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An estuary is where freshwater meets saltwater and the land meets the sea—an in-between place teeming with life, biodiversity, and constant change.

About Us

The Estuary Institute offers interdisciplinary community-based programming and education in the humanities, sciences, and fine arts for lifelong learners. Our programming includes synchronous courses and interactive workshops. We are academics, writers, artists, community leaders, scientists, practitioners, and lifelong learners coming together to better understand and respond to the pressing issues facing our planet. We are endlessly curious about what it means to be a part of the living world at this moment in time and how we can live better in our communities and places.

Our Approach

The Estuary Institute seeks to foster an ecological approach to lifelong learning. To us, thinking ecologically means paying attention to the relationships and interconnectedness of places, systems, and beings.


We also believe that how we learn is just as important as what we learn. We're inspired by models of education that take learning beyond traditional ivory towers and into everyday life. The kind of learning that breaks past disciplinary silos and brings people from different walks of life grappling with big questions into conversation and community with each other. A physicist and a poet interrogating the knowable and unknowable, an urban planner workshopping designs with an ecologist, a botanist and a visual artist foraging for natural dyes together. Wonder, awe, curiosity, collaboration, and interdisciplinarity are at the heart of our approach to learning.

Our Programming

Our programming explores the myriad relationships and environments within which we are intertwined—whether through the humanities, fine arts, or science and technology. Each of our offerings aims to touch upon one or more of the following big questions:

  • How do we live well in our places?

  • How do we as a species live better with each other and with other species?

  • How do we expand, challenge, shift, and diversify our perspectives about the world, our relationships, and our place in it?

Estuary instructors are experienced facilitators who lead their programming from a place of curiosity and thoughtful engagement with their disciplines and their students. Our mission is for both students and instructors to have meaningful and transformative learning experiences that ignite the imagination, inspire creativity, and cultivate a strong sense of community.

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More of the same kind of education will only compound our problems. It is not education that will save us, but education of a certain kind. 

David Orr

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