Manzanita Institute, an initiative of Manzanita School, begins as a parent involvement, education, and participation portal. The institute convenes thought leaders to advance dialogues around learning, youth engagement, nature connection, and healthy human development.  It is a space where global thinkers, educators, parents and students will gather to inspire and teach one another. 

The students who attend Manzanita School will be engaged in a new paradigm for learning.  As these adolescents grow deeply connected to nature, begin to awaken their innate genius and gifts, and passionately pursue the difficult questions of our times, they will need their parents to join them in this profound journey of connection. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Manzanita Speaker Series
Gamal Palmer : The Arts and Social Transformation

Taking Action to Impact Community

WHEN:
Friday Evening
August 22nd, 2014

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

WHERE:
Topanga Library
122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga, CA 90290

GAMAL WILL EXPLORE A RANGE OF IDEAS INCLUDING:
• Art and Leadership
• Empathy to unleash creativity
• Action based engagement

It is our pleasure to invite you to the 10th installment in the Manzanita Speaker Series Friday, August 22nd from 7:00pm-8:30pm. Gamal Palmer will be joining us for a wonderful evening at the Topanga Library. We look forward to seeing you there.

About The Speaker

Gamal Palmer has been at the forefront of theater-based social justice initiatives for more than a decade. 

Gamal co-designed the first ever experiential-academic collaborative program between the Yale Schools of Divinity and Drama entitled, 'After Social Justice; Through Music, Theater and Religion,’ which took place in Tanzania. 

As the co-founder of Company Cypher, Palmer has been able to further develop his passion for social justice, arts and education. Company Cypher is a theater company that engages educators, community leaders and artists in a transformative conversation focused on race and skin tone prejudice.

For the past few years, Gamal has been working with young black male entrepreneurs by connecting creative expression and Applied-Theater with social innovation. 

Currently, Palmer is the Sr. Director of the Community Leadership Institute.

Company Website - GamalPalmer.com

PAST EVENTS

Manzanita Speaker Series
Mia Lehrer : Designing With Nature

History And Journey Into The Field Of Landscape Architecture

Company Website - MLAgreen.com

About The Speaker

Mia Lehrer is the founder and President of Mia Lehrer + Associates (ML+A). As an international landscape architecture and urban design firm, ML+A is known for its design and development of a wide spectrum of ambitious public and private projects including; the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan and creating an ecological laboratory in the heart of Los Angeles with the Natural History Museum’s Nature Gardens.

Born in El Salvador and educated at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, Ms. Lehrer is internationally recognized for her progressive landscape designs.

She is committed to protecting our environment and designing projects that will heal our Earth. She believes that great landscape design coupled with sustainability has the power to enhance the livability and quality of life in our cities and in our environment.


Manzanita Speaker Series
Jonathan Nadlman : Community Council

Saving our lost boys, and what it really means to mentor.

Personal Website  - jonathannadlman.com

About The Speaker

Jonathan Nadlman is a licensed psychotherapist and has been counseling adults, teens, children, and their families for over twenty-five years. 

He has witnessed generations of confused lost boys (regardless of socio-economic circumstance) unsure how or why to become adults, uninspired by the pathways leading out of childhood, untested in facing their fears, and unfamiliar with their inherent gifts and the lessons their community has to teach them. In response to this tragic loss of potential, Jonathan mentors boys and their parents by teaching human development and emotional intelligence at many independent schools throughout west Los Angeles.

Jonathan speaks about the opportunity to meet our boy’s intensity, curiosity, and potential at this crucial developmental crossroads. You will leave equipped to support your boys with new perspective and strategies.


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Manzanita Speaker Series
Leif H. Skogberg: Patterns of Connection

Understanding Nature, Community & the Self

Ojai Foundation - Official Site
Personal Page - FaceBook.com

About The Speaker

Raised in a small nomadic beekeeping family in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, Leif is an ecological gardener, educator, designer and activist passionate about merging and integrating inner and outer landscape restoration. 

As Stewardship and Sustainability Director at The Ojai Foundation, Leif oversees the care, restoration and design of the Land and Facilities, including; over 30 eco-structures, edible landscaping, native oak woodlands, grasslands and chaparral sage scrub habitats. 

He has over a decade of experience working professionally and teaching in sustainability and regenerative design fields, including; Permaculture, environmental education, and youth leadership. 

In Ojai for the last four years, he has been uniting ancient wisdom traditions, such as The Beauty Way, The Way of Council, and the Wheel of Life Teachings into his holistic view of life and work. Leif sees himself as a guardian of the Earth and as an elemental steward of the cycles that sustain all life.


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Manzanita Speaker Series
Jon Young: The Essence of Culture Repair

Awakening the Human Operating System

What the Robin Knows - Amazon.com
Animal Tracking Basics  - Amazon.com
Offical Website

About The Speaker

Mentored in understanding the language of nature throughout his boyhood by a well known author and Tracker (Tom Brown Jr.), Jon went on to study natural history, anthropology and education at Rutgers University. His research led him to develop the 8 Shields Cultural Mentoring System, a model for resilient community and deep nature connection that is now applied by over 100 communities in North America and Europe.

