Deepen your ecological awareness with Meghan Walla-Murphy

Pepperwood is thrilled to once again host Meghan Walla-Murphy as an instructor, with our upcoming Learning to See Your Landscape – Tracking & Nature Awareness Course this fall. In these days of prolonged pandemic, many are looking for ways to connect – with community, with ourselves, and with nature. Throngs of people have taken to the trails and local parks as a source of respite, for exercise and mental wellbeing. This 4-week online class invites participants to get outdoors and equips them with tools to better notice and understand the network of ecological relationships in one’s backyard, local park, and nearby open spaces.

This new mini-course will follow a hybrid learning model – incorporating online meetings coupled with independent study and practice based in nature. During each weekly online session, Meghan will teach nature journaling and mapping, observing and identifying flora and fauna, animal track and sign, and wildlife behavior. These sessions will be learner-driven and include plenty of space for rich discussion. Between weekly meetings, participants will take the new tools and techniques they’ve acquired out into the field, to practice in their backyards and nearby parks and to return to the next meeting with new observations to share. This combination of content, practice, and discussion aims to enable participants with a deeper awareness of the living landscape which they are a vital part of.

Meghan is quite well-adapted for leading learners through this hybrid-style course of online and independent study. Since COVID-19 has forced our communities and institutions to shift practices, Meghan has taught a complete UC California Naturalist course through the digital platform Zoom, as well as a Watershed Ecology and Restoration course at Santa Rosa Junior College – with surprising and positive results! As she explains, “While I recognize that Zoom and the internet are a strange way to convey the importance of being outdoors, I am surprised by how much my students have taken from this online medium. Through guided field exercises, students have taken the concept of outdoor exploration to heart. I am amazed by what students share in class each week; natural history mysteries which we decipher and solve together. I have found my students to be curious and motivated to engage with their natural world, as if the hyper locality of COVID has somehow given them permission to delve deeply into their home ecologies as they never have before.”

As an educator, wildlife ecologist and writer of books, essays and articles, Meghan Walla-Murphy strives to help people connect to their external and internal landscapes through observation and tracking. In addition to a formal academic background, Meghan has had the privilege of tracking across the U.S. and internationally with indigenous cultures who continue to live close to the land. This academic and practical training has given Meghan the ability to meet and unravel some of our most pressing environmental, social, and political challenges from many diverse perspectives. Some of Meghan’s current projects include a habitat connectivity project in Sonoma County and lead of the North Bay Bear Collaborative. Meghan is faculty in the Natural Resource Management Dept. at Santa Rosa Junior College and an instructor for University CA Master Naturalist Program. For more information please visit her website:

This Learning to See Your Landscape – Tracking & Nature Awareness Course will be held over the course of four Thursday evenings, from 7pm-8:30pm beginning on October 29th and running through November 19th, 2020. The cost to register is $80, or $60 for Pepperwood members and donors. To register, visit the event page here.

For questions about this event, please contact Holland Gistelli, Education Specialist, at

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