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Say hello!

Hi eePROers!

To our new and returning members, welcome to the Connecting to Nature Group! We'd love to get to know you better. 

If you'd like to, and have some time, please introduce yourselves in this thread. Share as much or as little as you'd like. Let's connect!

A few suggestions:

  • Share what excites you about the field you're working in.
  • What are you hoping to learn in the Connecting to Nature Group?
  • What do you know a lot about?
  • If you only had 5 minutes to teach something, what would you teach?
  • What's one fun fact about you?

From your Connecting to Nature Group moderators, Joe and Jimena :D

A loop of a colorful forest full of animated creatures. Credit: Studio AKA via Giphy
A loop of a colorful forest full of animated creatures. Credit: Studio AKA via Giphy

Hello, Kristin Reiber Harris here (from Brooklyn). I am an artist/animator/educator creating animated media to engage families with the natural world and presenting workshops to help students tell stories about their time in nature. I am currently in production of an animated short, Oak Leaf: A Life Story. I wanted to share with the NAAEE community my production blog. https://anim8nature.blogspot.com . I am weaving together the life changes of an oak leaf and James Lovelock's Gaia Theory. I am very interested in connecting with artists/scientists/educators about my film and the story I am telling. Your thoughts as environmental educators will be very valuable to me. The Anima8Nature series is available here https://vimeo.com/showcase/7124746 Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Hi There!

I'm Heather Taylor. I've been teaching 100% outdoors since 2007. I recognized that there weren't a lot of resources out there for those interested in outdoor education, so started a resource site, www.teachoutside.org. There are certainly more resources, including this one, than when I first started out!

I have my own school, Outside School (https://www.teachoutside.org/outside-school), which is the urban wildlands of the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area).

I was asked to write a blog for this site, so wasn't familiar with it until recently. I'm not necessarily here to get something out of it, and don't have any expectations of what may come. Let's see!

Fun facts: I also help my husband run his business, which partly means that I'm also a film producer. I love road racing, so am also an EMT/firefighter at Sonoma Raceway; it's my "fun" (but also sometimes very scary) job.

Hi Kristin! Your illustrations are so beautiful and fun! Your joy for birds and nature really comes across in your film short, City Birds. Thank you for sharing the Anim8Nature series on eePRO! I can't wait to watch Oak Leaf: A Life Story, and I'm excitedly following your design process on your blog :D.

Have you thought about presenting at the Natural Start Nature-Based Early Learning Conference about your work engaging students and sparking curiosity? I've shared a link below.

Welcome, Heather! I have so many wonderful memories of hiking the Strawberry Canyon Fire Trail and the Tilden Wildcat Gorge. It makes me so happy to learn that there is an outdoor school in the east bay.

I really enjoyed reading your blog post, "The Case of the Missing Transcripts!" I especially appreciated the practical advice, and your call to "not allow fear to stop a journey in its tracks." I wholeheartedly agree. I wonder whether you've also thought about sharing your research and ideas at the Natural Start Conference? I think many environmental education professionals would benefit from hearing about your practices related to educator trainings.

Oooh, please share what films you've helped produce! That sounds fun :D!

Thanks for taking a look and the suggestion about the conference. I am glad there is a virtual component, probably the most likely way I would be able to participate. I will consider. Thank you for all of the wonderful work NAAEE does, I assume you are staff?

Hi, I'm Bonnie. I'm very excited to be part of the group and am really excited to connect people to the natural world. I'm in New York City, and getting folks to be comfortable in any natural area can be challenging, and very rewarding! We have some great parks and natural areas all across the city. I encourage folks to explore on their own or find an organization to explore with them.

I love insects and anything to do with arthropods in general. I think they are so fascinating and enjoy spending my time in nature looking for them.

Thanks,

Jimena, that's so cool that you know these places! I wasn't thinking about submitting for the conference at this time just because of some family stresses and things just being extra exhausting during COVID-times. However, I see your point and will decide in January for sure.

Bonnie, bow ties are cool!!! I love arthropods, too. I used to raise three species of cockroaches when I used to prep Bio 1A labs at UC Berkeley.

Our movies are generally Halloween and horror-themed, with San Francisco documentaries being another thing we do. The favorite film I helped produce was San Francisco Cable Cars (sfcablecars.com). The Grips and Conductors who've seen the film say that we really captured the essence of cable cars; I think that's pretty high praise!

Nice to meet you all here!

Hi there!
My name is Luke Grange and I'm an Education Specialist at the Belle Isle Nature Center on Belle Isle in the Detroit River, just minutes from downtown Detroit.
I love taking kids outside who have never been in a forest before, even though it may be nearly in their backyard-- seeing the excitement, awe, wonder, and general amazement (which sometimes can look like wild, not-paying-attention behavior-- but the students are just paying attention to the most important thing-- the natural world!).
If I had 5 minutes to do one thing I think I would take students to a natural space and give them time to just sit with themselves and notice the world around them.
Or maybe put maple samaras on our noses and pretend to be rhinoserouses. Gotta read the group.
It's great to be part of a community like this, thank you!

