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Charter Education Institute

Compassionate Spiritual Ecology 2024

Start Date: April 29, 2024

Duration: 4 weeks

Cost: $40 U.S.

Facilitator: Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit

This four-week, instructor-guided course is online, allowing you to do the lessons at your convenience. In addition, there will be two optional one-hour Zoom sessions. Course materials will be available for six months after the course.


Live Zoom Practice Session Dates: 

Tuesday, May 7th 8:00 AM Pacific US (for one hour)
Tuesday, May 14th 8:00 AM Pacific US (for one hour)

Use this date/time converter to check for other local times. 



Course Description

This course offers students an overview of the body of work comprising the discipline of spiritual ecology. The field is interdisciplinary, encompassing thinkers and practitioners from conservation, ecology, and religion; students will be introduced to these founders and become familiar with their work. Students will also learn about the variety of writers, thinkers, and practitioners beyond the formal discipline and how their work contributes to a broader understanding of Spiritual Ecology. The instructor’s longtime work and writing in the field of Spiritual Ecology will also be explored.

Through readings, videos, discussions, journaling, reflection, opportunities to do practices out in the natural world, (and more), students will be exposed to the vast body of work that constitutes spiritual ecology.

At the core of spiritual ecology are values that point to compassion for others—in the nonhuman world as well as in human communities. Beyond an introduction to the basic tenets and values of spiritual ecology, this course will guide, support, and encourage students to explore some of the myriad practical applications of a compassionate spiritual ecology.

Students will have hands-on opportunities to apply and discuss the values and practices that comprise compassionate action. They will be guided and encouraged to have dialogue between the nonhuman world and the human one.

Creative and nature-based activities, action plans, opportunities for reflection, Q&A, live Zoom gatherings, and a host of other methodologies will be used to engage students in the material. The course will explore how passionate care for the Earth is not separable from loving care for other humans. How to translate spiritual ecological practices into human compassion practices will be embedded throughout this course.

Finally, students will be guided through the process of creating intentions for compassionate action plans that they can implement beyond the scope of the course.


Course Outline

Week One: Rooting In—The short history of spiritual ecology, including looking at what the word “spiritual” means, discovering the work of key thinkers in Spiritual Ecology, a deeper look at its underlying roots, practicing outdoors, journaling.

Week Two: Opening our Hearts and Hands to the Sacred in Nature---The main values of spiritual ecology, the vital importance of compassion, losing boundaries, exploring ecstatic and nature-based poetry, practicing outdoors, connecting and re-connecting, broadening familiarity with a range of practitioners in Spiritual Ecology, and the first Zoom call.

Week Three: Deepening the Practices, Loving the World—The many ways to explore and deepen, rituals, beauty-making, what spiritual ecology is not, practicing outdoors, focus on reciprocity and service, willingness and the second Zoom call.

Week Four: Moving Forward with Compassionate Intention—now what?, intentions and their significance, what the world has to do with it, the role of action and compassionate action, sustaining a compassionate spiritual ecological perspective and lifestyle, and practicing outdoors.



Here is what students had to say after taking Jennifer’s CEI courses:

"This was a highly valuable course. I see this class as a quiet, steady, enlightening experience. The course has exceeded my expectations.” 

“This has been such a pleasure. Many of the practices really had a deep effect on me. The things we wrote about and the questions [Jennifer] asked allowed me to dig deep.”

"This [course] was a transformative experience for me, and I am most grateful."

"Thank you for offering the Compassionate Spirituality Ecology course. I loved this course so much. I look forward to hearing more about [your upcoming] Spiritual Ecology Facilitator Training."

"I am a priest ... and this course has helped me begin to see myself and my ministry in a new light that is graceful and grace-filled. I have always believed that compassion is an essential element in life and this course helped me get in touch with it in a very real way. A great course."

“Your course has been such a moving experience for many, so rich in content, and you are spectacular at engaging people on the [online] forums – a model for our (other) instructors. Also, as one of your students, I have deepened my ‘nature’ practices as a result of this course.”


About the Facilitator

Picture of Course Facilitator Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit

Jennifer J. Wilhoit, Ph.D. is a spiritual ecologist, published author, and the founder of TEALarbor stories. She compassionately supports people’s creative and healing processes by drawing from nature’s wisdom. Jennifer is widely published on a variety of subjects including nature-based approaches to creativity and healing; hospice and grief/loss issues; nature-derived arts and crafts; and peacemaking in high-conflict contexts. One of her recent books, Writing on the Landscape, is being used in college classrooms and international courses. Dr. Wilhoit presents her inner/outer landscape research to audiences in a myriad of disciplines. Jennifer also offers retreats and trainings, consults, teaches, and works individually with clients. She is an active member of the global compassion, interfaith, and gratitude movements, including volunteering at the Charter for Compassion, serving with the United Nation’s World Interfaith Harmony Weeks, presenting her work at the 2021 and 2015 Parliaments of the World’s Religions, and writing blogs for A Network for Grateful Living. Jennifer has served for the past twenty-two years as a hospice volunteer, sacred vigiler, and bereavement coach and has created and implemented innovative end-of-life programs including The Letters Project. Her fifth book is scheduled for publication in 2023. To see a full list of her books, articles, events, media, and work, go to TEALarbor Stories


Instructor’s Published Books

Wilhoit, J. J. & Jones, S. B. (2019). Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits. Bloomington, IN: LifeRich. ISBN: 978-1-4897-2351-2 

Wilhoit, J. J. (2017). Writing on the Landscape. Bloomington, IN: LifeRich. ISBN: 978-1-4897-1411-4

Wilhoit, J. J. (2009). Weaving a Network. Saarbrucken: Verlag. ISBN: 978-3-639-11853-7

Wilhoit, J. J. (2008). Common Ground Between Crafts Collectives and Conservation. Saarbrucken: Verlag. ISBN: 978-3-639-09858-7

*** For a complete list of publications, go to: TEALarbor Stories: Publications

*** For a list of media, go to: TEALarbor Stories: Media

*** I have also created an Instructor's Manual to guide teachers/facilitators using my book "Writing on the Landscape" as part of their curriculum or group. This manual is only accessible to those instructors.



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