There are three main components to the class:

  • Expeditions into local nature areas, including hiking trails, nature preserves, and other natural attractions. Local sites visited, and trekked through, include Walking Dunes, the seal haul-out trail in Montauk, Morton’s Wildlife Refuge, and Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island.
  • Wellness activities that promote mental and physical well-being. In addition to weekly hikes, students visit a local yoga studio as well as the spa at Gurney’s Inn for swimming, meditation, and other wellness activities.
  • In-class studies, including lectures, movies, short stories, and research that examines the relationship between humans and the natural world. Topics include geology, astronomy, environmental studies, the individual as a complex organism, and—importantly—what makes humans both healthy and happy. Students document their experiences in the medium of their choice. Possible media include photography, video, and writing. Students present their projects at the midpoint of the course and again at the end. Grades will be based on daily involvement and individual projects.