Spiritual Formation in the Wild

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  • Instructor: Aram Mitchell 
  • Asynchronous Learning 
  • CEU Credits/Contact Hours: 4/40
  • Type: Scheduled
Course overview
This eight-week course combines accessible practices of nature engagement with critical thinking about the idea and history of wilderness. Alongside a cohort of co-learners and with the earth itself—through essays, audio, poetry, and personal reflection—we will explore themes and share encounters that root us in rhythms of spiritual formation for the sake of our wild and precious work in the world.
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CEU Certificate included
This certificate meets the Diamond Standard™ for 4 continuing education units (40 contact hours) and is adaptable for academic course credit with advanced notice..

Course Details

This 8-week online course allows considerable autonomy in pacing while also providing engagement with a small cohort of other adult learners. There will be a set deadline for weekly practices, reflections and responses, but you can engage the content week-to-week at your own pace. (Plan to spend approximately 5 hours per week engaging the course.)

The course begins with an optional synchronous online gathering to meet the instructor, get to know others in the cohort, and orient to the course.

Then, asynchronously, each week you will: 
  • engage with the week’s theme through essays, poetry, and audio,
  • share a written reflection based on the week’s theme,
  • experiment with an adaptable contemplative nature practice as instructed,
  • share an image and story from your nature encounter,
  • and review and respond to reflections and encounters by other learners in your cohort

Read the full course description here.

Learning Outcomes
  • Practice contemplative means of connecting with wild nature
  • Strengthen your relationship with nearby natural spaces
  • Articulate a personal understanding of spiritual formation
  • Develop a nuanced concept of wilderness
  • Deepen your sense of self as wild
  • Design rhythms of sustained nature engagement
  • Identify the patterns of spiritual formation in wilderness experience
  • Envision applications of new insights in professional context

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This is a great course for spiritual leadersclergy, chaplains, seminarians, coaches—who are seeking continuing education units or professional development credits.

Educators, therapists, healthcare providers, consultants, small group leaders, nonprofit directors, and public servants of all sorts would also benefit from (and contribute to!) this course.

About the instructor

Hi, I'm Aram.

I'm a Registered Maine Guide and Wilderness First Responder with a degree in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary.

I've helmed a nonprofit that offered wilderness programs for worn out care providers. I've developed programs that bolster spiritual leadership for a climate-changed world. I've served in a big church as a minister for children and families. I've worked in a big city as an advocate for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.

These days I explore the confluence of wildness and spirituality, inviting folks to camp out at that confluence through retreats, coaching, and writing.
what wild ones are saying


"Aram is a thoughtful and emotional mentor who has created a course with intentional structure that allows a flow of creativity, exploration, and contemplation to emerge from the content and his students. The course seeks to look at wildness as something to embrace, to examine, and to incorporate into your lives no matter the location (from dense forests to urban landscapes). This course will allow you to step out of some of your preconceived notions around faith, nature, life and existence and create a new appreciation for what is wild around you. I would recommend it for those who are stuck or drowning in the mundane or are swept up in the stress and hurriedness of life. It gives the student the ability to both energize and release what life is currently throwing at you."

Al Whitehouse, 2021 Learner