Hi everyone! I'm Jimena, one of the co-moderators for the Connecting to Nature Group. I'm also a part of the NAAEE communications team. As one of the moderators, I'm excited to facilitate discussions and connections. I'm especially looking forward to sharing in the co-creation of this space with you all, and learning and improving. Please reach out anytime if you have an idea you'd like to bring to the group. Always happy to chat!

A few random facts about me:

  • Currently based in Alaska
  • Started my career as a duck wrangler (aka nest monitoring) and shorebird chaser (aka migratory bird surveys)
  • I'm an avid coffee & tea drinker, fluffy-animal petter, and speculative fiction reader

I'm thrilled to meet you all! :D

Bonnie, I would love to connect with you to explore ways we might be able to work together to get families in NYC outdoors enjoying the parks. I have published two coloring books specifically celebrating two NYC parks: Washington Market Park in Manhattan and Narrows Botanical Gardens in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. They are available on Amazon.

Hi Bonnie! I love your profile pic. I agree with Heather—bow ties are stylish and cool :D

Yes! I appreciate you bringing up urban environmental education. There's so much great research and initiatives in that field. It'd be great to dive into it as a group for those who are interested. Bonnie, I'll reach out to you in the quick poll thread.

Welcome to the group!

Heather, I hear you! It's so important to make sure our energy matches our work and expectations. Definitely, prioritize rest and self-care! :)

Today I learned a Grip is another word for a cable car operator! I was able to watch the trailer for the San Francisco Cable Cars and I enjoyed the sense of place, from the bustling streets to the conductors' joy for what they do. Thank you for sharing that!

Tough choice between sit in nature or pretend to be a rhinoceros :D So nice to meet you, Luke! I just took a look at the Belle Isle Nature Center website, and there are some outstanding programs on there, like the Nature Art Hikes and Neighborhood Nature Adventures! I'd love to know more about the design and program outcomes. If you're interested, please consider contributing a blog post about your experience as an Education Specialist. It sounds awesome!

What excites me about working in the field of stewardship is sharing my love of nature with others and building up someone's exiting love for nature through positive stewardship experiences in nature.
What I'm hoping to learn from the Connecting to Nature Group is new and novel ways to connect people to the natural world.
I have a fair amount of knowledge on native plants, specifically native plants to the Northeast of the United States.
If I only had 5 minutes to teach something, I would teach a lesson about native plants with the most wildlife value that can be planted in an urban setting.
A fun fact about me is that I was born in Alaska and spent a great amount of my childhood in the Adirondack park in upstate NY.

Hi Zachary! I love the Adirondacks in autumn (the only time I visited, but I bet they're gorgeous any time of the year :D)! So beautiful!! I think the best apple cider I ever had was near the Adirondacks. Also, what a fantastic 5-minute lesson idea! Do you have any tips on how to start or where to begin researching?

I definitely miss the Adirondack Park!! Regarding the 5 minute lesson on native urban plants I would focus my research on plants that do well in my own urban garden and review the research on plants that do well in most urban settings. I would also focus on plants that serve the most pollinators and have a naturally shorter growth habit like gray goldenrod. I would refer to books like "Bringing Nature Home," by Doug Tallamy and "Planting in a Post Wild World," by Claudia West and Thomas Rainer.

Hello! My name is Allison Martin. I recently started my own EE consulting business (https://www.blueblossomconsulting.com/) after more than 12 years working as an environmental educator and program manager. The reason for my pivot is that I want to help EE providers and K-12 schools provide meaningful opportunities for students to apply STEM in the outdoors. Nature is the best classroom, after all!

If I only had 5 minutes to teach something, I think it would be making observations through the practice of "I notice, I wonder, It reminds me of" statements. To me, this process works for any type of learner and has multiple applications, such as slowing down and really connecting with nature, thinking like a scientist, and investigating phenomena.

I hope to learn more from each of you!

Hello! My name is Carlee and I love being outdoors! I began a company called Peaceful Roots in 2019 focusing on the connection of nature and our mental health. This "side business" of mine is my true passion and over the past few years has done a variety of things in our local community. I am currently running a Balanced Beings series in May focused on the past, present & future of place and self. This particular program is women-led and is a space for participants to explore themselves, find connection with the land we are on, and make lifelong friendships. I am currently in my master's program for environmental education and am working for Mass Audubon as a Teacher Naturalist. I am also a health & wellness coach and am looking to weave all of my passions together into a nice little package:) If I had 5 minutes to teach something I would teach how to connect to our place through sensory exploration. By allowing time and space to simply be, breathing deep, listening to what is around us, feeling the air move our bodies, smelling the earth, tasting our food and observing our surroundings will ground us in moments. Focusing on this grounding process provides many things for our bodies and our minds. This can be done with all ages, in all settings. Fun fact about me: I love reading Young Adult fiction books and plan to write one some day:)