In his book, the Last Child in the Woods the Author Richard Louv coins the term nature deficit disorder to describe the range of health conditions such as ADHD, depression and anxiety that may be associated with our modern day disconnection from the natural world. Currently, in the aftermath of COVID-19, the America's underlying mental
In his book, the Last Child in the Woods the Author Richard Louv coins the term nature deficit disorder to describe the range of health conditions such as ADHD, depression and anxiety that may be associated with our modern day disconnection from the natural world. Currently, in the aftermath of COVID-19, the America's underlying mental health crisis has come to the fore. One simple way that we can preserve and promote mental health is by spending time outdoors.
However, in today's world it has become exceedingly difficult for us to access the benefits of time spent in the natural world.
A growing body of evidence indicates that there are powerful health benefits associated with time spent in nature for both children and adults. Time spent in farms and gardens increase our access to healthy, wholesome foods and outdoor activity is associated with positive cognitive and behavioral outcomes such as decreased anxiety and de
A growing body of evidence indicates that there are powerful health benefits associated with time spent in nature for both children and adults. Time spent in farms and gardens increase our access to healthy, wholesome foods and outdoor activity is associated with positive cognitive and behavioral outcomes such as decreased anxiety and depression and increased capacity for sustained attention.
Beyond these positive physical and psychological outcomes, the impact of nature on the level of the soul is a common human experience. In the words of Elder Porphyrios in his book Wounded by Love: All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God - both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are the little loves through which we attain to the great Love...
You can join us investing your time and talent to help us engage communities in sustainable agriculture, gardening, and nature education programs to promote human health, wholeness and well-being.
Together, we can reconnect people with each other and with the natural world, and in so doing we can promote ecological literacy and build healthy minds, bodies and souls.
Who we are
We are a network of volunteers who are dedicated to finding creative ways to reconnect our communities to the natural world in order to help promote wellness across the lifespan.
What we do
We provide interactive online nature programs for early learners and we are in the process of developing the Elder Tree Forest School in partnership with St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church in Dayton, Ohio. Our Forest School will engage children, youth and adults in nature education programs that foster health and wholeness.
Where we are going
We are a growing organization with a goal of creating a therapeutic farm that will emphasize holistic health and wellness through work on ecological and agricultural projects. We intend to provide inclusive nature education programs in a community farm-based setting that will enable neurologically diverse children, youth and adults to achieve and maintain a state of emotional well-being and cultivate their unique gifts.
With an upbringing in beautiful, sunny Southern California I always had access to all the wonders nature had to offer. Coupled with my passion for creating equitable and experiential educational opportunities for youth, I realized informal outdoor STEM education was a perfect fit! Being a part of the ElderTree team has been an inspirational experience that I hope will become the same inspirational force in the lives of our Elder Tree families. In partnership with the Outdoor Education Center in Orange, California, I developed a service learning program called EcoCorps which provided opportunities for high school students to create real-life solutions to environmental issues through composting, agroforestry, and beekeeping. I am currently in the midst of completing my Bachelor's of Science in oceanography, science and math education, practical project management, and Chinese/Mandarin language at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I hope that my background will help us provide quality programs and contribute to the longevity of this organization
I resonate deeply with the mission of Elder Tree and hope my years of experience in the legal, public, and non-profit sectors will be valuable to bringing the vision to fruition. I am a strong analytical thinker and problem solver, practiced in taking organizational direction from concept to implementation. I am also a mom to a girl with neurological and learning differences and consider my most important role being her fiercest advocate. When I’m not working or taking care of my daughter, you will likely find me exploring our local parks, creeks, or walking through the redwoods.
While working as a naturalist in parks, botanical gardens and environmental education centers I became very interested in the therapeutic effects of time spent in nature and decided to pursue a graduate degree that would allow me to investigate the relationship between access to greenspace and human health. After completing a Master's of Public Health and Master of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Michigan I worked as a health educator and horticultural therapist in skilled nursing facilities. I have also managed a permaculture food forest in Orange, CA where I coordinated ecology classes, agroecology internships and service learning programs. I currently live in Ohio where I am learning about small-scale agriculture at Cook’s Garden in New Lebanon and working with the Elder Tree team to develop a children's garden and Forest School at St. Paul Orthodox Church. The mission of Elder Tree resonates with my heart because living close to the land is one of my own greatest sources of strength, health and peace.
As a child I was exposed to role models with contagious passions for science and nature who deeply inspired me. Within my involvement in developing Elder Tree, I want to pay it forward and instill a love for these topics in others like my role models did for me, especially since sustainability and STEM education are more important now than ever. I hope that my dedication will help Elder Tree utilize the power of nature to make lasting impacts on society. I have completed an internships in both a rainforest conservation lab and in a permaculture food forest and I have served as the leader of our school business club. My future aspirations after graduation are to take a gap year to work on building the Elder Tree organization and to travel the world, then go to college and do something meaningful with my life.
Abdallah comes to Elder Tree with an incredible passion for marine science. He has been a driving force behind our online nature education programs. He is a dedicated student and in his free time he runs cross-country and track and he enjoys tide-pooling at the local beaches in Southern California. His long-term goal is to pursue a graduate degree that will enable him to integrate his interests in marine biology and biotechnology.
My passion lies within conservation, sustainability, and the environment. I earned my bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of California, Irvine. This fall, I will be pursuing my master's degree in Conservation Leadership at the Colorado State University. The Earth is our home and I firmly believe that it is up to mankind to make it a better place for all generations. As part of the Elder Tree team, I look forward to growing with the organization, providing educational programs to the community, and seeing how it blossoms with time!
Growing up, I've always had passion and empathy toward our natural environment and wildlife. My bachelor's degree is in Environmental Science and Policy, and I have over 3 years of experience in the sustainability and environmental non-profit sector. This fall I will begin a master's program at the University of California, Santa Barbara in conservation and marine sciences. While working for Elder Tree, I have come to realize I love educating others about conservation science and how we can preserve our planet for generations to come.