New Rockland Studio; Fall Classes; Conversations & Coffee

Summary.  In this post, I address four, related topics: 1) a virtual tour slide show of Ermah Ge’s new studio/classroom in Lincoln Street Center, Rockland ME;  2) fall 2014 classes begin in September; enrollment is open now through mid-September; 3) our new program called Conversations & Coffee, customized, personal educational conversations, short courses, tutoring, training, and book discussions for individuals, couples or small groups who seek a new kind of learning experience; 4) we are seeking students for our Advanced Study Track in the Earth Studies Program during academic year 2014 – 2015.

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I didn’t intend or expect such a long delay since my last post (May 27, 2014).  I’ve not been slacking, just engulfed – in a creative and pleasurable way – by completion of phase 1 of Ermah Ge’s new educational studio/classroom; developing a new service called Conversations & Coffee: personal, customized learning for individuals and small groups, described herein; and learning about and contributing to the extensive and impressive plans that are evolving for Lincoln Street Center where Ermah Ge Studio is located.  I am far more excited and optimistic now – both personally and professionally – than any time since arriving in Maine in July, 2010.

Ok, to the topics at hand.

A slide show of Ermah Ge Studio, Rockland ME

First, a virtual tour slide show of the new Ermah Ge Studio, in Lincoln Street Center for Arts, Education and Culture, 24 Lincoln St, Studio 112, Rockland ME (the refurbished old high school – 3 floors with 44,000 sf – under new ownership and management (Mario Abaldo and associates.  After exploration of seven Maine cities during the last four years, we’ve finally found our home, and I love it.

Ermah Ge StudioI created a pictorial tour slide show to offer you a peek at both, to demonstrate the results of my efforts to create a comfortable, aesthetic, yet functional learning space with an inviting, homey feel.   I think I’m succeeding!  Early feedback from viewers and visitors is positive.  And this is just phase I!  Phase II is already planned, and includes upgrading furniture and additions of art by local and regional artists.

With the slide show, I attempt to help viewers begin to grasp the excitement that we feel about the immense potential here at Lincoln Street Center (LSC).  If I could only share details with you about what’s being discussed … but alas, I cannot … yet.  Plans are well underway, but not ready for prime time.  Suffice to say that LSC is on a path to become one of the premier arts, education and cultural centers of mid-coast Maine.

There are two versions of the slide show, which is produced using presentation software called Prezi.  The original version is much more dynamic and aesthetic, but will require 30 seconds to a minute to load (on typical DSL connections) because of the number of images involved.  To view it, click here.  You’ll know it’s fully loaded when the image thumbnails stop popping up in the opening frame and whitish spheres appear in the background.  Click the full screen monitor icon in the lower right, and use your keyboards arrow keys to navigate forward and backward.

For those who don’t wish to wait for it to load, here is a version on Slideshare (the Youtube of static slide shows) that will load nearly instantly.  It’s missing the animated slide transitions and zooms of the Prezi version  – Slideshare does not yet support those – and image quality is slightly reduced, but it’s certainly viewable.

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Fall classes, 2014

Second, about fall, 2014 classes at Ermah Ge Studio (and potentially elsewhere, also).  They will begin in mid-September and be accompanied by free introductory session beginning the first week of September.  A calendar is coming and will be published here and distributed via Ermah Ge’s email list.  (If you are not on it, please contact me to add your name.)

I plan to offer another session of Systems 101 (basic principles of complexity (system) sciences for any adult with any background).  We’ve almost completed the first Systems 101 class in Rockland that met this summer; it’s getting strong positive reviews from the students.  For example, one student tells me that her “mind is blown by every class”.

Along with several students from previous classes in other cities,  they are now eager to move onto another course.  Therefore, I’m also going to offer a Geophysiology 101 class about Gaia and Gaia theory, a reading and discussion seminar using Stephen Harding’s book titled Animate Earth: Science, Intuition and Gaia.  When I first met Lynn Margulis, author of the book’s forward, my friend and most influential mentor, she said to me, “If you want to really understand Gaia, read this book.”  She was right.  I’ve taught the class several times before, but this is the first time in Maine.  I’m excited to start.  (Note: the first two chapters are more philosophy than science; readers that don’t resonate with those chapters will still find value in the remainder of the book.)

During fall, I will also offer one or more Climate 101 seminars – including at least one as a weekend intensive – and an Adaptability 101 reading seminar based on Dianne Dumanoski’s book The End of the Long Summer: Why We Must Remake Civilization to Survive on a Volatile Earth, which references virtually every aspect of our Earth Studies Program.  Readers who are advanced students at Ermah Ge will see far more deeply into Dumanoski’s message than most readers.  During the seminar, as we discuss the text, I will offer deeper insights into concepts discussed, linking and cross-linking concepts to other sources.  Participants will receive a full set of notes – compiled by me – highlighting important passages in each chapter.

The way I organize and schedule seminars and classes is as follows. First, I collect a list of interested students.  (I hope you’ll be one!)  Then I collect information about when they prefer to schedule classes: days (afternoons or evenings) and times, including start dates so that I can accommodate the needs of as many as possible (a rare service for college-level classes).

