Mission, Vision & Philosophy
To deepen awareness of place, awaken the wild within & build resilient community through nature connection.
At White Pine Programs, we empower people to strengthen their communities and themselves by building connections to the natural world. We work to achieve this vision by offering nature connection programs for people of all ages and skill levels, from six-year-olds to scientists to elders.
In our programs, people develop a deep eco-literacy. They learn the names of the plants blossoming by their doorsteps and the animals denning nearby. They come to see and understand the tracks and trails that cross their paths, and they learn to read the history of the land from the types of trees that shade them as they walk. They play and hide among the hemlocks, create tools, fire and shelter from the gifts of the forest, and sleep under the stars. They listen to the language of the birds, perceiving the hidden hawk because of the robin’s alarm, and they practice listening to one another with openness. Their curiosity and awareness expand. From this awareness springs a new path of conduct in their human and ecological communities.
As we share these skills and cultivate this essay helper awareness in our students, they awaken to the wild within and strengthen their connections to the earth and each other. They renew their ability to tap into powerful sources of resilience, compassion and hope. In this way, we use scientific study, play, adventure and mentoring in nature to foster peace and connectedness.
We believe in the power of nature-connection. The cycles of the sun & moon, the calls of birds, frogs and wolves, and the changing of seasons are all a part of our natural blueprint. Separating ourselves from nature is an unnatural condition, often with negative effects.
Direct immersion in nature is healthy. Nature-connection is healing.
Many studies have touted the healing qualities of nature on the mind, body, and soul. This should come as no surprise because humans have spent over 99.9% of our existence living in direct con- tact with nature. A 1998 meta-study of over 12,000 youth demonstrates that outdoor education has a positive and lasting impact on the following characteristics:
- Leadership & Independence
- Self-Awareness & Self-Confidence
- Communication & Interpersonal Skills
- Academic Performance
Nature-Deficit Disorder, as defined by author and researcher Richard Louv, is the human cost of alienation from nature, including: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical & emotional illnesses. This disorder can be detected in individuals, families, and communities.
Nature-Connection reverses the effects that alienation from nature has had on many modern humans- young & old. We provide direct sensory experiences in nature -catching frogs, sleeping in natural shelters, tracking wild animals, harvesting wild foods, napping in the late-day sun, & silently watching the moonrise. This is nature-connection.
The 8Shields Mentoring Model allows our staff to provide a culture of nature-connection at White Pine, that we believe is unique and powerful. To learn more about the 8Shields model, click here to see a short video.
People often ask, “Is there a book that describes the White Pine approach?” Until just a few years ago, we always had to say “Sorry, there isn’t.” But now there is. Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Evan McGown is as close to a blueprint for White Pine’s approach to nature-connection as you’ll find.
To REALLY understand who we are and what we do here at White Pine, you’re best of checking out our schedule and signing up for a youth, adult, or family program.