Below is a chronological schedule of events for the 'I Thrive Naturally' program.
Should you want a pdf of the event, please click here.
All events are free, except the backpacking trip. Some may request registration.

Sept. 18 - 21
Monday - Thursday
1:00 pm

Intro to Mindfulness

Drop in to spend an hour under the trees discovering the power of mindfulness practice, led by experienced guides. Bring something to sit on if the weather is nice!
Host: SHaW -Mental Health

Location: Meet at Arjona, room 403. On days when the weather is nice, the session will move as a group to Mirror Lake.

Sept. 21
3:00 pm

Room to Grow - A Houseplant Workshop

The expert staff of the Botanical Conservatory will provide basic knowledge on houseplant care. You will go home with a plant of your choice that you potted up and instructions on how to care for houseplants in general.


Host: UConn Botanical Conservatory

Location: UConn Botanical Conservatory



Sept. 22
2:00 - 6:00 pm

The visit to the KNOX Community Garden has been cancelled.

Sept. 23
10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Nature Journaling

Create your own nature journal, and start recording your observations of the natural world among the plants of the UCONN Botanical Conservatory. Nature journaling is all about expressing your curiosity and wonder through sketching, calligraphy, writing, or other forms of artmaking. Limited paper provided. Bring your favorite art supplies, or just a pen and pencil. All levels are welcome. The emphasis of this workshop is on the creative process and having fun; no previous drawing or botanical experience is required. (Activity limited to the first 15 participants.) 
Host: Kristel Schoonderwoerd, post-doc and artist, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Location: UConn Botanical Conservatory garden (or greenhouse potting area if it rains)

Sept. 23 - 24
Saturday - Sunday

Weekend Backpacking, Bear Mountain CT

UConn Rec sponsors multiple hikes throughout the year. For this weekend's program, the trail will take you over the peak of Bear Mountain (the highest summit in CT) to catch views of the changing fall landscape. We will set out with everything we need for this 2-day, 1-night Backcountry Adventure on our backs. Our staff are there to help guide our group along the trail and to teach “Leave No Trace” principles and responsible practices for traveling, camping, cooking, and enjoying backcountry wilderness environments. No prior experience with backcountry travel or camping is needed, but our Pre-Trip meeting is essential to ensure all participants are prepared to have an awesome experience with us! Staff will continue to provide support during the trip. Transportation and backpacking equipment are provided. Participants are responsible for purchasing and packing their own food and clothing, recommendations will be made at the pre-trip meeting.
Host: UConn Recreation Department

Sept. 24
11:00 am

Community Ride with USG

What better way is there to meet people and get outside than a community ride this time of year? The Undergraduate Student Government and the UConn Rec Center are teaming up to offer a guided ride around campus. Bring your own bike, scooter, or roller blades, or pick up a bike from UConn Rec.
Host: Undergraduate Student Government

Meet location: UConn Adventure Center (adjacent to and east of the Rec Center)

Sept. 24 - 28
Monday - Thursday
1:00 pm

Intro to Mindfulness

Drop in to spend an hour under the trees discovering the power of mindfulness practice, led by experienced guides. Bring something to sit on if the weather is nice!
Host: SHaW -Mental Health

Location: Meet at Arjona, room 403. On days when the weather is nice, the session will move as a group to Mirror Lake.

Sept. 26
4:00 pm

Lichen Limelight: Illuminating the Forest's Living Decor

In this walk, delve into the fascinating world of lichens, a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae. Join Zach Muscavitch to learn about the intricate dynamics of this partnership. Discover the local lichen species, explore the various ways lichens are utilized by humans, and uncover the extraordinary ecological role lichens play in our forest ecosystems.
Host: Zach Muscavitch, graduate student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Meet Location: Moss Sanctuary is south of Rt 275.  See the blue location-marker on the map here. You'll need to scroll down on that page to see the map.

