"The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value." —Theodore Roosevelt
It is one good challenge to try to understand what it means to lead a more sustainable life. It is yet another worthy challenge to understand how to educate others about the promise and peril of nudging our society to more sustaining ways. This website is a way for Terril Shorb, a professor of sustainable community development, to share with educator colleagues and their students, some ideas, resources, and case studies that encourage us all to deepen and expand our engagement with sustainability in the sphere of higher education.
What you will find on this ever-growing site is the symbolic equivalent of a Southwestern desert grasslands savannah, which means there are intense bursts of living ideas—some in full flower and some in early stages of growth—and patches of open ground where the living soil of potentiality has yet to flower. Terril Shorb, who is faculty founder of the Sustainable Community Development program at Prescott College’s Adult Degree Program, sees sustainability education in that way: many educators are offering up nourishing ideas and projects from their disciplinary plots of soil, but there are large expanses between and among these fertile flowerings that may leave our students and other learners wondering how it all connects up. Now it is true that in a desert biome the bunchgrasses and other “clumps” of life grow that way in part because arid lands do not provide enough consistent moisture for a continuous carpet of plant growth. So it is with sustainability education. Our intellectual watershed is vast but only periodically hydrated by storms of consciousness that cover the whole territory. Authentic interdisciplinary thought and collaboration, and growing connections between academe and the communities it serves are just two of the forms of connection addressed here.
In a small way, this website is meant to be a place where sustainability educators, students, and others interested in how our society can support education about ways to sustain and restore the health of the natural environment and the vigor of social bonds in our many communities can find nourishment in the perspectives, ideas, and projects each of us has to share. In that spirit, Terril Shorb invites you to reflect on the ideas presented here for your private use, but to please contact Terril at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use any portion of the content of this website. Thank you and welcome to our good, great task of educating ourselves and others to truly live in harmony within the community of all beings.
Biophilia and its Expression focus of research in Wyoming in 2010
This fall's excursion took me to Wyoming, to Yellowstone National Park, and to a research project that my wife, Yvette Schnoeker-Shorb, and I conducted as part of a workshop with the Draper Museum of Natural History. This research employs a new instrument, The Kellert-Shorb Biophilic Values Indicator (KSBVI), and is a way to gain some measure of the conscious expression in people of the nine biophilic values. The Indicator is based on biophilia theory and the work of E.O. Wilson and Stephen R. Kellert. Think of it as one way our ancient legacy, our genetic heritage, gets expressed throgh the generations. Our ancestors obviously needed a rich and supple range of adaptive responses to the every-changing natural environment in which they lived. Those propensities, the biophilia theory suggests, are with us still, even though most of us may not need to use the adaptive capacity to dodge lions on the savanna. We do use those capacities, though, in subtle ways to enrich our lives. So administering the Indicator and sharing the resulting profile with people from many walks of life was fascinating. I hope to share some of those resutls on this website as we get more opportunity to further analyze the data.
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I have had the good opportunity to collaborate with our bioregional learning center in northwest Wyoming. We have created a good working partnership there between Northwest College and Prescott College. To date, our students have come into the Teacher Education program, and we hope to see Northwest graduates seek degrees in our other areas, such as Sustainable Community Development, Environmental Studies, the Arts, and Psychology, among others. Watch for bulletins from the field as the travel commences.
Bioregional Learning Travels--Fall, 2008
I have concluded my recent travels to visit various communities in which my Prescott College Adult Degree Program students (and graduates) live. The students are found in bioregions of the Northern Rockies, across the upper midwest, in Pennsylvania, and in parts of New England, including Maine. I share here insights about the land and people where I travelled.
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Photo by Kevin M. Beyer
The way that sustainability educator, Terril Shorb, describes it, “sustainability” is the taproot of a rapidly growing organism of consciousness. There is widespread interest in sustaining our communities over the many generations, and most agree that this means, among many possible aspects, restoring a peaceful relationship with the natural world and with each other. READ MORE »
Terril L. Shorb is a life-long westerner who grew up on ranches, subsistence farms, and in small rural towns in the northern Rockies. He holds a Ph.D. in Sustainability Education from Prescott College, an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, a B.A. in Communication Studies, and a Certificate in Journalism, all from Sonoma State (California State) University. He is on the Faculty of Prescott College, where he founded the undergraduate degree program in Sustainable Community Development in 1996.
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