Listen to Replay here Though she spent much of her youth outdoors playing, Lisa Bonney Berry consciously engaged more deeply in her nature connection during her college years at the University at Albany, SUNY. She started hiking, backpacking, camping, caving cross-country skiing, and other adventures through the Albany State Outing Club (ASOC). During this time her appreciation of having meaningful experiences connecting to nature grew, as did her interest in other avenues to pursue this.
During her time doing graduate studies in Anthropology at the University at Albany she started learning primitive skills and wilderness survival techniques with some friends who had attended Hawk Circle programs (Steve Young and Mark Morey, if you want to mention them by name). Her newly discovered love for landscape gardening distracted her from graduate studies, and subsequently her growing love of learning and engaging with “earth skills” distracted her from landscape gardening. In 1999 she took her first class at Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School.
That transformative experience fueled her passion to share what she was learning and experiencing, and she applied to work at the Coyote Tracks programs for 7-17 year olds run by the Children of the Earth Foundation (COTEF). During her summers working at these programs she saw how life altering enabling children to stay in their relationship or reconnecting to nature can be. From 2003-2004 she spent a year as a Caretaker in the new Jersey Pine Barrens through the Tracker School in an effort to gain more experience to teach from. Inspired by fellow Tracker student Wendolyn Bird, who she knew runs nature based programs for pre-school age children, she sought avenues to bring nature experiences to younger children.
Pregnancy and motherhood has kept her busy for a while, and during this time her husband Rick Berry started his own non-profit organization, 4 Elements Earth Education (4EEE), through which he runs programs for children ages 7-17, families, and now adults, utilizing his prior experience running COTEF for 7 years and teaching children for over 20 years. Most recently 4EEE added a set of classes for “Young Fox Walkers”, bringing these teachings to kids 4-6 years old. These are the programs that Lisa is most involved with at the moment.
For more information on 4 Elements Earth Education programs, please visit www.4eee.org or call (530) 272-2037