Erica Wheeler: inspiring connections between people and place

Mission, Philosophy & Approach

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Mission: To provide inspiring, educational & fun programs that deliver powerful tools and techniques for connecting people and place, to enrich lives, engage communities and inspire stewardship.

The Soulful Stewardship Philosophy In a nutshell: Personal stories of connection, creates caring, which leads to stewardship.

This work can be experienced through attending an inspiring Soulful Stewardship keynote or performance, or through participating in an in-depth training, seminar or workshop. Or it can be experienced by listening to the songs and stories shared on this site!
The Soulful Stewardship Method Training

The Soulful Stewardship Method is the framework for Erica's educational programs which has been honed and tested through working with hundreds of proffessional interpreters.

This effective 7-step structured creative process helps you discover compelling narratives that better connect people and place. The first half is a creative skill and technique building experience, while the second half is used to create fresh programs, applying creative thinking and new ideas for engaging diverse visitors.

Sample Training Agenda:
1) Introductons, Naming what brought us to this work/Overview of Sense of Place & Soulful Stewardship approach/philosophy

2) Creative Skill Building--The Touchstone Story Process (TM)

3) Bulding Awareness/Sense of Place Making--Check Your Earthmail (TM)

4) Presentation Technique Building- Find Your Story Sweet Spot (TM)

5) Interactive Discussion--Rethinking the Art and Science of Interpretation to See Through New Eyes

6) Developing Well-Balanced Programs-Applying the Soulful Stewardship Method (TM)
(Full-day trainings include outlining and getting individual feedback on program ideas. Two-day trainings include working in teams and creating a collaborative visitor experience. Three-day include developing and delivering a "Soulful" program.)

7) Resilliance, Staying Inspired, Resource Sharing and Wrap-up

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“We brought Erica in to help us master the art of storytelling and to learn how to share the meaning of these places even more effectively. When we worked with Erica before, it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my career. I was thrilled by seeing the growth in rangers and the inspiration they gleaned.” Chief of Interpretation and Education, National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, DC

The Soulful Stewardship Keynote

An unforgettable journey across the American landscape and the lives lived there. Customized for your site/region and conference theme.

Erica uses song, story, readings, humor and interactive experiences to help people gain not just a deeper appreciation for places and the work they do, but to come away with a profoundly rooted sense of place, belonging and connection that is deeply needed in our world today.

Keynotes follow an arc of expereince.

Truly a different kind of keynote.

"You are missing out if you aren't trying to book Erica for your upcoming workshop or training event. Her work with the ‘sense of place’ concept through her Soulful Landscape workshop provides excellent hands-on exercises in an area that is so often perceived as intangible, while her keynote was just the dose of inspiration we needed."  Kelly Farrell, Chief of Interpretation, Arkansas State Parks

The Soulful Stewardship Public Program

Erica partners with organizations, agencies and learning centers to engage the public, helping them find new points of entry for relating to nature, hsitory and place. Her public programs take visitors on a journey of internal and external discovery, finding personal connections to new and familar places.

Her popular public performances (Sense of Place Discovery Concerts) and workshops (Sense of Place Story-Making) have been offered at festivals such as Festival of the Cranes at Wheeler Wlidlife Refuge to Upton State Forest.

These programs are educational, entertaining and fun, and deeply interpretive. Their goal is to inspire personal connections between people and your place.

"I loved Erica Wheeler's workshop in the woods, "Discover Your Personal Sense of Place Through Writing and Reflection." She created a safe and supportive environment for participants to write about the places that move them, that make them feel human, that anchor them in time and space. At the end of the 3- part writing prompt, I had enough material to write several powerful essays as well as a new idea for an inspirational card deck. If that wasn't enough, Erica listened to what I wrote and in less than a minute had whipped up a terrific song. If anyone can rally the preservation troops to get "a sense of place" off the endangered species list, it's Erica Wheeler." Giulietta "Julie" Nardone, Participant, Upton Forest State Park, MA


The Soulful Stewardship Approach

Everyone has stories of meaningful connections to places inside them waiting to be remembered, evoked and restored. These stories inspire the caring that leads to action.

Find yours.

The Soulful Stewardship Approach helps people uncover their personal sense of place connections by providing tools, techniques and experiences that work to integrate information (knowledge) and personal experience (story). This approach that can be used to engage people of all ages backgrounds and levels of expereince find and articulate, (perhaps for the first time), their personal stories of connection to place.

This approach ensures that visitors not only enjoy and appreciate places today, but also be inspired to participate in taking care of places for the future.

  • Empower your creative voice
  • See the familar through new eyes
  • Learn techniques to craft and share your stories of connection to place
  • Build community through the shared stories of connection to place
  • Restore your capacity to make a difference in the world

updated: 3 months ago