A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Singing Snails And Rainbow Tails

Calling all childhood educators, teachers, counselors, parents, grandparents, and mentors.

I don’t want you to miss out on this super informative (and also fun and inspiring) annual conference coming up June 18-20: Reaching Nature Connection: Singing Snails and Rainbow Tails.

Singing from the mountaintops, I can’t express enough how much I’ve learned from Kelly, Erin, and Lia (The Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers teaching team for the Reaching Nature Connection Conference) over the 13 years I’ve known them. No exaggeration, I don’t know of more brilliant early childhood educators than these three women. They not only guide children in spell-bound ways in their respective communities and schools, but they also magically attend to us adults who are in service to the young ones.

Year after year, this conference is sold out; and every year, I have the privilege of watching the participants grow in their skills and confidence as they return for deeper learning together and with this facilitator team. For example, our very own Gabriel Vieira declared his strong intention to become an educator after attending this program a few years back. Now look at him in this video about the village school that he started at Earthaven.

The Reaching Nature Connection conference is an exciting weekend of hands-on, research-based, and anecdotal learning. And of course filled with songs, games, stories, and deeper nature connection.

You can learn more by listening to this podcast with the instructor team.

“The Reaching Nature Connection Conference at Earthaven was a soul-nourishing experience. I have been a nature and play-based early childhood teacher for 20 years and I left this gathering full of inspiration, new questions about my work, a deeper understanding of what can inform it and experiences of thrill, joy, and community. I will be looking for more opportunities to engage in these trainings.” — Marie, participant

We would love to see you at our home, Earthaven Ecovillage, for this incredible program.

early childhood education, nature connection, Reaching Nature Connection Conference, The Academy of Forest Kindergarten Teachers, Village School


NikiAnne Feinberg

NikiAnne (she/her) was born and raised on a horse and cattle ranch on the ancestral lands of the Salinan people in the Central Coast of California. She currently lives at Earthaven Ecovillage on unceded lands of the Catawba and Cherokee (Tsalagi) people. Her ancestors come from Eastern and Western Europe — France, Germany, and English Isles as well as Belarus, Lithuania, and Russia, from Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Throughout the last two decades, NikiAnne has been immersed in community and in service to a wide range of educational endeavors focused on nature connection, personal empowerment, and community resilience. NikiAnne considers herself the grease and glue – that which helps things run smoothly or holds things together. Before co-founding SOIL in 2012, she worked and traveled through much of Asia, the Americas, and Europe, which made her formal education at George Washington University in International Affairs come alive in ways that can only happen through personal experience and relationships. Collectively, these experiences have undeniably shaped her cooperative cultural values and commitment to supporting leaders to think, feel, act and design from a foundation rooted in interrelationship. No matter what she’s teaching, NikiAnne is always on the same mission: to raise awareness of our whole selves – gifts, passions, blind spots, shadows – and help those whole selves find and fill niches in their communities. This is how the web of life is woven, and the fabric of culture repaired. She’s especially eager to support those in transition – between vocations, stages of life, and stories of world and self. Within this context, she is particularly passionate about community grief tending and death care midwifery.

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Upcoming Events

Virtual Earthaven Tour

Saturday, January 14 @ 2 – 4 pm ET

There’s nothing like experiencing ecovillage life first hand, but taking a virtual tour of Earthaven is a close second! 

The tour highlights ways in which Earthaven is striving to be a holistic, sustainable culture. The introductory overview tour examines the concept of sustainability at Earthaven through social, ecological, and economic lenses. Not only will you get a glimpse of what has worked through time, but also hear about what has been challenging. And you will have a chance to ask questions!

Thriving in Relationships — Five Tools for Success

Five Mondays 7 – 9 ET: Jan. 16, 23, 30; Feb 6, 13

Join Steve Torma in this deep dive to learn five key relationship tools: gratitude & appreciation, empathy, honest expression, needs-based negotiation, and relationship repair. These tools can improving all types of relationships, including with friends, family, co-workers, community members, and even within oneself.

Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Weekend

May 25-28, 2023

Do you want to learn skills, gain insights and get to know the Earthaven community? Get an inside look at the radical social and ecological experimentation that has taken place in this land-based community for over 27 years.

Playing at the Reaching Nature Connection Conference

Reaching Nature Connection Conference

April 1-2, 2023

East Coast Outdoor Conference for Early Childhood Educators, Teachers, Counselors, Parents and Mentors.

With this year’s theme, Joyful Play, presenters Lia Grippo and Sharon Buczaczer will immerse participants in joyful singing and the freedom of play, all in the spirit of the young child.