Nalini Nadkarni’s “Trees and Spirituality” sermon allows parishioners to connect with the natural world

Trees&SpiritualityBookCoverOn Sunday, September 22nd, Nalini Nadkarni gave a sermon on “Trees and Spirituality” at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Salt Lake City. The Reverend Tom Goldsmith shared his pulpit for twenty-five minutes to present this interfaith talk about the many connections that exist between trees/forests and spirituality/religions of the world.

Along with several students from The University of Utah, Dr. Nadkarni also produced a small booklet that maps and documents (with both scientific and spiritual materials) all of the trees that grow on the grounds of this church. After the services, congregants went outside with a copy of this booklet and learned about the trees that are protected on their sacred ground.

Dr. Nadkarni has plans to produce similar booklets for other places of worship, which would create the potential for a “tree tour of churches” in which congregations visit and learn about trees at other churches and churches that have other trees.

You can read more about the project here and download the booklet here.

ESA MN 2013 workshop: Fostering Community-Ecologist Partnerships for Environmental Justice

“Fostering Community-Ecologist Partnerships for Environmental Justice”

Friday, August 9     ●     12 – 5 pm (lunch available at 11:30 am)    

University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, 2001 Plymouth Ave. North, Minneapolis, MN


Do you work with a community-based organization focusing on environmental justice issues in the Minneapolis, MN area?  Would you like to share the story of one of your projects, learn from other organizations doing similar work, and strengthen partnerships with ecologists? 

If so, please contact us to learn more about participating in this workshop on “Fostering Community-Ecologist Partnerships for Environmental Justice,” to be held on Friday, August 9 from 12-5 pm in Minneapolis, MN.

Background

One of the goals of the Environmental Justice Section of the Ecological Society of America is to promote partnerships between community organizations and ecologists that contribute to healthy, sustainable communities.  In 2013, we received a planning grant from the ESA Governing Board to support a workshop, “Fostering Community-Ecologist Partnerships for Environmental Justice” following ESA’s 2013 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis.  This workshop will engage EJ organizations and ESA members in sharing, learning from, and supporting community-led EJ work that includes research and education partnerships with ecologists.

 Workshop Goals:

  • Share and learn from stories of community-ecologist partnerships: We will provide a forum for EJ organizations to share stories of specific projects involving community-based ecological research.  From these, we will identify lessons and further work to enhance community-ecologist partnerships.
  • Lay the foundation for a community of practice (CoP): We will explore the potential for an ongoing CoP dedicated to supporting and enhancing community-ecologist partnerships for EJ.  We will consider:
    • Structures and technologies for ongoing communication
    • Potential functions and activities of a CoP
  • Outline resources we could develop to provide guidance to community organizations and ecologists seeking to collaborate.  We will consider:
    • A guidebook/summary of best practices
    • A collection of multimedia practice stories
    • An annotated guide to resources on community-ecologist partnerships and participatory research in general.

Workshop Approach & Agenda: Sharing and learning from practice stories

  • We will develop the final workshop agenda in collaboration with participating community organizations, but our tentative plan is to begin with each organization sharing the story of a specific project involving community-based ecological research.  Each organization is encouraged to be creative in choosing the format and media that best portrays your hopes, activities, successes, and struggles in a specific effort.
  • We will use these stories as a starting point for discussing the types of relationships and resources that would support useful research and education partnerships with ecologists – and then lay the foundation for creating those relationships and resources together.