NATALIE’s GRADUATE STORY
NAME: Natalie Van Dreal
FROM: Portland, Oregon
PROGRAM: Sustainable New Construction
Hi, I’m Natalie. I live in Portland, Oregon and I currently work at a nature-based therapy center. The center is comprised of 55 acres, 12 horses, 2 donkeys, 5 goats, 4 ducks, and 3 pigs. At the center, we help folks heal by facilitating relationship development with nature and animals.
I wear many hats at the center. I work as a Skills Trainer, utilizing my background in mindfulness and trauma-sensitive yoga to help clients build healthy coping skills. I teach art, gardening, tree-climbing, fire-making, and other nature-based skills, and I work as the Equine Specialist when horses are used in therapy with clients. Come January, I will also be helping develop a brand new program at our center that will be separate from our mental health services, and it will focus more on sustainability, wellness, and community-building.
Though this work may not seem like it has much to do with building sustainable buildings, the skills I learned at Endeavour have helped inform my lifestyle on a much broader scale. My summer at Endeavour helped me build confidence, discover my strengths, and start to truly envision the bigger picture of what I wanted for my life. There is no doubt in my mind that I will at some point be living in a small, beautiful, net-positive home among the rolling hills of southern Oregon, protecting the land, and holding space for folks to come develop their own relationship with nature and sustainable living.
The program at Endeavour is an incredible experience, no matter what path you’re on.