Sept. 27
3:00 pm

Hike the HEEP

What in the world is the HEEP? Interns from OS will guide you through the beautiful Hillside Environmental Education Park. Located to the west of Discovery Drive on the UConn Campus, the HEEP offers trails that will take you through scenic views woodlands, meadows, wetlands and vernal pools. There is no healthier way to detox after midterms than a relaxing walk in the woods.
Host: The Office of Sustainability

Sept. 28
4:00 pm

Tree ID Walk & Talk

Learn how to identify common New England trees and the unique natural histories of our native woody plants with naturalist Michael Lascaleia.
Host: Michael Lascaleia, graduate student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Sept. 29
4:00 - 6:00 pm

Farm Friday

Several studies have shown that contact with healthy soil is good for us, as well as eating our vegetables. Have fun meeting students from all across campus while engaging in a variety of fall farming activities. Come join us for Farm Friday! Resident student farmers will lead tours and might even let you pull a few weeds (which is also good for you)!

Free transportation is available when you RSVP for Farm Friday on the Community Service Days UConntact page:
Host: Spring Valley Student Farm

Sept. 30
10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Green Roof Cleaning

Join the UConn Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society for some green roof maintenance at Storrs Hall! Green roofs are a great way to minimize runoff, lower building temperatures, and attract pollinators. So grab a friend, your water bottle, and help make campus more sustainable (friend and water bottle not required to participate)!!

Host: UConn Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Location: Storrs Hall

Sept. 30
12:00 - 3:00 pm

Mushroom Mania

Fall is the perfect time to hunt for mushrooms, so come along with the knowledgeable experts of the UConn Fungi Club to learn about the local species and how they play an integral -but often overlooked- role in their ecosystems.
Host: The UConn Fungi Club

Location: Whetten Woods, entrance between 25 and 33 Sherwood St., (walkable from Campus, behind downtown Storrs)

Oct. 2
Lecture 4:00 pm
Panel Discussion 5:00 pm
Reception 6:00 pm


& Panel Discussion with Dr. Jennifer Roberts

“We are each other’s harvest. We are each other’s magnitude and bond.”: Understanding the Racialization of Nature

Dr. Jennifer Roberts is a scholar and activist who focuses understanding environmental racism and health disparities in marginalized populations through an historical lens. She seeks to
identify and dismantle current health injustices though writing, research and engagement with the outdoors.
Host: Undergraduate Student Government

Location:  151 Andre Schenker Lecture Hall (Monteith Building), 341 Mansfield Rd., Storrs

Presentation Abstract

Gwendolyn Brooks, a prolific American poet and Pulitzer Prize winner, concluded her “Paul Robeson” masterpiece, with “we are each other’s harvest, we are each other’s business, we are each other’s magnitude and bond” (Blacks, 1984).  Through this poem, Brooks celebrated the life of Robeson, a renaissance man, civil rights activist, nature lover and much more. She petitioned humans through earthly metaphoric language to be part of something bigger than themselves, a message that humans often forget.

The COVID-19 + racism + climate change syndemic has reminded us of this message, the fragility of life, as well as, our interconnected relationship with the natural world. COVID-19 offered a tribute to ecological spaces as humans flocked to parks, trails and other outdoor settings. Unfortunately, multiple eras of structural racism and oppressive policies have stripped away access and wounded the connection between nature and many BIPOC communities.  For example, in the 1960s, Humboldt Parkway, an Olmstedian greenspace oasis in Buffalo, NY, surrounded by Black American neighborhoods, was bulldozed over and replaced with a six-lane intrusive highway for easier access to suburbia. Yet, long before this environmental injustice, the moral and spiritual connection with nature was already impaired among generations of Black Americans. This was a troubling concern for W.E.B. DuBois, a preeminent racial and social justice pioneer and underrecognized naturalist; he asked “Why do not those who are scarred in the world's battle and hurt by its hardness travel to these places [Grand Canyon] of beauty and drown themselves in the utter joy of life?” (Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil, 1920).  Perhaps DuBois pondered this harsh reality while sitting in Robeson’s garden (W.E.B. DuBois, 1958).

This presentation will critically examine these issues, including greenspace gaps, land based trauma, park privilege, and how nature inequities are patterned by race and place in the United States. An insider’s look (speaker born and raised in Buffalo, NY) to the environmental and social injustices of Humboldt Parkway will also be discussed. Through an understanding and a call for addressing these transgressions and failures, the role of earth’s gifts, including its ability to heal, restore and inspire, will also be recognized and honored.

Suggested Readings

Blood on the Leaves –

From Environmental Racism to Environmental Reparation: The Story of One American City –