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Positive Ideas. Happening.

EarthCollective is a catalytic and enabling approach generating inspired initiatives that enhance and deepen relationships with all life. Since 2006, through diverse collaborations, we have helped get numerous positive ideas happening. This page highlights some of our current involvements as well as former initiatives and partnerships.

Current Collaborations

The Kwendalo Institute is reimagining education as a dynamic process of learning that promotes interconnectedness, wellness, and harmony with life. It conducts applied research in the social-ecological sciences and facilities programmes that empowers diverse citizens, especially youth, with tools for creating regenerative futures.
NatureFix designs, develops and measures nature connection routines that improve human health and transform green spaces into wellness places. The NatureFix app responds to your geolocation and connects you to the healing powers of nature through audio guided routines and trails.
A transdisciplinary working group of social-ecological researchers and creative facilitators applying new understandings of human consciousness to reimagine our sense of connection and community with all life.
Image is a portal into meaningful nature experience and connectedness with nature. It draws on scientific research and experiential insight to explore implications for sustainability education and consciousness.
“It is a way of being and a way of doing. It is neither business nor non-profit but a collaborative mindset that continuously networks in a way which spawns ideas and actions seeking to serve the greater whole. We see ourselves as part of an ever-changing ecosystem of potential relationships and synergies. So we thrive in exploring new ground, sowing possibility, seeding synchronicity, pollinating networks, and growing robust initiatives that nourish our connections with nature, community and oneself. We enjoy working relatively unseen; behind and between the scenes; just doing what naturally feels a part of who we are in this shared ecology of life.”
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EarthCollective is a peer-to-peer network catalysing and enabling initiatives that enhance people’s relationships with nature, themselves and their communities.

We believe in our shared interconnectedness and this motivates us to act in selfless service for the greater good.

We believe that our actions should always be intentioned to support a flourishing earth and thriving humanity.

This is our enduring motivation.

EarthCollective works a bit like mycelium. It is, above all else, an amorphous collection of connection: a purposeful entanglement of energised interactions, relationships and conversations that, under the right conditions, fruits into forms that then have value in themselves. It is in this sporadic fruiting of a new initiative, publication, event or collaboration that we find tangible reward and which may lead to visible structures, institutions and outcomes.

EarthCollective is therefore itself somewhat of a non-entity in the sense that it is not a registered organisation with a set physical address. Rather, it is connective tissue – fascia moving between a body; a changing expression and tension of relationships that ebb and flow in response to reason or season.

As individual members, we pollinate and therefore have formal affiliations and associations with multiple other organizations. But for EarthCollective as a whole, we are quite content for our efforts to remain largely unseen, unassuming and perhaps unfamiliar.  As mycelium does, we too are satisfied to serve as a medium for facilitating meaningful communication and connection between organisms and entities, between people and nature.

Since its inception in early 2006, EarthCollective has facilitated the successful setup, support and coordination of  diverse range of local and international initiatives including: tertiary conservation field study courses; transdisciplinary research programs; multi-stakeholder participation processes; landscape-scale restoration research and implementation; community training, up-skilling and empowerment for nature-based learning; and produced creative online media, art, outreach and advocacy in support of ecological awareness, social resilience and sustainable futures.

All these actions ultimately serve to recognize a profound appreciation of humanity’s interrelatedness and shared aspirations for a better world.

Simply said, it’s about getting:

“Positive ideas. Happening”

What’s Happening

Better with Birds: Webinar Replay

Why birding benefits us & the planet Matthew Zylstra, PhD, was recently invited on as a Guest Speaker for BirdLife South Africa’s Conservation Conversations to speak about the wellbeing benefits

Amplifying the Heath Benefits of Nature

In his capacity as Research Scientist for NatureFix,  Dr. Matthew Zylstra recently presented on how nature connectedness underpins human and planetary health. This presentation marked the launch of NatureFix wellness

Podcast: Attention for Nature Connection

Dr. Matthew Zylstra recently visited The Netherlands to present to Wageningen Univeristy colleagues on “Trends in Nature Connectedness: A View from the South” .  Afterwards he facilitated a mindful sensory

OceanFest: Of Whales & Wonder

EarthCollective duo,  Dr. Alejandra Vargas and Dr. Matthew Zylstra were both involved in last week’s successful OceanFest, held in Plettenberg Bay. Both Alejandra and Matthew delivered presentations during the 3-day

Nature Connection for Social-Ecological Systems

Dr. Matthew Zylstra recently presented at the Garden Route Interfaces Network meeting sharing the latest insights into his current research focus on the importance of nature connectedness for the health

Integrating views on the human~nature relationship

A new publication that seeks to find common ground and integrate multiple perspectives on the human~nature relationship

Past Collaborations

Matthew Zylstra


I like to look at the world the through the lens of connection: always curious as to how a given activity brings us closer to – or further distances us – from the rest of nature. And, in this sense, I believe one of the most important skills we can master is how to truly pay attention to life, especially non-human nature.

Matthew is a systems ecologist and outdoor practitioner passionate about deepening the human-nature relationship for the long-term health of people and planet. He has 20 years of international experience in social-ecological research, field education and immersive facilitation. His transdisciplinary PhD in Conservation Ecology and Education through Stellenbosch University (2014) explored how meaningful experiences and nature connectedness support pro-environmental behaviour and deep learning. His work has since informed several global initiatives, such as #NatureForAll#NatureFix, and the Planetary Health Alliance’s education framework. Matthew is a Research Fellow with CST-Stellenbosch University, and Scientific Advisor for the Kwendalo Institute and The Connective (AUS), where his contributions centre on nature connectedness for transformative education and psycho-social wellbeing, with a focus on “green prescriptions” / “nature referrals”.

“The EarthCollective ideal still best describes how I like to work – fluidly ideating and networking between multiple organisations and across countries. I have never felt comfortable with adversarial competition and would rather cooperate transparently and encourage fruitful collaborations, especially when it comes to sharing positive ideas in service of earth and humanity. The only way we as a species will survive is if we set aside hyper-individualisation and imagined boundaries of separation (from earth and each other) so we can come together for the good of the whole.”

Connect with Matt on LinkedIn and ResearchGate

© EarthCollective 2006-2023

EarthCollective is a peer-to-peer network catalysing and enabling initiatives that enhance people’s relationships with nature, themselves and their communities. Over the past two decade, this initiative has grown a lot like mycelium: a purposed entanglement of energised interactions that nourish networks and sporadically fruit into visible expressions with tangible initiatives, organisations and outcomes.