EcoArt Therapy Project Chair
EcoArt Therapy Project Chair
I definitely think “outside” the box and believe anything is possible! I love to see others succeed and find their passion.
I have been with Project NatureConnect since the early 2000’s. During this time I completed a Ph.D and Master’s, with honors, in Applied Ecopsychology with a minor in Natural Attraction Ecology with PNC/Akamai University. I am also certified in EcoArt Therapy. I have completed Diplomas in Therapeutic Art: Arts Therapy for Self-Healing , Therapeutic Art: Art Therapy: Coloring, Drawing , Painting & Self Exploration, Art Therapy: History and Usage with Others, and Reiki & Color Therapy accredited by CPD. I am currently in the process completing an additional diploma Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) through CPD.
I serve as an adjunct faculty member of Akamai University and have been appointed to instruct the subject of Applied Ecopsychology. I am also an adjunct faculty member for Portland State University (PSU) to instruct in the subject of EcoArt Therapy.
I have been called upon to fulfill different roles in my life. I have enjoyed giving to others for the better part of my life through different organizations and as part of my everyday life. Throughout my studies with Project NatureConnect I have and continue to volunteer for a variety of roles and tasks including being the PNC Program Director. Prior to her passing I worked closely with Dr. Theresa Sweeney and developed a deep understanding of her vision and passion for EcoArt Therapy. During this time I provided feedback, assisted with her website, curriculum and book. I consider PNC and EcoArt my “home”. I have worked with 100’s of Project NatureConnect/EcoArt Students and Graduates. As a result, I continually learn from the many diverse experiences of students, Nature, and the many Eco-Therapy and EcoArt activities.
I spent the first 35 years of my life trying to survive in the city. It finally wore me down and I moved to Arkansas to live in a rural Independent Community nestled in the Ozarks National Forest for 6 years. We have since moved to care for and learn from wild nature on private land. I live with my life partner, chickens, 5 dogs, 7 cats, chickens, and ducks. The neighbors we have come to know well are all wonderful and we feel a strong sense of community, love, and support that makes our little dwelling in the forest our home. They call Arkansas “The Natural State” and for good reason. Nature is everywhere! I live a simple life which enables me to connect with Nature on a daily basis. I enjoy the simplicity of my life now and cannot ever imagine giving up the beauty and peacefulness.
EcoArt Therapy Co-Instructor/Mentor
Norma has completed her certificate in Eco-Art Therapy and is a PhD Student with Project NatureConnect. (only a dissertation away, go girl!)
She is a responsible, trustworthy, down to earth person that is family oriented, respects natural beings of all sorts, and being part of a supportive community that seeks honest and sustainable lifestyles. She was raised in a close-knit community in a Northern Maine farming town where residents always supported each other in times of need and times of joy. If someone was to search for her they would find her coloring in a book, sewing , outside up in a tree, wading in a field of wildflowers, hiking, playing in the woods, or even laying on the ground watching clouds go by or watching stars move across the sky. She was super active in various sports and believed in team work and supporting each other. Peace was found in just being with nature and listening, talking, and making up stories. Nature… was far more interactive than playing with dolls.
She took her skill of photography and graphic arts into college, toyed with computer science, only to be guided back to her true joy of seeing life through the eye of a camera and graduating with an Art Degree and Liberal Arts Degree. Her curiosity to explore life led in many directions, 9-5 professions attached to a desk were abandoned as Nature continued calling to come back outside and be free. Every profession was a new hands on experience and adventure from white water rafting, volunteer firefighting, working for a state park, working at a TV station and direction her own PSA’s, a compassionate nuisance wildlife control operator, even being a rescuer of injured or orphaned wildlife. The list goes on with so many other diverse and life altering professions including working for a couple police departments and using her influence to educate living with natural beings, protecting the environment, and having kindness, compassion, understanding, and empathy for all life. Interestingly enough, because she was proactive there were more handshakes and hugs than fury from those who did get arrest by her, perhaps because people sometimes need to be understood for reasons why they behaved with poor judgement in a given moment rather than stigmatize them for it. A dog can bite not because it is vicious but because it is scared, the bite shouldn’t be a death sentence.
Her joys unite some of her passions like photography, the study of animal and human behavior, being a reiki master, art, poetry, research, humane education, animal assisted therapy, and above all reconnecting mentally, emotionally, and spiritually with natural beings and Nature as a whole. She is a lover of life and interesting rocks too. If she is not gazing into the eyes of some other consenting being she is using her hands to create something special or her heart to write something thoughtful that might help bring a smile to another person. If she was to be defined it would be as a friend not a title as labels mean nothing in the natural world
Finally, many of her professions required a knowing of many aspects about Nature beyond being beautiful. When working for a police department curiosity for all life allowed her to seek answers to why a situation was, so she searched for facts in order to be able to see deeper for hidden truths, rather than stories, beliefs, or bias of why there was a complaint. In addition, the most important part was to help bridge a gap and restore understanding, communication, acceptance, peace, and compassion not just with or for the community, but neighbors, family, the environment, and nature. Life is important, and to hold on to negative beliefs and stories only destroys lives and our own health. So now she wears a new hat as a healer and co-conspiritor with Nature to heal hearts, restore smiles, and help release negativity not just externally but internally.