About the Founder
From his earliest years, Joseph Cornell felt a sensitive attunement with the mysteries and beauties of nature. As a boy, he spent much time exploring the marshes, orchards, and mountains near his home in northern California. During the early 1970s, he designed his own Bachelor of Science degree program in nature awareness at California State University at Chico.
The nature awareness methods featured in Cornell’s Sharing Nature Book Series are used by millions of parents, educators, naturalists, and youth and religious leaders all over the world. Mr. Cornell’s second book, Listening to Nature, has inspired thousands of adults to deepen their relationship with nature.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service selected his first book, Sharing Nature with Children, as one of the 15 most influential books—published from 1890 to today—that has connected children to nature. Other authors honored in the exhibit include Rachel Carson and Ernest Thompson Seton.
Cornell’s highly effective outdoor learning strategy, Flow LearningTM, was featured by the U.S. National Park Service as one of five recommended learning theories, along with the work of Maria Montessori, Howard Gardner, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget.
Joseph Cornell is the founder and president of Sharing Nature Worldwide, one of the planet’s most popular and influential environmental education programs. He is the honorary president of Japan Nature Game Association that has 10,000 trained Sharing Nature leaders and 224 regional associations. Japan’s national elementary science curriculum promotes Sharing Nature experiences as a way to help students “get close to nature” and “love nature.”
Mr. Cornell has received many international awards for his Sharing Nature books and work. He has received the prestigious Countess Sonja-Bernadotte Prize in Germany for his vast influence on environmental education in Central Europe, and the Honorary Award from the Hungarian Society for Environmental Education for his "service as a role model for educators worldwide." In 2011 Cornell was selected as one of the “100 biggest opinion leaders committed to the Environment” by the French organization, Anges Gardiens de la Planète.
Joseph frequently travels and speaks to groups in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the South Pacific. The National Association for Interpretation said that Cornell’s books “sparked a worldwide revolution in nature education” and “his expertise, irrepressible enthusiasm, blend of knowledge and warmth creates an atmosphere for learning that is very contagious.”
Joseph and his wife, Anandi, live in northern California at Ananda Village, a successful intentional community based on simple living and high thinking. Joseph’s service at Ananda includes teaching and writing on meditation and other inspirational topics.