Empowering Personal, Social & Ecological Well-being, since 1980
Marta Swain is creator of Interplay - a uniquely creative methodology of inquiry, observation and interpretation to celebrate life and the principles of ecology that support all life. Marta's consultations & interactive workshops have served educational, recreational, and business organizations since 1980, (see Vitae below).
Interplay is a holistic, systems-based process that uses design and language to engage participants in personal and collaborative exploration of how we experience and can generate reciprocal value from understanding partnership, diversity, interdependence, carrying capacity, and the flow of energy & information. Participants develop a personal context for what sustainability is and can be, developing their unique capacity to improve quality of life for self, society and the interdependent system of life on Earth.
- Facilitates (re)discovery of ourselves, our lives, our organizations and our communities, as nature/part of nature.
- Invites participants to recognize themselves as unique centers of influence in the world...unique, diverse resources capable of partnering to charge the flow of energy, information, and actions for positive change.
- Promotes understanding of nature as a model for healthy lives and learning communities.
- Encourages awareness of healthy relationships and conditions that help ventures succeed.
- Vitalizes living and learning with whole-systems thinking.
- Cultivates individual and group capacity to create and contribute to actions that develop sustainability.
- Develops practical knowledge transferable to all sectors, arenas and aspects of life.
- Generates appreciation for the concept of global community, nature as a life support system, and self as a precious, renewable and evolving resource.
Private Interplay sessions are available for organizational groups of 6-14 people who want to explore how sustainability principals can support personal and cultural development as well as existing or desired organizational missions, goals & objectives.
Workshops are adapted to meet individual clients’ needs.
To learn more and/or schedule a workshop for your organization or sign up for participation in group sessions that will be open to the public, contact Marta Swain, firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.334-3589.
From 1980-1996, Marta Swain traveled extensively as visiting artist/educational consultant facilitating Interplay workshops for diverse clients around the world (Vitae below).
In 1994, Swain read Paul Hawken's Ecology of Commerce and learned that cotton was one of the world's most toxic crops. In 1996, she founded Clothing Matters to offer apparel produced with respect for life.
West Michigan Environmental Action Council: Grand Rapids MI: 1989-1995
Educational Programming Specialist/Artist-in-Residence: Fundraising, developing and directing interdisciplinary, cross-cultural outreach programs for several thousand students and teachers (K-post graduate) throughout the regional urban, suburban, and rural community. Facilitating design and implementation of curricula and community service projects that recognize connections between social and ecological systems, issues, and solutions.
Green Institute and Re Use Center, Minneapolis Minnesota; March 1997
Annual Board/Staff Retreat--Ecological principles applied to stewardship agendas and strategic planning
St. Thomas University Graduate School of Business, St. Paul Minnesota; November 1996
Designs to Live By, a workshop for business professionals enrolled in the Institute of Creative Studies
Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul & Lee & Rose Warner Nature Center: Marine Minnesota:
~Integrating Faith & Ecology: Exploring how nature can inform & inspire lives & communities; September1996
~New Choices, New Menu: Regional conference exploring how our food choices impact social & ecological health; March 1995
~Workshops for staff exploring energy use and conservation impacts on quality of life; Oct 1993
~Workshops for Museum Magnet School students/teachers integrating themes of energy, habitat, safety, diversity, cooperation, peace; October 1993
~Land and Skies Alive: Intergenerational workshop exploring how our practices impact land use and migratory bird populations; October 1992
~Katherine Ordway Natural History Study Area; June & July 1991
Team teaching & curricula development for field biology courses.
Committee to Preserve Rural Values, Chicago County Minnesota; May 1996
Facilitate strategic planning work session to revisit mission, goals, and objectives.
Water Resources Institute, Grand River Watershed, Michigan; November 1995-1998
Facilitate and mobilize citizens involvement to vision, create, and implement community-based watershed education that incorporates arts and sciences.
Very Special Arts Michigan State Conference: Grand Rapids Michigan
MI Federated Chapters, Council for Exceptional Children, Annual Convention; February 1996-March 1996
Professional development workshops for educators.
Grand Rapids Service Corps, Michigan AmeriCorps, Grand Rapids Michigan; November 1994- March 1996
Supporting youth to identify and interpret themselves as resources and resource managers, and conditions required to sustain lives, communities of live, and improve neighborhoods; survey and inventorying actions, influences, and elements that effect quality of life in three inner city neighborhoods, addressing strategies for issues of crime prevention, economic development, and the role of arts in building community; sponsored in part by Grand Rapids Public Education Fund.
