About VGI


Viridis Graduate Institute is an accredited nonprofit distance education provider.


Our Mission

Viridis Graduate Institute, a nonprofit distance-learning institution, offers a distinctive education in ecopsychology and environmental humanities designed to equip graduates with the professional and collaborative skills needed to respond creatively to the world's challenging problems.


Our History

Viridis Graduate Institute, a distinctly different distance education institute, offers degrees in Ecological Psychology and Environmental Humanities. Viridis was founded in 2011 by Dr. Lori Pye and a dedicated group of educators, who brought together the sciences and humanities in a creative, innovative, and timely curricula. Viridis educational programs, designed to offer an ecological and psychological education, focus on changing narratives underpinning destructive behavior and practices toward all life forms and the planet.

Nondiscrimination Statement

Viridis Graduate Institute admits students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other school-administered programs.


Viridis, Latin for "green, to sprout" or the notion of "green life," associated with flourishing plants and vegetation, promises to be one of the most important and visionary movements in this day of profound change. If you are a conscious, awake and participatory citizen today, you must be engaged in the preservation of our planet and its beautiful natural world. Viridis Graduate Institute stands out as an educational organization that appreciates both the ecological and the psychological dimensions involved in this effort. – Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul  

Download Our Brochure


Board of Trustees

Andrew Beath
Andrew Beath is the founder of EarthWays Foundation in Malibu, California. EarthWays was founded to encourage personal awareness and social responsibility from a global perspective.  Andrew's work is to initiate small-scale projects that are cutting-edge models for environmental preservation, human potential, and sustainable development. He is the author of the book Consciousness in Action. Website: www.earthways.org. Andrew is a Founding Board member.

Pam Bjork, Ph.D.
Mythologist, business entrepreneur, and artist. Dr. Bjork serves on numerous boards and is a specialist on the mythological, cultural and anthropological meaning in Balinese textiles. Dr. Bjork is a Founding Board member.

John Ehrenfeld, Ph.D.
Dr. Ehrenfeld is the former Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment, an interdisciplinary educational, research, and policy program. On retiring from MIT in 2000, Dr. Ehrenfeld served as Executive Director of the International Society for Industrial Ecology until 2009. He is the author or co-author of over 200 papers and other publications. He holds a post as Senior Research Scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is the author of Sustainability by Design and an editor of the Journal of Industrial Ecology. Website: www.johnehrenfeld.com. Dr. Ehrenfeld is a Founding Board member.

Lori Pye, Ph.D.
Dr. Pye is the Founder and President of Viridis Graduate Institute.

Dr. Pye is a leading voice in developing the field of ecological psychology (ecopsychology) as an educative approach to the interconnected challenges of our times. As executive director for international marine organizations, Dr. Pye worked with numerous NGOs to co-develop the Eastern Tropical Pacific Biological Seascape Corridor with the Ministers of the Environment from Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador. As an educator, Dr. Pye teaches internationally and leading international conferences on diverse cultural issues such as Nature and Human Nature, The Mythology of Violence, and The Aesthetic Nature of Change.

Dr. Pye has multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals and continues to contribute to the growing field of ecopsychology. She is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), European Ecopsychology Society (EES), International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) and serves on the Editorial Board for Ecopsychology Journal. Dr. Pye serves on Harrison Middleton University's Humanities Advisory Council and is a board member for From the Heart Film Productions. She formerly taught ecopsychology at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital Psychiatric Residency Program. Dr. Pye serves as faculty at Viridis Graduate Institute and the University of Santa Barbara (UCSB). Dr. Pye serves as faculty at Viridis Graduate Institute and the University of Santa Barbara (UCSB). Dr. Pye serves as faculty at Viridis Graduate Institute and the University of Santa Barbara (UCSB). Forthcoming textbook: Fundamentals of Ecological Psychology, Routledge in 2023.

Ann Vermeer, M.A., D.A. 
Vice President of Viridis Graduate Institute. Dr. Vermeer is a former telecommunications executive and is a dedicated ecopsychologist specializing in facilitating change with individuals and organizations committed to examining and transforming habitual patterns and narratives. She received her M.A in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology and completed her D.A. in Ecopsychology at Viridis Graduate Institute. She is the owner of Chiron Therapeutic Yoga and is a certified iRest® Yoga Nidra instructor. Dr. Vermeer is a former board member and past president of the Boulder Friends of Jung and is a Founding Board member and Trustee of Viridis Graduate Institute. As Vice President, she supports the President and Board of Trustees in promoting the institute's mission, educational programs, institutional effectiveness, alumni relations, and expanding the visibility and reputation of the institute through partnerships and collaborations both nationally and internationally.

Elyn Zimmerman, M.F.A.
Zimmerman received her Master's degree in Art at UCLA. She taught art from 1972 to 1986 as Assistant Professor at California State University, San Francisco; California Institute of the Arts; and the State University of NY at Purchase, NY. Zimmerman has numerous commissioned pieces and has received a number of awards and grants for her artwork that includes: 2007 Excellence in Design for Capsouto Park, Art Commission of the City of New York 2010, Resident American Academy in Rome (RAAR '10) Roy Lichtenstein Residency, 2010 Great Places in America Award (Public Spaces). She has served on numerous boards including Board of Directors, Columbia Land Conservancy, Columbia County, NY., Commissioner, Commission of Fine Arts, Washington, DC., Board of Directors, Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company. Website: www.elynzimmerman.com. Elyn is a Founding Board member. Elyn Zimmerman is a 2016 recipient of the third annual Isamu Noguchi Award, given to recognize individuals who share Noguchi's spirit of innovation, global consciousness, and East-West exchange.


Honorary Board

Patricia Berry, Ph.D.
Co-founder of the field Archetypal Psychology. Dr. Berry is a Zurich-trained Jungian Analyst and author of Echo's Subtle Body: A Contribution to Archetypal Psychology. She lectures internationally and has served as president of the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and of the New England Society of Jungian Analysts. Currently, she has a private practice in California. Dr. Berry is a Founding Board member.

Joan Stroud Blaine
Co-Founder, Stroud Water Research Center. Joan is a Founding Honorary Board member.

Mary Leibman
Depth Psychotherapist

J. Marc McGinnes, J.D.
Emeritus Senior Lecturer, Environmental Studies, University of California Santa Barbara

Thomas Moore, Ph.D.
Thomas Moore is an American writer of popular spiritual books including the New York Times best-seller, Care of the Soul (1992). He is a psychotherapist influenced by the writings of Carl Jung and James Hillman and lectures internationally.  His books include The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life,  The Education of the Heart, Dark Night of the Soul, The Soul of Sex, A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You were Born to Do, Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels. His latest books include, Care of the Soul in Medicine, and a collection of short stories about golf, The Guru of Golf was published 2010. Website: www.careofthesoul.net. Dr. Moore is a Founding Board member.

Pamela Burton, M.Arch., Leed Green Associate, Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects

Richard Hertz, Ph.D., Former Director Art Center's graduate programs

Charlene Spretnak, Author


Advisory Council

Carole Dean, President, From the Heart Productions

Abdoulaye Diaw 

Jacqueline M. Feather, MFT., Ph.D., Jungian Analyst

Rebecca Fischer, M.A., Vice President Dean of Continuing Education, Harrison Middleton University


Download our VGI Brochure