CONNAT: Restoring Resilience – Connecting to Nature and Self

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Resilience is the ability of an individual, a community or a country to cope, adapt and quickly recover from stress and shocks caused by a disaster, violence or conflict. It reduces vulnerabilities and contributes to build local capacities so that people can cope better with shocks. This ability comes more than handy in our turbulent times (climate change, refugee crisis, global economic and financial challenges, unemployment and so on). This is not the time for business as usual.

Therefore we want to connect with people to tap into deeper levels of their humanity and to find meaning in their lives, in dealing with this sensitive topic, individually and collectively right now. Our strong conviction is that nature provides the fastest way to access our humanity, providing inspiration for sustainable and meaningful solutions that are taking into consideration the whole ecosystem. Also we would like to address the development of people’s digital skills in this project.

The project has four objectives:

  • build resilience to the crises that affect European Union now.
  • experience nature as a guide.
  • create meaning, individually and collectively, opening yourself to the meaning of your life now, in the present moment, and to your human purpose, and collectively discover a shared meaning, getting inspiration from nature.
  • help raise the awareness of self (self-awareness) tapping into the deeper levels of our humanity.

Our direct target groups are “nature professionals” (like environmental educators, nature conservationists, tourist/mountain guides) and “helping professionals” (e.g. coaches, psychologists, counsellors, trainers, social workers): both groups work with a large selection of different adult people as service providers. Through them we hope to reach a lot of men and women full with fears and questions (such as “What the future will bring for me?”, “How can I reach harmony with my environment?”, “Is it possible for me to find peace and joy in my life?”) with a “heart-changing” experience.

The main output of the project is a blended (online and in-nature) course about re-connecting to nature and self in order to increase resilience in times of crisis. During the first phase of the project we develop a Reference Frame: a documents of shared understanding containing the learning needs the blended course targets, the development and intervention areas we focus on and the competencies and life skills we aim to develop. This document will be based on several interviews and focus group meetings with members of the target groups.

After this research period we develop the blended course itself: a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and an in-nature course. In the MOOC, we will target more the “head” (describe theories, provide literature for further interests, show videos created in the project, etc.), whereas in the in-nature training course we will target more the “heart”: the emphasis will be on discussions and personal experiences. The two will function on their own, but will reach a real transformative learning experience only when combined. Having affected both the head and the heart, the left and right hemispheres of the brain – the analytical and the holistic operational mode –, the new knowledge will be integrated, and the participants will have the chance for a real life-changing experience. In the second year of the project the developed blended course will be piloted, and finalized based on the feedbacks of the participants. In this phase of the project two multiplication events will be organized per country: there will be a stakeholder meeting and a practice resource dissemination workshop in all of the three partner countries: Hungary, Italy and Croatia.

The project links very different topics together (MOOC, e-learning, connecting to nature, self-awareness, and resilience). It makes use of nature as a guide for connecting with self and restoring resilience. The use of nature as a guide is not learning about nature but it is learning something about yourself through nature. This provides a language (with metaphors, correspondences and imagination) which is easily understandable by everybody and is using the whole brain (left and right hemispheres), creating direct connections between rational mind and wisdom of the heart, reinforcing a holistic approach and response to the challenges.

The three partners are Rogers Foundation, Aura Association and Isoropia: a foundation, an association and a small entreprise, all working in the area of development and betterment of people and organizations.

Programme: Erasmus+
Key Action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices
Action Type: Strategic Partnerships for adult education
Identifier: 2016-1-HU01-KA204-022911

Start date: 01.09.2016
End date: 31.08.2018
Duration: 24 months
Europen Commission contribution: 59 938 EUR


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Founded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

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