Anne Parker, PhD

Professor Emeritx of Ecopsychology & Environmental Studies
BA Environmental Studies, MA Ecopsychology
PhD, University of Oregon, Geography; MA, University of Oregon, Geography; MA, Indiana University, Inner Asian Studies; BS, University of California at Berkeley, Conservation of Natural Resources
BA Environmental Studies, MA Ecopsychology
Past and present course titles: Ecopsychology in Applied Context / Ecopsychology Initiatory and Winter Intensives / Ecopsychology Masters Project Online / Groups as Living Systems / MA Capstone seminar / Leadership Skills Seminar / Applied Leadership Project / The New Science and Its Cultural Implications / Wilderness Solo / Physical Geography / Geography Pilgrimage and Sacred Landscape / Traditional Culture and Contemporary Issues of Bhutan / Contemplative Intercultural Studies / Guided Independent Study in Bhutan / Culture/Nature Partnership (a yearlong service learning course on Ecological Restoration) / Service Learning: Ecological Restoration, Water Quality and Watersheds / Sustainable Communities, Environmental Problem Solving, Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Issues / ENV MA Masters Thesis Seminar

Anne Z. Parker is Professor of Ecopsychology in Naropa University’s MA in Ecopsychology and BA in Environmental Studies. She has taught as Professor of Environmental Studies, as a full-time Naropa University faculty member in both the BA in Environmental Studies and MA in Resilient 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. 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 passion 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 7+ 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, Professor Norbu/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 in Geography 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 twenty years in extensive practice and study in her European earth-based spiritual heritage, as well as publications and consultation in sacred geometry design. Anne is trained as a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. She has carried out in research on sacred sites in Europe, Israel, the US and the Himalayan region. She is a key co-designer of Naropa’s Bhutan study abroad program at the Royal University of Bhutan. She taught in that program from 2015 to 2019 and developed curricula on contemplative intercultural studies.

Anne is the author of Stories from the Origin and Multi-ethnic Interface in Eastern Nepal, and co-author of Earth Alchemy, Secrets of Sacred Geometry, and An Exploration of Sacred Geometry of Stupas in Bhutan.

  • Parker, Anne Z; Susani, Dominique, Tshering Choden, Sacred Geometry – An Exploration of Selected Stupas in Bhutan, Triple Enclosure Publishing, 2019
  • Parker, Anne Z; Susani, Dominique, Jarldane, Karen, Secrets of Sacred Geometry: living geometry for life and health, Triple Enclosure Publishing, 2019.
  • Parker, Anne Z., Multi-ethnic Interface in Eastern Nepal, Himal Books, 2013.
  • Parker, Anne, Tshering Choden, and Susani, Dominique, “An Exploration of Sacred Geometry of Stupas in Bhutan: A preliminary report” prepared for the Department of Culture, MOHCA, Bhutan, 2017.
  • Parker, Anne Z. and Wilding, Mark D., “Transformative Learning and Sustainability“, President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, Naropa University Green Paper on Contemplative Education and Ecological Sustainability, 2012.
  • Parker, Anne Z. and Susani, Dominique, Earth Alchemy: Aligning Your Home with Natures Energy. Inner Traditions, 2011.
  • Parker, Anne Z., “The Goddess, the Virgin, and the Land: the Black Virgins as markers of healing sacred sites of France”, at request of author.
  • Parker, Anne Z. and Susani, Dominique, “The Sacred Landscape and Geomancy of Swayambhu” in Light in the Valley: Renewing the Sacred Art and Traditions of Nepal. Dharma Publishing. 2012
  • Parker, Anne Z., Stories from the Origin, 2007.
  • Parker, Anne Z., “Pilgrimage in Tibet: The Yoga of Transformation“, Himalaya; the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, Volume 24, Number 1 2004.
  • Parker, Anne Z., Legion Park, Images, January, 2006.
  • Parker, Anne Z. and Penjor, Tshering, “In the Footsteps of Naropa”, Naropa Magazine, 2002.
  • Parker, Anne Z., “Body Prayer”, Prayers for a Thousand Years, ed Elias Amidon and Elizabeth Roberts, Harper San Francisco, 1999. (Body Prayer was among four selections from the book adapted to music and performed by Ysaye Barnwell and Sweet Honey and the Rock)
  • Johannessen, Carl J, and Parker, Anne Z., “Des Epis de Mais en Inde sur des Sculptures des XII-XIIIemes Siecles?”, Kadath Chroniques des Civilizations Disparus, v.89, Automne-Hiver 1997.
  • Parker, Anne Z., Multi-Ethnic Interface in Eastern Nepal, PhD Dissertation available through Ann Arbor Michigan, 1991.
  • Parker, Anne Z., “Book Review of Mountain Environmental Management in the Arun River Basin by John Dunsmore”, Mountain Research and Development, Vol.11, No. 3, p.p. 273–274, 1991
  • Parker, Anne Z. and Ukyab, Tenzing, “Reflections on a Primitive Ritual”, Talking Leaves, July, p.8, 1990
  • Parker, Anne Z., “The Many Meanings of Sherpa: an evolving Social Category”, Himalayan Research Bulletin, No.3, 1989.
  • Johannessen, Carl J, and Parker, Anne Z., “Maize Ears Sculpted in the 12th and 13th Century A.D. India as Indicators of Pre-Columbian Diffusion”, Economic Botany, 42 (2), pp. 164–180, 1989.
  • Parker, Anne Z., “Sakya College: A Teacher Training College in the Sakya Tradition”, Cho-Yang The Voice of Tibetan Religion and Culture, Vol. 1, No. 1, Sept., pp. 67–69, 1986
  • Parker, Anne Z., “An Ethnobotany of the Western Desert, Leonora, Western Australia”, Newsletter of the Australia Institute of Aboriginal Studies, New Series, No.13, March 1980.
  • Parker, Anne Z. and Malin, Lucy, “Part III Subalpine Soils and Wilderness Use”, Ecological Carrying Capacity Research, Yosemite National Park, 1976.
  • Beard, J.S. assisted by Parker, Anne Z., Vegetation Survey of Western Australia, Perth 1976 (a monograph series)

