Spring Retreat on Whidbey Island and Upcoming Fall Field Visit in India

Spring Retreat on Whidbey Island

The Spiritual Ecology Youth Fellowship program gathered for the first time at a summer retreat from 20 through 28 July, 2016, in Whidbey Island, Washington to explore the main principles of spiritual ecology. The 11 participating fellowsmet with program director, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, and mentors, Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Dekila Chungyalpa, to consider how the values of stewardship, service, interconnectedness, and reverence for nature can be applied practically to projects capable of creating fundamental and lasting change. The fellows—bringing diverse experiences in storytelling, forestry, medicine, marine biology, climate justice, advocacy, design, education, and social justice—envision a common commitment to creating the spaces capable of rebalancing humanity’s role in the delicate web of life.

With Lakota Wisdom Keeper, Tiokasin Ghosthorse, the fellows built a tipi, explored it’s cosmology, and participated in a water ceremony, learning how to integrate the values of reciprocity, respect for Mother Earth, and interconnectedness into ways of thinking, being and relating in the world. Dekila Chungyalpa, a 2014 McCluskey Fellow in Conservation at Yale and former director of WWF’s Sacred Earth Program, mentored the fellows by providing insightful feedback to the early rounds of their project development, which they will work on throughout the fellowship, and be able to apply for seed funding for at their last retreat in the Spring (2017).

Fall Field Visit: India

Next, we will head to Northern India for a 12-day field visit in late September, 2016, to learn from leading practitioners in the field about how to implement social and environmental regeneration projects.

Dekila Chungyalpa is working closely with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa and KHORYUG, a network of Buddhist monestaries and centers in the Himalayas working on environmental programs that practically apply the values of compassion and interdependence towards the Earth and all living beings. Dekila has arranged a five-day interactive workshop with the fellows and a KHORYUG nunnery to explore integrated solutions to some of the Region’s most pressing environmental challenges.

The second portion of the fall field visit will be spent with Vandana Shiva at her seed saving farm Navdanya, where fellows will have the opportunity to attend the annual Agroecology and Organic Farming Systems gathering.

We’re exited that our inaugural year has gotten off to such a strong start and look forward to sharing news of our fellows' journey over the coming months. Applications for next year’s (2017-18) fellowship will open September 2016.