

“Was interesting to use past experience with nature as a way to connect with landscape design and future clients as well as making interesting connections to permaculture”

“Loved it! I realised my emotions and intuition is incredibly important. Therefore I need to respect and understand this in my clients as well. ”

” I loved how it gave me ideas and tools to use my brain outside IMG_2271the square – to believe I am creative; Part 1 made me understand  animal encounters with more awareness and understanding. Part 2 allowed me to be creative and free thinking. ”

” It was good to tie in an individual experience with a group  session to brain storm together”

“It opened up my mind to other ways of thinking. it will be useful in other parts of my life. ”

The outcomes of the workshop for both groups were, for me, unexpectedly fruitful. Some students expressed to me after the session that they have realized how much they are connected to nature and the environment, some mentioning that they’ve discovered creativity in themselves for the first time. Others stated that they would like to have more of those workshops for the future.
I believe this is a brilliant way to revive student’s deep feelings for nature and…. read more of Arbels testimonial

copy of circle of feetVision 2020 for Creating Sustainable Societies (March 2013). The meaning of sustainability – a creative inquiry. Youth Symposium – (For educators and students )  This workshop was adapted for primary – secondary students to explore their values about nature and what they think is important to focus on with regard to sustainable actions.

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