About VGI

About VGI

Our Mission

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

About VGI

Virdis Graduate Institute (VGI) is a non-profit distance learning institute accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Viridis is licensed by Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education (AZPPSE)

Viridis Graduate Institute was founded in 2011 by Dr. Lori Pye and a dedicated group of educators, artists, psychologists, and environmentalists. Dr. Pye, a known figure in ecopsychology, pioneered Ecological Psychology at Viridis Graduate Institute. Her work intersects ecological and psychological dimensions, focusing on the reconfiguration of narratives that underpin destructive behavior and practices.

At Viridis, we take an educative rather than clinical approach to interrelated problems facing communities today that stem from human narratives and their practices.

The name “Viridis” derives from the Latin term for “green,” “blooming,” and “vigorous,” the notion of “green life,” symbolizing the flourishing and growth of plants and vegetation.

Board of Trustees

Andrew Beath

Founder of EarthWays Foundation

Pam Bjork, Ph.D. 

Cultural Mythologist and Artist

John Ehrenfeld, Ph.D.

Dr. Ehrenfeld is the former Director of the MIT Program on Technology, Business, and Environment, and a Senior Research Scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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

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

Dr. Pye is a leading voice in developing the field of ecological psychology (ecopsychology) as pioneered at Viridis Graduate Institute. As an environmental activist and executive director for international marine nonprofits, 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. Dr. Pye has multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals and serves on the Editorial Board for Ecopsychology Journal. She is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), European Ecopsychology Society (EES), and International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE.) Dr. Pye lectures at Viridis Graduate Institute, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), and formerly at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital Psychiatric Residency Program. Forthcoming textbook: Fundamentals of Ecological Psychology, Routledge.

Ann Vermeer, D.A., Secretary 

Dr. Vermeer is a former telecommunications executive and a dedicated ecopsychologist specializing in facilitating change with individuals and organizations committed to examining and transforming habitual patterns and narratives. 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 Trustee of Viridis Graduate Institute.

Elyn Zimmerman, M.F.A.   

Elyn has numerous commissioned art pieces around the world and has received a number of awards and grants for her artwork. Elyn is the 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.

Advisory Council

Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., Ethologist and Author.

Carole Dean, President, From the Heart Productions

Abdoulaye Diaw, Business Executive, UK.

Rebecca Fisher, D.A., Vice President, Dean of Continuing Education, Harrison Middleton University

Marcus Ford, Ph.D., Co-founder Flagstaff College

Gethzemani Hammond, D.A.

Honorary Board

Patricia Berry, Ph.D.

Joan Stroud Blaine

Pamela Burton, M.Arch.

Richard Hertz, Ph.D.

Mary Leibman

Marc McGinnes, J.D.

Thomas Moore, Ph.D.

Sign up for our EARTHING newsletter