Returning the Gift: What Does the Earth Ask of Us?

A Weekend Retreat with Robin Wall Kimmerer


Distinguished professor, botanist and award-winning author Robin W. Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature using scientific tools. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Director of SUNY’s Center of Native Peoples and  Environment, she regards plants and animals as our oldest teachers, our elders. As a poet, the world speaks to her in  metaphor and she sees the “animacy” in all the gifts of Mother Earth. She combines these approaches to create a braid of  scientific knowledge, indigenous wisdom and the precious lessons of plants.

Kimmerer shows how other living beings – from salamanders to sacred sweetgrass – gift us with teachings, even if we don’t know or have forgotten to hear their voices. She shares the ancient rules of the “Honorable Harvest,” how it is our responsibility to find ways to enter into reciprocity with the more-than-human world through gratitude, ritual, ceremony, land stewardship, science, art and "everyday acts of practical reverence."

As retreat leader, Kimmerer will facilitate a celebrative experience to help awaken participants to their role in the cycle of  reciprocity, both receiving and returning the gifts of the generous Earth. She will engage the indigenous worldview as a framework for living in balance with Earth. The weekend will consist of creative, contemplative and collective experiences, which nurture reflection and help foster a new consciousness to stimulate awareness of potential spiritual and pragmatic responses to the ecological crisis we face.

The weekend will also include guided outdoor meditation and breathing exercises, as well as a full moon labyrinth walk of Mercy by the Sea’s seven-circuit labyrinth with sweeping views of Long Island Sound. The program will conclude with a book-signing.

Required reading includes  "The Honorable Harvest" and "Allegiance to Gratitude" chapters in Braiding Sweetgrass, which can be accessed via the buttons below. The book, Braiding Sweetgrass, is currently available in the Mercy by the Sea bookstore and on Amazon Smile.


Allegiance to Gratitude                honorable harvest 1              honorable harvest 2

The program begins on Friday, May 17, at 7:00 p.m. and concludes on Sunday, May 19, at noon.

The fee for a single accommodations is $375; double occupancy is $300 per person; and $165 for commuters, which includes Friday dinner, Saturday lunch and dinner.

All of our onsite accommodations have been filled. We are currently accepting a wait list for commuters and room accommodations should there be a cancellation.

Sessions:  1
Dates:  5/17/2019 to 5/19/2019
$165.00   (Commuter Fee)
Note: Online registration has ended