Educational Programs

Lay hold of what really matters,
that which is essential to abundant life,
and let go of all that is superfluous.

Coracle: Voice of the Earth

harbor seal closeupThe whole Earth is singing. The birds are singing. The trees are singing. The frogs and crickets are singing. The air is singing. The whales and seals are singing. And we too are singing. All voices of the voice of the Earth.

For millennia, humans have drawn inspiration from the voice of the Earth: the music of whales and seals, birds and insects, wind and forest. Using live music and nature sound recordings, we explore this rich world of musical collaboration between humans and the many other voices of the Earth.

Through music we reconnect with the common language of the Earth. We become listeners and collaborators, friends and colleagues with plants and animals, with the whole movement of life. And that makes all the difference.

Cynthia Hughes, Celtic harp and John Crockett, cello and Irish low whistles, are musicians and naturalists who bring their love of the earth and sea into their music to celebrate the interconnectedness of all life. Together they perform as Coracle, creating programs of traditional and original music inspired by the land and the sea and Earth's creatures. With tunes, songs, and wildlife recordings, Cynthia and John weave a musical journey where the human, the natural and the contemplative meet.

Coracle is also available for concerts and private events. Please contact us for more information.


Listening to the Voice of the Earth

Listening is essential for the survival of most animals. Hearing predators. Hearing Prey. Communicating. Knowing what is going on in the environment. Listening to the birds, the great messengers. Every animal listens to the birds. Even human hearing is tuned to the frequency of bird song.

We have not had to listen for survival for many centuries. We have had the power to overwhelm the world with our desires, our demands, our noise. We have forced the world to do our bidding. Now we have to listen again in order to restore balance, in order to thrive.

Listening to the voice of the Earth, we begin to get a feel for how humans are but one voice in this symphony of voices, and that the whole Earth displays intelligence, creativity, and consciousness. Listening is the first step in returning to a harmonious relationship with the whole Earth community.

This program uses natural soundscape recordings to introduce the diversity of voices of the Earth and to orient us toward a life of listening.

Please contact for details.


Contemplative Ecology and Ecological Spirituality

John is available to speak with individuals or small groups about contemplative ecology, listening as a unique way of knowing the world, nature sound recording methods, and the contemplative life.


John Crockett head shotJohn Crockett grew up on Black Mountain, a unique granite dome in Dummerston, Vermont. He spent his childhood scrambling over rocks, snaking through dense laurel groves, sitting by streams and gazing at the stars. That fired an early passion for earth sciences and astronomy. But it was a deeper calling that inspired his interest in bringing two worlds together - one of solid ground and matter, and a more elusive world of inner space, and vast silence.

As a result, John has spent his life asking questions about our place on Earth, working for peace, social justice and environmental conservation, and sharing his experiences through writing and education. He has studied the vocal behavior of humpback whales, songbirds and grey seals. He now devotes much of his time to recording natural soundscapes.

With his partner, Cynthia Hughes, he formed the musical duo Coracle in 2005, which blends Celtic harp, cello, Irish whistles and music from the natural world to inspire an understanding of our essential unity with the other creatures and the whole Earth.

John created The Natural Contemplative website in 2005 as a resource for environmental education and conservation from a contemplative perspective. John's work though The Natural Contemplative recognizes that the environmental situation is critical, and solutions are urgently needed that touch the deepest levels of who we think we are, how we view the world, and how our actions mirror those beliefs. To that end, he has hosted retreat days to explore how spirituality and ecology intersect.

John has worked with the Whale Conservation Institute/Ocean Alliance, the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, the Student Conservation Association, Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch University New England. He has been engaged with contemplative and meditative practices for more than forty years.

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