Research & Field Experience

  • Nepal: Extensive studies of traditional agriculture in eastern Nepal. Fulbright Research Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon (1989).
  • Conducted one and a half years of independent doctoral research in eastern Nepal on traditional farming systems including data collection, government liaison and supervision of research assistants. I created a scholarship program for girls of all castes in the high school of the village of Pokhari where I worked that completely shifted the local situation for girls, enabling them to get high school educations. Study and practice of traditional Tibetan Buddhism at Kopan Gompa with Lama Thubten Yeshe (Fall 1978 and ’79) and in Bodhanath with Tulku Urgyen, Chokyi Nyima and Namkai Norbu (Fall 1989 and 1992).
  • 2009 Consultation on an Engineers Without Borders Water Project on Swaymbhunath, holy hill and World Heritage Site in Kathmandu. 2009 Geomantic Mapping of Swaymabhunath sponsored by TNI as part of the restoration project of the stupa. PhD Dissertation: Multi-ethnic Interface in Eastern Nepal: Culture Change in Sidha Pokhari. Published by Himal Press. Published article: Parker, Anne Z. and Susani, Dominique, “The Sacred Landscape and Geomancy of Swayambhu”.in Light in the Valley: Renewing the Sacred Art and Traditions of Nepal. Dharma Publishing.
  • 2012 Bhutan: National Science Foundation Research (Summer 1985). Co-researcher on research project in Bhutan on traditional and changing farming systems in this region. We contributed a significant report on promoting, maintaining and developing local seed stock. Co-led a three-week tour to Buddhist cultural and pilgrimage sites in western and central Bhutan for Naropa Continuing Education (Summer 2002).
  • Explored cultural and environmental changes (2003). Member of consulting and site visit team to develop an undergraduate overseas program for Naropa University students in Bhutan in collaboration with the Royal University of Bhutan (Spring 2013 and 2014). Lead designer, faculty and In-Country Director for the first semester of the Bhutan study abroad program in collaboration with the Royal University of Bhutan (Spring semester 2015 to present).
  • Collaborative research on sacred geometry of Bhutanese Stupas through the Ministry of Culture 2015-18. New research under way on the development of compassion through application of contemplative-practice in intercultural learning (2018)
  • Himalayan India (Sikkim and Darjeeling): National Science Foundation Research (summer1986) Co-researcher on Research Project in Sikkim, Darjeeling and eastern Nepal on traditional and changing farming systems in this region. Academic advisor for Naropa’s International Studies Program in Sikkim. Reviewed the program and traveled extensively throughout Sikkim surveying current environmental issues during fall 2003.
  • India: Interview work with Tibetan refugees (prior to the opening of Tibet) about land use changes and agriculture in Tibet after 1959 (summer 1984).
  • Residence and study of Tibetan Buddhist practice at the Tibetan Library of Works and Archives in Dharamsala and with His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Summer 1982, ’83 and ’84).
  • MA Thesis: The Human Geography of Central Tibet: Changing Patterns of Land and Resource Use.
  • Australia: Research funded by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies on ethnobotany and traditional uses of plants by Aboriginal communities in the Leonora area of Western Australia (1977).
  • Tibet: Led two tours to cultural and pilgrimage sites in central and western Tibet- (Summer 1996) with Interface and (Summer 2000) with Naropa University Extended Studies. Research visit to Amdo, eastern Tibet 2005.
  • China: Two five-week research trips in China (1991 and 1998) with Professor Johannessen of the University of Oregon exploring archeological and archival evidence of early crop plant material. Return visit to China in 2005 for a short documentation of cultural, environmental and religious trends.
  • France: Three months field research on Black Madonna sites in France (and also Catalonia) June- August 2009. Studies of sacred sites and sacred geometry in Lot Valley, June 2013.
  • Spain: Research on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Walked entire width of Spain 2010.
  • Mexico: The Yucatan. Preliminary research on sacred geometry of the Mayan pyramids 2014
  • Wales: One-month research in Wales, with emphasis on the Island of Anglesey, gathering historical data and doing landscape analysis for an historically accurate eco-educational novel for young people January 2020.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

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