The Nature Connection Arts Lab (NCAL) empowers the residents of South Florida through transformative, creative experiences outdoors. Because Miami is at the center of the climate crisis and requires proactive care, NCAL programs foster gratitude, respect, and a renewed commitment to our ecosystems. NCAL is a new initiative seeking seeking institutional partnerships. NCAL will offer public programs in collaboration with local gardens, parks, hospitals, galleries, museums, and wellness centers.
The outcomes of the lab will be accessible to the public through the following forms:
1) an open-invitation RESARCH SEMINAR
2) participatory WALKING PERFORMANCES
3) IMMERSIVE VIDEOS
Scientific studies have shown that people can benefit from increased exposure to nature. NCAL challenges participants to cultivate increasingly reciprocal relationships to their environment. The project incorporates a variety of biophilic techniques such as Deep Listening which was founded by the late sound artist Pauline Oliveros, adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy principles, Joanna Macy’s “The Work that Reconnects,” and forest therapy, a wellness program that began in the 1980s in Japan. The Japanese name for the practice of shinrin-yoku translates literally to “forest bathing.”
Time in nature improves mental performance and creativity. One study of a group of Outward Bound participants found they performed 50% better on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of wilderness backpacking. Researcher David Strayer says this occurs when people have been immersed in nature. NCAL programs are designed to allow city residents to have intimate and creative encounters with nature in an urban environment. They will begin to see the city in a different way by disrupting their assumptions about their surroundings. Improving human capacity to foster respectful relationships and deeper communication with nature also strengthens the long-term health of natural landscapes. NCAL is dedicated to exploring the connection between non-human and human health through contemplative art and creative research. By engaging the mutual benefits of nature connection, NCAL supports a creative culture to resist climate crisis and ecological devastation. This project will also impact the community by raising awareness of the importance of preserving the environmentally endangered ecosystems like the pine rocklands which are unique to South Florida.
As a part of this initiative, I’m offering a series of forest bathing walks in Miami. Go to this link to find out more.