Many moons ago I had the occasion to meet and
take a seminar with the late Thomas Berry, a
monk-priest, a cultural historian, and in his
later days a premier eco-theologian. He published
his concerns about the Earth's environmental issues
long before it became a hot topic. Anyway, after
reading through some of his later work about the
environment and ecology in relation to stewardship,
I decided (after I moved out to Southern California)
that I would volunteer my time as a docent naturalist.
Consequently I spent a number of years volunteering
first in an Eco-Literacy Program for Children at the
San Diego Natural History Museum, and later working
in the field at the Tijuana River National Estaurine
Research Reserve under the management of California
State Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Beyond the really good curatorial training I received
at the museum and at the estuary, I broadened my
background in Natural Studies by visiting many of the
major national parks in the American West, in Canada,
as well as in Mexico.
And along the way, I dipped deeper into Native American
Spirituality. I had occasion to attend a workshop with
Ed McGaa--also known as Eagle Man--who is well known for
his "Mother Earth" Spirituality. Later I traveled to the
Black Hills and the Badlands, touching the land of the
Sioux, visiting the American Indian Center at Chief Crazy
Horse Monument in South Dakota. All along the way I
collected work by Ed McGaa, in books that explained
beautifully his Indigenous Spirituality.
In time I was able to blend this special spirituality of
the American Indian with my interests in Eco-Spirituality.
(In appreciation, I wrote a short story--"Gaia's Guard")