Bristol’s Jon Turner receives Spirit in Nature’s Eco Spirit Award

RIPTON — Each year Spirit in Nature (SpIN) presents its Eco Spirit Award to “persons whose lives are illuminated by their appreciation of the beauty, mystery, and preciousness of the natural world. Awardees are dynamic role models who engage us in debate, and urge us to explore the implications of our behavior during our present global environmental crisis. They lead us to a path of hope for the future of all life and nature on earth.”
This year’s award winner is Jon Turner of Bristol, who was awarded at SpIN’s February annual meeting. Jon is a veteran — two tours in Iraq and one in Haiti with the Marines — who suffered injuries and currently works with veterans with PTSD.
Turner and his wife bought 10 acres in Bristol on which they have created an innovative, sustainable farm. They host students from Middlebury College as well as the University of Vermont. Classes involve undertaking a project on the farm where they learn various sustainable approaches to land stewardship. Jon also works with veterans with PTSD giving a message of healing and hope. Gardening, and later farming, has played a large role in his own recovery.
Following his acceptance of the Eco Spirit Award, Turner shared some of his principles and values inspiring the audience, comprised of members and friends of Spirit in Nature and a few past award winners.
SpIN is local non-profit organization that maintains a set of “faith-based nature paths,” named for the various spiritual traditions: Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Native American, Druid, and others.
The project was developed on land owned by Middlebury College by a group of local citizens who attended a four-day conference in 1990 entitled Spirit and Nature. Inspired by the keynote speaker, the Dalai Lama, this group conceived of the project and approached Middlebury College with their plans. The paths are frequented by many locals, and the guest book is signed by visitors from all over the world.
All are encouraged to visit Spirit in Nature. From Route 125 in Ripton, if you turn on Goshen Road and drive less than one-half mile, you will see the sign and parking lot on the left, along with an information board and brochures with a map of all the paths. There are paths on both sides of Goshen road, all clearly blazed with laminated maps at every junction.
More information about SpIN can be found at spiritinnature.org, including a list of the past awardees, beginning with Bill McKibben in 2001.

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