Cultivating Connection through Nature

Thank you for being here! If you would like to receive my newsletter, updates on my recent podcast episodes, workshops, webinars, and all the things, please subscribe below! You will only be sharing with me – I would love to connect!


From the Outside LLC is a plant and nature-based program designed to be simple, fluid, and flexible to accommodate any setting and provide creative, comprehensive, meaningful, experiential lessons that engage participants.  Lessons are 1 to 1.5 hours in length. Although some of the lessons can be linked to academic standards (Next Generation of Science Standards, NGSS), the focus is to promote social-emotional learning (SEL) through self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, CASEL). The objectives of the program are centered in developing a restorative relationship between people and plants through multi-sensory experiences where participants can connect to each other and the natural world, building positive relationships and communities that support overall well-being and growth.  In addition, participants gain an understanding and skill set around plants, plant care, and ecology while nurturing an appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.


The Fairy Circle Way: Cultivating Connection through Nature

A fairy circle, or fairy ring, is a scientifically sound structure, but magical, nonetheless. There is a myriad of folklore that follows the fairy circle. Most of the stories do not bode well for humans. Fairy rings are the gathering space for nature spirits and fairies. Although humans are forbidden to enter the sacred circles, they are a symbol of good luck if you come upon one. I honor and celebrate the fairy circle in my model design for cultivating an intentional and purposeful connection with nature. 

If we look above and below the simple ring on the forest floor, we can imagine the two-dimensional circle as a three-dimensional sphere – a sacred sphere of life.  Within that sacred sphere, we can use our whole body to connect to the natural world through stillness, silence, solitude.  As we deepen our engagement, we explore and experience certain emotions and feelings – wonder, awe, love, peace, gratitude, beauty, and joy. They are the fruiting bodies of our richer relationship with our natural environment. It is in these emotions and feelings where we cultivate our deepest connections with nature, ourselves, and each other – kinship, belonging, purpose, harmony, and balance.  It is here in the sacred, fairy circle where we embrace our life source, find our place and purpose, and celebrate our magic.

I use my unique model as a simple practice to purposefully and intentionally cultivate or deepen our individual relationship with nature. This practice can be taught through a series of lessons, some listed below, or as an immersive experience over a shorter period of time. The lessons can also stand alone as a practice and can be presented in a workshop format individually.


  • To encourage the restorative relationship between people and nature
  • To create a multi-sensory experience where participants can connect with each other and their natural environment
  • To build a positive community that supports overall well-being and the growth process
  • To discover the interconnectedness of humans to all living things 
  • To relate the human experience to phenomena observed in the natural world
  • To examine the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of nature
  • To discover the implication of nature in promoting wholeness, well-being, and overall health
  • To identify the specific psychological and physiological responses of individuals to nature
  • To examine a garden as a biological system and socio-economic construct that supports biodiversity, provides nutritional food, educates the public, preserves cultural heritage, and provides opportunities for community gathering and communing with nature
  • To gain an understanding and skill set around plants, plant care, and ecology
  • To instill a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the simple beauty of the natural world

Participants include

  • Middle school students
  • High school students
  • Teachers (professional development)
  • Garden and environmental educators (professional development)
  • Post-secondary students
  • Adults (wellness workshops)
  • Substance Use Disorder recovery programs
  • Incarcerated youth

Cost and Availability

1.5 hours is $90, 1 hour is $60. Available in-person or through Zoom.

Popular Lesson Topics

The Uniqueness of Seeds

Each of us are as unique as the seeds we plant in our garden. Each variety of seed has its own set of growing instructions and so do individuals. In this lesson, we explore our connection to seeds, their importance in plant propagation, and exclusive growing instructions. Participants will explore their own set of unique growing instructions and design their own seed packet.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management

Talking Like Trees

Communication is a two-way path. As humans, we communicate with others to convey our thoughts, emotions, intentions, and information. Using the mycorrhizal network, trees also communicate and signal to each other. In this lesson, participants will explore the different ways we communicate, discover how trees talk to each other, and practice connecting more effectively to create an empowered, healing-centered community.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills

Making Room for Growth

In natural systems, decomposition is an important part of the circle of life.  It is the mechanism by which dead, complex, organic matter is broken down into simpler compounds. Composting mimics the natural process of decomposition using four, main components. In this lesson, participants will embrace the decomposition process and explore their own unique compost mixture to stimulate growth and cultivate their best self.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, self management

