course »Urban Nature: Creative Strategies to Increase Resiliency for Social Services Practitioners

Date: 10/22/2015, 9:00 am—3:30 pm
County: Alameda County
CEUs: 12
Location: Oakland
Sponsor: A Better Way, Inc.
Phone: 510-601-0203
Research shows that being able to see even one tree from a window enhances well-being. Benefits multiply as people go outdoors and experience the natural world. Familiarity with nature helps us to understand, appreciate, and connect to our environment. As our relationship with the natural world deepens, we care more and take more action to care for the world around us. In the process, we build our own resiliency, positive mood, and overall health.

However, for many urban dwellers, lack of access to nature is a barrier to this exposure and its benefits. Lack of familiarity with the natural world is experienced as fear of the unknown wild, compounded by feelings of despair and hopelessness about the state of the world. This two-day course explores developing nature awareness in an urban context as a resource for healing.

The training will offer information, hands-on experience, strategies and skills for those who are interested in cultivating connection with nature for themselves and with others. Participants will experience how being outdoors and bringing the outdoors inside can increase regulation and promote positive attachment. Participants will explore how bringing mindful awareness to the natural world dramatically changes our experience of and relationship with nature. The training will incorporate mindfulness practices, creative arts activities, neurobiology, and interactive discussion to support self-care and ability to mentor others, particularly urban youth. It has been demonstrated that role models who influence others to respect and care are identified as a primary factor in reducing barriers to caring and action.

Participants will:
  • Learn strategies to help youth and families have a more positive relationship with their environment.
  • Discuss trauma and neurobiology, and why being outdoors and making art can support increased functioning and reduction of trauma symptoms.
  • Increase awareness and appreciation of inner and outer nature, in wild and urban settings.
  • Create art that responds to and interacts with place, using recycled and found natural and manufactured materials.
  • Deepen connection with self, others and environment.
  • Experience how creatively connecting to nature increases resiliency, adaptive functioning and wellness.