Wild Earth offers unique experiences, workshops and programs all year long – lots of opportunities for people of all ages to strengthen connections to self, each other and the Earth. But, WHY?
For thousands of years of human existence, people have lived near the place of their birth. We lived our entire lives in extended family units, groups of no more than a few dozen individuals – our village. We survived and thrived by our wits and skill and creativity, and from what the earth provided for our sustenance. Our strong connection to each other helped fulfill our very basic needs of safety and nourishment as well as helped bring us inspiration and learning, friendship and celebration – the stuff that made our lives more meaningful.
When we come together at Wild Earth, we acknowledge our place in the world through sharing gratitude, we lift our voices in group song to engage with one another, we learn new skills and exercise our ability to innovate and solve problems, we challenge ourselves by rising to meet the unexpected and seeing what we are truly capable of.
It is part of our human blueprint to seek community with whom to share our lives, challenges and interests. In today’s fast paced, exceedingly disconnected world, our wits and skills and abilities are not obsolete; rather they are more relevant and important than ever before. Our ability to innovate, concentrate, communicate and collaborate are increasingly integral to personal and community vitality, resilience, and success.
At Wild Earth, all our programs are designed to strengthen connections. We remember our healthy human village by recreating it out on the land on each and every program day. When we come together at Wild Earth, we acknowledge our place in the world through sharing gratitude, we lift our voices in group song to engage with one another, we learn new skills and exercise our ability to innovate and solve problems, we challenge ourselves by rising to meet the unexpected and seeing what we are truly capable of. Our programs are created and guided by leaders of varying ages enabling everyone involved, participant and instructor alike, to find role models and mentors for inspiration and guidance.
In addition to cultivating strong cultural connections, Wild Earth programs are health affirming, good for you, experiences. At the heart of Wild Earth’s nature connection program is the creation and holding of timeless, unstructured, free play in a seemingly unsupervised way. A recent study by psychologists at the University of Colorado shows that children who experienced more undirected free play showed signs of stronger executive function, a strong predictor of success in school. “The more time that children spent in less-structured activities,” wrote researchers, “the better their self-directed executive functioning.”
Wild Earth programs are nature immersive experiences, where participants spend several (timeless) hours among the forests and streams of the Shawangunk Ridge. The health benefits have recently been confirmed by a Japanese researcher who demonstrated the importance of breathing in chemicals emitted by trees and plants (called phytoncides). Inhaling these seems to boost a type of white blood cell that attacks tumors and viruses. (People living in heavily forested areas of Japan have lower rates of mortality from several types of cancer.) His findings have contributed to a national pastime known as “forest bathing.” Evidently, the effects are enhanced when time is spent under trees, paying close attention to nature, immersing yourself in it.
So, why Wild Earth? Well, because nature connection is as important as breathing.
In 2004, David co-founded and, today, is the Executive Director of Wild Earth, where he seeks to help regenerate healthy community culture and create opportunities for people to connect with themselves, each other and the Earth. Prior to founding Wild Earth, David worked as a wealth advisor on Wall Street for twelve years before realizing a life dream – fully sharing in the care and parenting of his three children, and creating a small family farm. Today, the Brownsteins raise dairy cows, goats, chickens, bees and vegetables in season. David also maintains an active counseling practice called Root Connections, where he focuses on helping individuals, couples, groups and business leaders identify and manifest their unique vision. More about David's work.