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Local author collaborates on guidebook on reconnecting with nature

Los Altos author Joanna Reynolds is scheduled to speak on "Exploring a Sense of Place" (Conexions, 2006), the guidebook she co-authored with Karen Harwell, 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Los Altos main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road.

The "Exploring a Sense of Place" guidebook is designed to help people discover and reconnect with the natural world wherever they live, according to Jana Dilley, communications director for the book, who added that it contains inspiration and a list of practical tools needed to design, develop, organize and produce an Exploring a Sense of Place program for any bioregion.

The guidebook is the outgrowth of Exploring a Sense of Place, a program founded in Palo Alto in 2001, designed to help people reconnect with the San Francisquito Creek watershed. Now in its fifth year, the Exploring a Sense of Place program provides a series of readings, walks and encounters in nature designed to build a "rootedness in place and to help people reconnect to nature at the soul level," Dilley said.

"We've all heard people say they love nature," Reynolds said. "Yet we often forget what great skill humanity has in constructing a world that insulates us from actually having to experience nature. Many of us now believe that if we are to be a successful species in the long run, we need to change our ways and partner with nature. 'Exploring a Sense of Place' was written to help us start the process of becoming native to our place."

Reynolds grew up in Silicon Valley and spent many years working in education, developing curricula and facilitating courses and programs designed to inspire participation in the conscious evolution of culture. As co-director of the Exploring a Sense of Place program, Reynolds spent years honing the curriculum, contributing her extensive experience and love of the natural world.

Co-author Harwell earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Colorado. She has done graduate study in philosophy, cosmology and consciousness at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, completed a six-week Earth Literacy program at Genesis Farm in New Jersey and was certified in the study of permaculture at Occidental Arts and Ecology. She lives in Palo Alto, where she has made her home into a model of sustainability and where she engages the neighborhood children in the Dana Meadows Organic Garden.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on the book, visit www.exploringasenseofplace.org. For more information on the speaking engagement, call 948-7683.

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