Michigan Environmental Council, Lansing Michigan; November 1995
Beyond Regulation to Innovation: Michigan Land Stewardship Initiative State Conference.
Historic Review and Strategic planning to review objectives and asses potential to meet new challenges.
Hamline University Graduate School, St. Paul Minnesota; August 1995
A course developing individual and group capacity to inspire, create, and sustain healthy lives and learning communities; exploring principles and functions of natural systems to connect personal, social and ecological dimensions of real lives; recognizing people as member of a natural community; employing potential of all individuals to contribute as teachers and learners.
West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Grand Rapids Michigan; November 1989-August 1995
Consultations and workshops generate ecological orientation to support and enhance existing educational objectives for elementary, secondary and graduate students, teachers, administrators & community; employing potential of all individuals to contribute as teachers and learners.
Michigan Alliance for Arts Education; Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs;
Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network; Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan; July 1995
Professional artists & teachers from throughout Michigan regard natural phenomena to observe and interpret interplay among artistic disciplines at a one week Artist Educator Institute.
Ox Bow--The School of Art Institute of Chicago, Saugatuck Michigan; August 1993, July 1994, June 1995
Workshops employing the language of design and dialogue, to observe and interpret how we can create and improve quality of life as vital members of various interdependent communities and systems of life.
YIKES! (Young Idealistic Kids with Environmental Sensitivity)/WMEAC, Grand Rapids Michigan; October 1994, May 1993, November 1992, March & October 1991, June 1994
High school students from throughout Kent Intermediate School District share their perspectives on and expectations of business; identity and interpret group objectives, mission, and local social issues, from an ecological perspective.
Center for Indian Community Development, Humboldt State University, Arcata California; June 1994
Environmental Protection: Native American Lands Institute; Developing hazardous waste curriculum in collaboration with and for use by teachers from Hupa & Yurok tribes.
Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation Leadership Seminar; Michigan Leadership Foundation, MI; May 1994
America's Incentive System; interfacing high school sophomore leaders with leaders in business, industry, education and government, to inspire and encourage youth to exercise independent thinking.
Panelist: Education, Business and Ecology.
Businesses for Social Responsibility: World Business Academy, Bloomington Minnesota; April 1994
Communities Creating A Sustainable Future; Developing community-based environmental education and action programs. Aligning Individuals, Organizations & Ecosystems: inventory human resources to elicit and employ the unique capacity of individuals and groups to understand the value of our own lives and preserve the systems that link lives.
Youth Initiative, Grand Rapids Michigan; Jan, March, April 1994
Youth Action Day: Youth Action Week: Interpreting IPM (Integrated Pest Management); Area high school students create opportunities to ensure safer learning/living environments through implementation of least toxic building maintenance programs; develop action plans and tools for schools/communities to encourage behavioral, structural, and prescriptive changes. Exercises explore how students influence & are influenced by systems-families, peer groups, learning communities, institutions, and nature.
Volunteer Connection: Service-Learning Conference: Creating action strategies to impact our world through identifying personal interests and choices; inventory and interviews regarding real life experience/community issues; identifying needs and solutions.
Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver Colorado; Oct 1993
Teachers, students, docents, administrative professionals from city, country state and National Park
Service projects apply ecological principles to vitalize the interpretive experience, exhibits & programs.
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago Illinois; Sept 1993
Inter-generational workshops to explore lives that link communities, cultures & continents; color, song, winter and summer habitats/ranges of native migratory birds with slide show.
West Michigan United Methodist Church, Pentwater Michigan; Aug 1993
Board of Church & Society; Intergenerational workshops exploring lands and their lives.
Sicangu Youth Camp/Oyate Networking Project, Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota; July 1993
Youth, counselors, board members, & support staff relate ecology to physical and spiritual aspects of caring for personal, social & other natural systems; addressing social issues of substance abuse & teen pregnancy.
United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, Chicago Illinois; July 1993
Applying ecological principles to recognize, develop and support individual and community efforts;
recognizing people, organizations, communities as sustainable resources and ecological systems.
YMCA: Newaygo Michigan; June 1993
Counselors, administrators, and support staff explore nature and ecological principles to apply in personal, social and professional communities.
Ottawa County Soil Conservation District: Grand Haven Michigan; April 1993 & Oct 1991
Teachers identify and interpret daily life experiences impacting/impacted by hydrologic cycle, nonpoint source pollution. Children's Groundwater Festival, Groundwater Education in Michigan (GEM) Program.
