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avatar for Anne Parker

Anne Parker

Naropa University
Professor Environmental Studies
Boulder, CO
Anne Parker is passionate about serving life and renewing our connection to and deep reverence for the Earth in her teaching and life work. She is a Professor of Environmental Studies, a full time Naropa University faculty member who has taught in both the BA in Environmental Studies and MA in Environmental Leadership since 1996. She grew up in the Bay Area of California, in love with her costal habitat and with the Sierra Nevada where she walked, skied and communed with the mountains with her family from a very early age. She lived in Switzerland during her middle school years and returned to California where, during her BA studies in Conservation of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley, she joined in the forefront of the emerging environmental movement. Focusing on National Park management and soil science, she worked with in a self-directed team of students who researched, designed and created Yosemite National Park’s first wilderness permit system to protect this precious land. A hunger to see the rest of the world led her to learning directly from traditional cultures, living with and learning from communities in the Himalayan region and Australia following her BA studies. She lived for three years in Australia, spending two of those years living with Aboriginal communities in the Central Desert, studying ethnobotany and learning from her Aboriginal colleagues about their deep knowledge of and reciprocity to the natural world and exceptional spiritual perspective. Studying with Tibetan Buddhist teachers, notably Lama Thubten Yeshe and the Dalai Lama, she began practice and study of this tradition that inspires her life in 1978. Taking every opportunity to live within and learn from this tradition she spent significant time living in India and Nepal – cumulatively over about 5 years studying in monasteries and carrying out research in traditional agriculture in Bhutan, Nepal and India with Fulbright grants and being mentored by these places and peoples. Her path led her to study Tibetan History and Inner Asian Studies at Indiana University under the Dalai Lama’s older brother Takser Rinpoche, carrying out fieldwork in India interviewing refugees about land use and traditional agriculture in Tibet prior to the period of the Chinese invasion. Continuing in her studies to a PhD at the University of Oregon, she focused on research in eastern Nepal on traditional agriculture in a community comprised of seven ethnic groups and their Hindu, Buddhist and Shamanic traditions regarding perceptions of the land and life. Following this she became the Program Director of Interface in Boston organizing cutting edge programs in meditation, alternative therapies and spiritual modalities before coming to teach at Naropa University. Since arriving at Naropa in 1996 she has devoted herself to innovative and creative curriculum design in environmental studies and environmental leadership, joining perspectives in sustainability, social/environmental justice and contemplative practice. She has also engaged over the last 12 years in extensive practice and study in her European earth-based spiritual heritage, as well as study, publication and consultation in sacred geometry design. She is currently doing research on sacred sites in Europe, Israel and the Himalayan region. She is a key co-designer of Naropa’s Bhutan study abroad program at the Royal University of Bhutan. She led the very first student group there in 2015 and is researching and developing curricula on contemplative intercultural studies. She loves teaching and adores her students.