Growing a Garden of Belonging

A community is more than a place where people work, live, and play. It is a creative collective whose members cultivate connection and belonging. In this lesson, participants will examine the elements of a positive community, build their sense of belonging, and design their own community garden plot.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making

Exploring Our Relationship with Nature

Lesson 1 (Part 1) of The Fairy Circle Way

The people-nature relationship has significant, research-supported, positive implications on individual human physical, social, and emotional health and wellness, and human communities and culture.  Most of us never pause to examine our place in and relationship with the natural world. In this workshop, participants will delve deeper into their relationship with nature. Through a series of questions and storytelling , we recall our childhood experiences in nature, share traditional ecological knowledge passed down through our ancestors, and examine the depth of our current connection to the natural world.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making

Finding Connection through Awe

Exposing ourselves to awe-inspiring experiences, especially those in nature, big or small, can lead us to focus on what is truly important.  In a world of instantaneous updates, illustrious stories on social media, and the immense changes to our climate and natural world, we struggle to find our place in the stars and truly connect with others.  In this lesson, participants will discover their own story with nature, explore their feelings around landscapes, expand their understanding of belonging, and share their own moments of awe.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making

Letting Go Like Leaves

Trees make letting go seem so easy. As the growing season ends, trees release their old leaves, letting them go, as they no longer serve their purpose. Imagine if we, as humans, only had to sit with what does not serve us for as long as it takes a biochemical band of hormones to recognize, weaken, and destroy our old attachments and ideas, our tired, negative self-talk, and our ancient patterns of worry. In this lesson, participants will explore what needs to be released – old feelings, emotions, and habits, and practice how easy it can be to let go, just like the trees.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills

The Magic of Weeds

Weeds are misplaced plants denounced by gardeners for their pervasive, prolific, and pushy presence in every plot of land that humans attempt to propagate.  Like the weedy species in a garden, many of us may collectively be perceived, or perceive ourselves, as less worthy than others. However, through a child’s perspective, these pesky perennials, like clover and dandelions, have magical properties. They bring joy, luck, and hope. In this lesson, participants will examine some weedy species from a new perspective. They will acknowledge their own magic, discover how it can empower them when they are feeling misplaced, and share it with others to create a beautiful and diverse garden. 

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making

Silence, Stillness, and Solitude

Lesson 4 (Part 2) of the Fairy Circle Way

Moments of solitude, stillness, and silence provide opportunities for us to check in and be fully aware and present in ourselves, to peer into our heart to see if we are still manifesting the life that honors our vision, to explore our reactions and emotions and let go of what no longer serves us, and to sit in the quiet and hear our own voice.  Nature offers us the space to reconnect with ourselves. In this lesson, participants will wander in solitude and silence, using their senses to receive nature’s message and wisdom. In the stillness of our special sit spot, we will listen and learn.  

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision-making

Growing Intention to Cultivate Our Purpose

At the root of our productivity is intention, or purpose.  If we plant the seed of positive purpose and nurture that intention with our actions, we create the best possible garden in which to bloom and thrive. In this lesson, participants will explore setting intentions that create a path to change, or simply keep us focused on the present.  Together we will create an intention garden, reminding us of our collective purpose.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, responsible decision-making

Finding Our Voice through the Language of Flowers

Floriography, or the language of flowers, is the covert expression of one’s feelings through flowers and flower arrangement.  Although this practice has been in place for thousands of years in Europe, Asia, and Africa, it is closely associated with England’s Victorian Era. Messages and feelings were expressed through the language of flowers in gifted, small bouquets, called tussie-mussies. In this lesson, participants will explore the language of flowers and find their own voice within the world of plants, creating their own tussie-mussie to express their thoughts and feelings.

SEL Goals: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills

Additional Lesson Topics

Keywords: Adaptation, Cycles and Circles, Darkness, Disturbance/Perturbation, Edge Effect, Ephemerality, Exposure, Growth, Healing Herbs, Light, Love, Nurture, Plants Parts, Resilience, Restoration, Soil, Sustainability


“I really enjoyed the seminar/program because we connected ourselves to the condition of a plant with the activity. As people, we need these things to develop ourselves.”

“I LOVED this workshop. So informative. I really enjoyed the activity, Designing Your Own Seed Packet.” There was a smooth flow and clear purpose in your workshop. Your passion for your work is apparent. I would like to learn about future workshops and ways to apply this to my daily life.”

“You are very inspiring. You made me think deeper in reference to plants and how they interact with our life.”

“A wonderful night! Thank you! Engaging even after a long day, so applicable and accessible.”