Date of Award



As an educator in the Anthropocene, I am called to create the conditions for students and teachers to care for themselves, others, and the earth in support of the greater whole. Care is born of connection, and when people engage in activities that foster relationships among all beings, human and non-human, they are poised to experience joy. From a place of joyful connection, our unique gifts are more likely to manifest in the interest of planetary wellbeing. The focus of this project was to cultivate this type wellbeing in educational venues by employing the interactive tools of gratitude and reciprocal service. Integrated into these activities were opportunities for human expression of diversity, interdependence and self-organization in order to confront dynamics of power and privilege. Project work included developing and mentoring service learning projects and participating in discussion groups with undergraduates in the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and with high school students in the Middlebury Congregational Church Senior High Youth Service Group. Assessment involved active listening, reflective journaling, peer coaching and written and oral student feedback. My findings are recorded in a series of vignettes illustrating educational best practices focused on gratitude, reciprocity, compassion and other pedagogical conditions I experienced as facilitating joyful connection and cultivating wellbeing in teaching and learning settings.

Program Director

Matthew Kolan, Ph.D.

Your non-Rubenstein School Graduate Faculty Committee Member

Simon Jorgenson, Ph.D.

Kaylynn TwoTrees

Document Type