National Youth Leadership Council: Minneapolis Minnesota; April 1993
National Service-Learning Conference-Facing the Challenge: Revitalizing Education, Renewing Community. Exploring Self, Community, and Environment- workshop & consultations for youth & educational professionals.
Association for Experiential Education;
Heartland Regional Conference: Lake Geneva Wisconsin; March1993
20th International Conference: Banff, Alberta; October 1992
Educators, trainers, and therapists explore parallels between personal, social, and ecological systems of life.
Michigan Audubon; Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, Paradise Michigan; Feb 1993
Workshops for elementary & secondary students and teachers incorporate land use, habitat requirement concepts/issues into existing curricula; connect classroom learning to WPBO research.
Holland Area Arts Council, Holland, Michigan Dec 1992
Teacher in-service: visual, language, & multi-kinesthetic learning exercises to interpret the natural world.
East Bay Conservation Corps, Oakland California; Nov 1992
Workshop for supervisors, exploring how conscious experience with the land increases awareness and
recognition of environmental impact as well as economic and spiritual aspects of community life.
National Association for Interpretation, Santa Clara CA; Nov 1992
A workshop for professional interpreters of cultural, historical and natural resources, exploring
relationships between land use, quality of life and survival of other species and cultures.
YMCA Camping Services, Grand Rapids MI; July 1992
Celebrating Individual Contributions and Community; workshops for youth ages 8-15 yrs old, youth counselors, and counselors in training; consultations applying ecological principles to existing programming.
United Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY), Oklahoma City Oklahoma; June 1992
Personal, Social & Cultural Environmental Agendas: collaborative exercises re. Community relations, ecology and strategic planning for Earth Ambassador youth leaders ages 17-25.
Michigan Alliance For Environmental and Outdoor Education: Hillsdale MI; May 1992
Our Water, Ourselves--A workshop for adult leaders and educators, exploring paths and properties of a vital resource--its influence on our lives, and the impact of our practices upon water quality.
Tri-County Residents for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Fremont MI;
~Our Watershed and the World's One Supply--Raising awareness and mobilizing 7th grade students to take actions for improving health within their watershed.; April 1992
~People of the World Extending Resources--Developing individual and group capacity to increase organizational effectiveness; inventory and assess value, care and management of human resources; May 1990
University of Michigan Biological Station, Pellston MI; Dec 1991
Staff dev't for Science and Environmental Education (SEE) North: Leadership, Education & Development Progress. Platte River ecosystem focus on migratory bird species for students, teachers and parents.
National Association for Interpretation National Conference, Vail CO; Oct 1991
Professional interpreters of cultural, historical and natural resources explore the nature & value of water.
Water Resource Institute, Allendale MI; Sept 1991
Visual, verbal and physical exercises re. water quality for teachers and students.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontonagon MI; Aug. 1991
Experiential lecture and interactive strategies for park visitors.
Steelcase, Grand Rapids MI; July 1985-1991
Environmental awareness workshops for employee families.
Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination, Michigan; May 1991
Language arts workshops for Eco-Conference Youth Program.
Very Special Arts Michigan State Conference: Grand Rapids Michigan; May 1991
Workshops for administrators, teachers and physically & mentally impaired children.
Youth Environmental Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan; May 1991, 1992
“Interconnections” experiential exercises for West Michigan high school students.
Grand Rapids Inter-Tribal Council: Grand Rapids Michigan; April-May 1991
Identifying and celebrating elements relevant to personal, cultural and ecological well-being.
Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids Michigan; April 1991
Inter-generational workshop “Celebrating the Earth's Heartbeat”
Kent Intermediate School District, Grand Rapids Michigan; April 1990-1991
Spring Teachers' Conference on Environmental Education.
American Indian Science and Engineering Society, University of Michigan Office of Minority
Student Services, Native American Student Association, Ann Arbor Michigan; March 1991
“Celebrating the Earth's Heartbeat”, inter-generational workshop; 19th annual Ann Arbor Pow Wow.
Williams and Works Engineering and Science, Grand Rapids Michigan; March 1991
Staff collaborate to interpret properties of water and the concept/issue of non-point source pollution.
Council of Performing Arts for Children, Grand Rapids Michigan; Jan 1991
Teacher' workshop “Celebrating Diversity”; Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration.
Aquinas College Emeritus Institute, Grand Rapids Michigan; Nov 1990
Interpreting and addressing transportation issues for “State of the World” seminar.
Union of Concerned Scientists; Educators for Social Responsibility; Institute for Global Education; Oct1990 “Global Warming: West Michigan Responds”, part of nationwide effort to reduce CO2 emissions.
