Education Programs

We believe that responsibility toward the natural world is ultimately grounded in an intimate experience of nature. In all our programs we try to heighten the capacity for creative, yet precise understanding and observation that allows participants to see the living qualities and interconnectedness of nature. Our audience is varied, representing all ages, nationalities, educational backgrounds, and income levels: teachers, farmers, academics, policy makers, college-age students, high school students, children, and the general public.

The Nature Institute’s Upcoming Education Events

You will find a convenient listing of all the upcoming and recent education events at The Nature Institute on our Calendar of Events page. We also have information about lodging for visitors to the Institute.

Our Online and In-Print Educational Resources

For a wide variety of educational resources rooted in holistic, Goethean approaches, see our Publications and our index of Content Areas — and especially our Science Education page.

For a wide variety of educational resources rooted in holistic, Goethean approaches, see our Publications and our index of Content Areas — and especially our Educating for Sustainability and Science Education sections.

Encountering Nature and the Nature of Things
Foundation Course in Goethean Science

This program is for people who are deeply interested in nature and serious about developing an understanding and practice of the science of phenomena, an approach that is contextual, qualitative, and holistic — what we often call “Goethean science.” The year-long program includes two 2-week residential summer intensives, along with guided study and a research project (non-residential) during the year. For more information about the program, click here.

outdoor class

Coming Alive to Nature Courses

These interdisciplinary courses, offered periodically in the winter and summer, integrate exercises in critical and imaginative thinking, nature observation, and artistic activities. These courses have attracted adults from numerous professions (scientists, teachers, farmers and farm apprentices, university professors, artists, social workers, ecologists and college students). For more information about the program, click here.

Mathematics Alive!
Weekend workshops for middle school teachers

A main aim of the workshop is to help educators enter actively into the process of doing mathematics and gain greater confidence in their own abilities. You can learn more about the workshop methods and goals, find a description of a recent workshop, and read participant comments, by going to our Mathematics Alive! page.

Extended Local Courses

These are weekly or biweekly semester-long courses for the local public. Topics have included Goethe's phenomenology, animal form and behavior, and projective geometry. See Calendar of Events.

Johannes Kühl lecturing

Physicist Johannes Kühl introduces an audience to the dynamics of water

Public Lectures

In the fall and spring of each year we offer public talks on a variety of subjects related to a new understanding of nature. Our own staff and invited lecturers discuss such topics as: “Exploring Human Perception,” “What Can Water Teach Us,” “The Wisdom of the Animal World,” “Playing with Fire: Beyond Global Warming,” and “How Ecological Can Farming Be?” See Calendar of Events for upcoming talks.

boardwalk in wetland

Nature Preserve Stewardship

The Nature Institute is steward of a 27-acre nature preserve that includes a wetland – a local treasure in need of protection. With student help, we have built low-impact trails and a boardwalk, and now offer guided nature walks for children and adults. We carry out biological and ecological studies in the preserve.

To find out more about the nature preserve, click here.

Off-site Talks and Workshops

Craig Holdrege and Henrike Holdrege are guest lecturers and teachers throughout the year at colleges, universities, conferences, seminars and workshops. Institute staff is invited to participate in teacher training and teacher development workshops across the U.S. If you are interested in inviting a staff member of The Nature Institute to an event, please contact them directly or contact Kristy King at 518-672-0116 or

The Effects of Nature Institute Courses: A Study

How do participants in our courses perceive the effects of their course experiences, and how do they view the work of The Nature Institute generally? To find out, we conducted a comprehensive survey to assess the effects of our courses on the lives of participants over a six-year follow-up period. For the survey results, download this PDF file. Such feedback helps us to shape our adult courses ever more closely to the needs and interests of the growing number of people who sign up for them.

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