Jon’s unique ability to deeply read and understand the nuances of animal communication through tracks, sign, and bird language, coupled with his understanding of the crucial impact of mentoring on regenerating resilient culture, have offered a unique contribution towards developing healing modalities for self, community, and nature.

Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle, hails Jon as “one of the heroes of the new nature movement.”

Manzanita Speaker Series
Paul Astin: Building a New Story

Personal Website  - PaulAstin.com
Video Channel  - YouTube.com

About The Speaker 

Dr. Paul Astin has worked in education for over 20 years, as a teacher and administrator in both public and private schools. 

Paul has a BA degree in Prehistoric Studies, a bilingual teaching credential, an MA in Latin American Studies, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. 

Paul’s 2008 dissertation focusing on adolescent development and middle school reform won the Dissertation of the Year Award in UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program. In 2001, Paul won the Bravo Award from the Los Angeles County Music Center for integrating art into his classroom. 

Paul was named “Topanga Citizen of the Year” in 2008, partly in recognition of the service work of his 6th grade students at Topanga Elementary. Prior to becoming a full-time classroom educator, Paul worked as a jazz pianist and music teacher.


Manzanita Speaker Series
Chris Morasky: Awakening Instincts

Roasting Cattail Seeds  - YouTube.com
Elements Gathering 2013  - YouTube.com

About The Speaker 

Chris Morasky is a wildlife biologist with almost 30 years experience teaching Stone Age skills and nature connection and is considered one of the top Stone Age skills experts in North America.  Chris has lived most of the past 20+ years in the wilderness and small communities of British Columbia, Idaho and Utah.  

He lived in a tipi for 6 years, homesteaded along the most remote mail route in the lower 48 states, lead totally Stone Age expeditions into the wilderness of Idaho and Oregon, worked in the most dangerous job in the world, was one of the largest python breeders in Canada, was a waiter at a 4 Star restaurant, managed over $15 million worth of property in Park City, UT, and has had multiple near-death experiences.

His teachers include Lakota, Shoshone, Arapaho, Crow, Blackfeet and Serri tribesmen, many wilderness skills experts and life itself.  Chris's workshops focus on awakening instincts, ancient skills and deep nature connection as doorways to understand more fully who we are and why we're here. 


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Manzanita Speaker Series
Mark Morey: The Nature of Learning

Personal Website  - MarkMorey.com
Video Channel  - Youtube.com

About The Speaker 

Mark Morey is a creative artist, visionary educator, cultural engineer, and consultant who designs regenerative holistic communities with timeless native principles. He founded three transformational organizations in the last 13 years: Deep Wilds, Vermont Wilderness School, and the Institute for Natural Learning, sparking a nature and community awareness movement in the Northeast impacting 7,000 adults and children today.

He has facilitated or co-facilitated wilderness survival and spiritual passages for teens and adults since 1997, including over 50 week-long Art of Mentoring passages for adults, and 7 years of Sacred Fire rites of passages for boys.

Mark feels inspired by the hero’s journey model, the oral history of his ancestors and native people around the world. Mark’s passion for environmental healing and consciousness has gained him wide recognition as a leader in earth centered learning.


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Manzanita Speaker Series
Adora Svitak: Curiosity & Nature
Are Essential

Flying Fingers  - Amazon.com
Yang in Disguise - Amazon.com

About The Speaker 

Since the age of four, Adora Svitak has been exploring what she can do with the written word: everything from championing literacy and youth voice to raising awareness about world hunger. Hoping to instill her love of learning in other children, she taught her first class at a local elementary school the year her first book, Flying Fingers, debuted; since then, she has spoken at hundreds of schools, classrooms and conferences around the world.

She co-authored her second book, Dancing Fingers—a collection of poetry—with her older sister Adrianna in 2009. At 12, she delivered the speech "What Adults Can Learn from Kids" at the prestigious TED conference. That video received over one million views and has been translated into over 40 different languages.

Now a senior in high school, Adora is active in Speech and Debate and Model UN, has spoken widely on youth voice and feminism, and will be on a panel about self-directed learning at the South by Southwest Education conference in Austin this March. 


Manzanita Speaker Series
Jon Young: Cultural Mentoring

What the Robin Knows - Amazon.com
Animal Tracking Basics  - Amazon.com
Offical Website

About The Speaker 
 

Naturalist, tracker, and respected author, Jon Young will join us for a ground-breaking dialogue about ‘cultural mentoring,’ a process of calling forth what is best in our communities and in our world.

With 30-years of work in wilderness training, “deep nature connection,” and the lost art of mentoring through nature, Jon’s brilliant story-telling, warm manner, captivating ideas, and ever-present humor will leave us inspired to continue our important individual and community work towards social and environmental healing.