Fostering Healthy Communities
through Connection with Nature
CEI’s vision is for a world in which human & natural communities thrive together and our work is grounded in the belief that humans can act to enhance the social-ecological systems of which they are a part. Inspired by the work of the Cornell Civic Ecology Lab, CEI is working to promote civic ecology - community-based stewardship practices such as community forestry, community gardening, coastal cleanups, and watershed restoration. We are particularly interested in supporting communities facing social and environmental stresses, including those related to climate change and poverty, through the implementation of civic ecology practices. We also seek to understand and support learning that occurs through engagement in civic ecology practices — in particular how people contribute to biological and cultural diversity, ecosystem services, community wellness, adaptive co-management, and more broadly social-ecological systems resilience. For example, in addition to the direct environmental benefits of civic ecology practices, when we engage people in efforts such as planting trees & restoring natural areas we find they are likely to develop authentic attachment to both their social & ecological community (sense of place) & to develop a belief in their ability to accomplish activities (self-efficacy).
The Community Ecology Institute