During the data gathering period, I offer at least one – often several – overview lecture or discussion at various times to introduce the topics of the class, discuss logistics, introduce ourselves, etc.  Then, I schedule one (or more) sections of the class, announce the days and times to others who may wish to join us, and begin.  (I can accommodate students joining as much as two weeks late if necessary.)

Thus, with this blog post, I am beginning that planning process. If you are interested in a seminar or class, even if you aren’t sure yet about which one and are not ready to commit, please contact me (or call 207-701-7725) and express your interest.

I’ll announce the fall schedule on this site and by email by early September.  (Note: I already have commitments from several people, and expect that number to increase substantially by mid September.)  During September, I will begin the process of scheduling more classes for late fall, winter and spring.

Oh, and I’ll also be offering a set of seven public lectures in Lincoln Street Center’s auditorium during October and November.  Descriptions and calendar to come …

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A new Ermah Ge service: Conversations & Coffee

Third,  here is a description our new service – Conversations & Coffee (CC) – which offers a new learning modality in addition to our regular seminars and classes.  Conversations & Coffee offers customized, personal conversations, short courses, tutoring, trainings, and book discussions for individuals, couples or small groups (up to 5) who seek a new kind of learning experience, whether in lieu of our seminars, to sample our curriculum before enrolling, or in addition to classes (supplementation, clarification and greater depth).

CC is similar to services offered by physicians, dentists, accountants, attorneys, and other professionals.  Their clients make an appointment, then attend with specific issues, problems, and questions, and – hopefully – find answers and solutions.

But CC is different because the focus is on education you can use about topics of your choice from the extensive list of topics in Ermah Ge’s Earth Studies Program.  Think of it as a personalized seminar, tutoring session, training, or reading seminar comprising one or more sessions, customized to meet the needs, desires and goals of an individual, couple or small group (up to 5).  With guidance from us, clients tell us what they wish to learn; specific contexts (for example, general interest, or related to a professional project); and how deeply they wish to take their understanding (for example, a cursory overview or extensive study to become an expert).

The topics of our Earth Studies Program are relevant to every aspect of daily life, society and nature, thus affect our understanding of literally everything in meaningful, even profound ways.

For a full description of Conversations & Coffee, including an extensive list of topics and some examples of custom programs from an infinite number of combinations and permutations, please view this page, an Adobe pdf.  You can view it online in your browser (where it opens when you click the link), or download it for closer examination.

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Seeking students for Advanced Study Track

Fourth – and finally – Ermah Ge is accepting applications for advanced track students (ATS) for academic year 2014 – 2015 (September to August) and beyond.  We  will continue to accept any adult into our seminars and classes without commitment for further study.  But now that we have found our a permanent location, we wish to build our body of advanced students.

Advanced study has at least two tangible advantages.  First, advanced courses and seminars yield the deepest and most profound gains in knowledge and understanding.  Our introductory classes – the “101’s” for systems, biosciences, geophysiology (Earth system science and Gaia theory), climatology, adaptability (including outdoor living skills), and intelligence – are substantive courses of study yielding significant new insights into how nature and human societies work.  But they are survey classes designed to introduce basic concepts and language needed for advanced study; thus, time constraints do not allow in-depth exploration of any topic.

Each of our 24 advanced courses focuses on a subset of topics introduced in the 101’s, allowing far greater depth of exploration.  These are particularly necessary for teachers and teacher training.   Advanced courses are not pedestrian living room conversations, but expertly guided and facilitated reading seminars designed to ensure that students will recognize and understand the most important concepts and see connections between them and other courses –  – punctuated by short lectures to elucidate challenging concepts.

In advanced courses, students consistently experience more of what we call “AHA! moments”, a term coined by one of our associates and one of my most advanced students, Dr. James Burke: truly profound, awe-inspiring, even life-changing, new understandings about … well, virtually everything – how all of nature and societies work.  AHA! moments are the proverbial “light bulbs” being switched on.  Some could appropriately be called epiphanies (sensu “a sudden insight or intuitive understanding”) that results in fundamental new understanding or ‘mental model’ of how things work.  About 75 advanced students that I (sadly) left behind in Oregon when I moved to Maine can attest to those experiences.   I am eager to build an advanced student body in Maine, now.

The second advantage of advanced study is the community that emerges among our advanced students.  We learned that in Oregon during my ten years there.  Numerous friendships, several romantic relationships (including marriage), and new professional collaborations were born in our studio in Eugene, OR.  Some students attended advanced classes as much for community as for the knowledge they gained.   I’ve missed that level of community in Maine, because I’ve not stayed long enough in one city for it to develop — until now.

I sincerely hope you’ll join our advanced track community.  I’m eager to share my knowledge with you about the concepts, theories and models of some of Earth’s most prestigious, pioneering scientists – radically different from the mechanistic sciences of the previous 300 years – and their profound philosophical and practical implications for our future.

Please contact me (or call 207-701-7725) for information about our Advanced Track program, or with questions about any other topics in this post.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Alder

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