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Wishing everyone a vibrant 2013. Trust it fulfils any unfulfilled resolutions left over from 2012. For me, that's primarily my thesis. Am currently rewriting, revising and editing. Still mileage ahead but working hard to wrap it up asap.

I completed an essay 'Connection through Contemplation' as a contribution to a forthcoming book titled Contemplation with Nature. Please email me if you're interested in a pdf copy of the essay. Am also in the process of submitting a detailed literature review paper on 'connectedness with nature' to a scientific journal.

This eyes4earth digest summarizes diverse content posted online since the previous update. Includes research results presented at the recent C•I•B Annual Review Meeting, videos, a selection of meaningful nature experiences, as well other items to tickle post-holiday brain cells. Most of these news items, articles, cartoons as well as the cross-posting of relevant articles have been - and will continue to be - placed on the eyes4earth Facebook page. Feel welcome to join us there. On average, there is about one post per week – we try to keep it meaningful.

Best, Matt Z.

Meaningful Nature Experiences, Connectedness & Invasive Species Action
I recently presented a relevant selection of research results at the 2012 Annual Research Meeting of the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C•I•B). View and download the research results poster titled: The relevance of meaningful nature experience and connectedness with nature for invasive species action... read more.

What is Connectedness with Nature?
There's much talk these days about 'reconnecting with nature'. But what exactly do we mean by that?

Up Close & Personal
A remarkable interaction with a wild deer in a national park in Costa Rica.

Life's a Leaf
What does the Bodhi Tree, a shimmering leaf and bliss bugs all have in common? A role in a mini-epiphany.

Lesson from the Mother
Even the diminutive field mouse can dish up some karma when failing to show a bit of compassion.

Drugs: Just a 'Peek' Experience?
Drugs may enable MNEs and insight. But can they deliver a lasting sense of connectedness and awakening? Consider Tamsin's story…

Mantis & the Trickster
Events which may or may not prove anything with respect to meaningful nature experience – except that the Greek god Hermes is still alive and well…

Truth: It's a Fine Lion
What do you see in this image? A lioness? Correct. Grassy plains? Anything else? It's a fine line to know when 'truth' should take precedence over the innocence of untainted nature experience.

Something with the Elephant
An unlikely encounter with a Knysna elephant leads to questions about some of the more fuzzy dimensions of synchronicity as a meaningful nature experience

Moving Odyssey
Join us on an odyssey (that's "otter-sea") as we share a video clip of an encounter with this elusive creature. We recall the circumstances which gave rise to this moving experience.

Beautiful Mourning
Rebecca witnesses animal grief and is moved to be included in such an occasion. Is this fanciful anthropomorphism or is there evidence to support this possibility?

Seeing the Sacred in the Subtle
Meaningful nature experiences are not always visually impressive, emotionally intense peak moments. Sometimes they are gentle, modest and subtle…

Whale Therapy
In 2005, an English tourist was attacked by a Great White shark during his first surf in SA waters. Mark Sampson took him surfing that day and only escaped involvement because his board snapped minutes earlier.


Dolphin-Assisted Fishing
Five fascinating cases with video and images of dolphin-assisted fishing from around the world. Is life more about mutualism than survival of the fittest? Or is there something more to it? Do you know of similar stories? read more.

Xavier Rudd's Connection With Nature
Australian songwriter Xavier Rudd shares his views on connection with nature. And how a meaningful nature experience inspired Xavier's newest album 'Spirit Bird'. read more.

Nature's Awe Opens the Door
Adventurers plunging into the depths of the Tasmanian wilderness were so moved by the experience they decided to change the way they lived when they got home, interviews for a PhD project have found. And not only were participants moved to live simpler lives, they also decided to be nicer to other people… read more.

Plus... Check out the updated Resources page on eyes4earth.org. If nature-inspired poetry in less than 140 characters is your thing, then visit the eyes4earth Twitter feed. You can also stay connected via Facebook too.

eyes4earth.org acts as an outreach portal for research being led by Matthew Zylstra and based at Stellenbosch University (Department of Conservation Ecology & Entomology and Faculty of Education) and housed within the TsamaHUB's trandisciplinary doctoral programme in sustainability. Between 2009-2011 the research was funded by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C•I•B). The views, opinions and material contained on eyes4earth.org are of the researcher and not necessarily endorsed by the C•I•B, TsamaHUB or Stellenbosch University. Partners to eyes4earth.org include the Kenchaan Foundation, Living Lands, Baviaanskloof Nature Awareness Group and the PRESENCE network. In-kind support of equipment has been supplied by IDEA WILD and the Canon Australia Environmental Grant. eyes4earth.org is an EarthCollective initiative.

Design by Andrew Zylstra.

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