Reciprocal Healing: Nature, Health, and Wild Vitality | A National Confluence


The Natural History Institute presents a 4 day, interdisciplinary gathering in Sedona on the topics of medicine, psychology, and natural history. The Peregrine Book Company will be represented, offering relevant books for sale throughout the event. 


Our goal is to illuminate the healing ground that lies at the confluence of natural history, medicine, and psychology. From this common ground we intend to grow the practices and associations that will foster the health of all life.

Join us and help activate a coalition of engaged people to inspire and empower connections between disciplines. Interactions between naturalists and ecologists, psychologists, physicians, educators, artists, writers, and advocates will light a path that connects humans and nature through healing both the human and more-than-human world. This national confluence is dedicated to nurturing a sense of hope grounded in tangible, actionable outcomes. Participants will benefit from inspiration, innovation, cross-pollination, and depth in both plenary and breakout sessions.

The Place

We will gather in the presence of the red rock of Sedona, Arizona, at the Sedona Mago Retreat Center ( on the western margin of the Mogollon Highlands, one of the most biologically diverse ecoregions in North America—at the juncture of a continental-scale biogeographic crossroads. Where plants from Mexico meet those from Canada, where biota from the coast meet that from the Great Plains. And geologic richness: where sandstone touches granite veins, and snow peaks rise from the desert. This is a region that has been a mixing zone of cultures for thousands of years. A perfect place to bring ideas together with intention and to clarify a vision and practices for reciprocal healing.


The gathering will be structured as a confluence between three primary tributaries— medicine, psychology, and natural history—with a rhythm of alternating plenary presentations from inspiring speakers and illuminating panels, smaller field workshops, and open space for emergent ideas. Throughout the 4 days and 3 nights of the gathering, we’ll integrate intellect, spirit, and experience while intertwining contemplation and wild nature. 

We intend to emerge with the strategies and skills to take this work into the wider world. The academic journal Ecopsychology has committed to engagement with this conference, with the intention of publishing a special section deriving from the gathering.

Plenary Speakers

Davona Blackhorse, M.A. is a Clinical and Mental Health Counselor who seeks to develop culturally appropriate therapy interventions that are inclusive of Native American healing practices. She is pursuing a PhD in Interdisciplinary Health with an emphasis in Psychosocial Health; her studies focus on the psychological impact of toxic land mining exposure on the Navajo Reservation and historical trauma among Native Americans.

Michael Finkelstein, M.D., “the Slow Medicine Doctor,” trained in both Internal and Integrative-Holistic Medicine, is the author of Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness, and has been the medical director of major hospitals and health institutes, as well as having a private medical practice.

Thomas L. Fleischner, Ph.D. is a naturalist and conservation biologist, the Executive Director of the Natural History Institute, Faculty Emeritus at Prescott College, and editor of the anthologies Nature, Love, Medicine: Essays On Wildness and Wellness and The Way of Natural History.

Robert Greenway, M.S., Professor Emeritus, Psychology, Sonoma State University, developed programs in ecopsychology, The Wilderness Experience, and transpersonal psychology.  He has served on the staff of the Peace Corps, was Director of planning for University of California at Santa Cruz and manages an organic farm in Washington State.  He has written and spoken extensively on the field of ecopsychology and the human-nature relationship.

Peter Kahn, Jr., Ph.D. is Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Ecopsychology, and co-editor of the books Ecopsychology: Science, Totems, and the Technological Species, and The Rediscovery of the Wild. He is a professor at the University of Washington, with appointments in the Department of Psychology and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Ph.D. is Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology and Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, and an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

Kathleen Dean Moore, Ph.D. is an award-winning author of numerous books that integrate philosophical clarity with personal reflection and moral purpose, including Great Tide Rising: Towards Clarity and Moral Courage in an Age of Planetary Change.  She was distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University before leaving academia to speak and write about the moral urgency of addressing climate change.

Gary Paul Nabhan, Ph.D. is an ecologist, ethnobotanist, and author of more than 30 books on the relationship between nature and culture. Currently the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Southwestern Borderlands Food and Water Security at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship.

Anna O’Malley, M.D. is an Integrative Family and Community Medicine physician in West Marin, California, and is the founding Director of the Natura Institute for Ecology and Medicine in the Commonweal Garden. She guides people in the medicine of reconnecting to Nature, holds restorative retreats for physicians, and works toward infusing deep ecological consciousness into the art of healing.

Laura Sewall, Ph.D., M.S.E.L., the author of Sight and Sensibility: The Ecopsychology of Perception, taught ecopsychology and environmental perception at Prescott and Bates colleges, and is Director of the Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area in coastal Maine. She has a doctorate in Visual Science and a master’s in environmental law.

Brian Stafford, M.D., M.P.H. is a child psychiatrist, pediatrician, and ecotherapist.  He is the founder of and, and leads wilderness healing journeys through these organizations and the Animas Valley Institute.

Sara Warber, M.D. is Emeritus Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan, former co-director of the university’s integrative medicine program, and Honorary Professor at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. The co-author of Natural Products From Plants, her clinical practice included holistic women’s health and holistic herbal medicine.

For more information and to register, please visit the Natural History Institute site.

Event date: 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 2:00pm to Friday, November 8, 2019 - 2:00pm

Event address: 

Sedona Mago Retreat Center
3500 Bill Gray Rd
Sedona, AZ 86336