Michigan Geographic Alliance; National Geographic Society; Center for Environmental Study
Teacher seminar; Curriculum development for cross-cultural classroom partnerships; August & November 1990
Hope College Kellogg Science Project, Holland Michigan; April 1990
Teacher in-service workshops for “Partners in Science”
Artists in Action, Grand Rapids Michigan; April 1990
Workshops celebrating Earth Day with artists and general public.
Alternative Methods for International Stability & Frey Foundation, Grand Rapids Michigan; April 1990
Platform for the Planet: “Global Life through Global Action”.
Wildflower Association of Michigan: Lansing Michigan; March 1990
Botanical Influence: Cultural Perspectives; MI State University Agricultural & Natural Resources Week.
Vision Enrichment Services: Grand Rapids Michigan; Jan 1990
Workshops on water quality, habitat/land use with visually impaired community awareness group.
YMCA Counseling Center, Grand Rapids Michigan; October & December, 1989
Consultation & workshop for counselors and therapists of sexually abused children and adults.
New York Bilangual Public School 83, East Harlem New York; Dec 1989
Workshop for first grade students and teachers.
Diller-Quaille School of Music, New York, New York; Dec 1989
Workshops in musical color expression/response for preschool children and parents.
Ocean Classroom Project, Bridgeport Connecticut; Nov, Dec 1989
Field work/curriculum development for ecological/cultural enrichment; K-12 public inner city, private,
and rural school students and teachers.
Total Life Counseling Center, Grand Rapids Michigan; Nov 1989
Workshop for families facing life-threatening illness, ages 3-73
Noorthoek Academy, Grand Rapids Michigan; Nov 1989
Workshop for educable mentally impaired college students.
Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids Michigan; Oct 1989
Workshop on meiosis for undergraduate zoology students.
West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland Michigan; Aug 1989
Classes for gifted and talented students ages 6-8.
Child and Family Services of West Michigan, Holland Michigan; March, April 1989
Consecutive workshops for parents and child abuse victims.
Families of Nantucket Massachusetts; Sept 1987-June 1988
Private classes for children, ages 4-10, and training for 4-H counselors.
Grand Rapids Public Schools
East Grand Rapids Public Schools
The Creative Learning Center: Spectrum School for Gifted & Talented Children
Stepping Stones Montessori
Canterbury Creek Farm School; May 1985- Aug 1988:
Art, Nature & Environmental Design classes for children ages 4-12 in the Greater Grand Rapids Area.
Amelia Earhart Intermediate School, Okinawa Japan; May 1987
Environmental Design workshops for 4th-6th grade teachers and gifted and talented students.
Cane Garden Bay Primary School, Tortola British Virgin Islands; Feb 1986
Art, Nature & Environmental design workshops for 3rd-6th grade students and teachers.
Nantucket Island School of Design & the Arts, Nantucket Massachusetts;
July 1984-April 1987, Sept-Dec 1980
Curriculum development and instruction for children's Designs for Environmental Awareness
enrichment programs; adult environmental design seminars.
Positions of Service and Affiliations:
West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum, Grand Rapids Michigan, 2000-present
Green America, 1999-present
Local First, Grand Rapids Michigan, founding member to present
West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Grand Rapids Michigan, 1972 to present,
Various committees including Pesticides/Integrated Pest Management in Grand Rapids Public Schools; Land Use; Sustainable Visions Regional Development Project Metropolitan Development Blueprint
Partners in Flight—Aves de las Americas, Neo-tropical Migratory Bird Information and Education Task Force
Green Institute Board & Advisory Council member, Minneapolis Minnesota
ReUse Center Board & Advisory Council, Minneapolis Minnesota
Land Stewardship Project, Minnesota
National Growth Management Leadership Project Affiliate
1000 Friends of Minnesota
National Association for Interpretation
Grand Valley Metropolitan Development Blueprint Process, Land Use Task Force, Grand Rapids Michigan
Association for Experiential Education, Heartland Advisory Council
Michigan Environmental Education Citizen’s Advisory Committee
Garfield Elementary School, Olympia Washington
Parent Resource Center, Olympia Washington
Nantucket Shellfish Advisory Council, Nantucket Massachusetts
Evergreen State College, Olympia Washington; Bachelor of Arts, 1984
Rudolph Schaeffer School of Design, San Francisco California
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence RI & Nantucket Massachusetts
Boston University, Boston Massachusetts
Goddard College, Goddard Vermont
Grand Valley State University, Allendale Michigan
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan
Aquinas College, Grand Rapids Michigan