Our Personal Nature Connection
I have a decade of leadership and communications training, and my clients tell me I’m a natural coach. Around me, people are inspired to do what they can to protect and preserve nature.
At an age where I was barely coordinated enough to connect with a baseball on a T-ball stand, I was already climbing trees. My backyard in our southeastern Massachusetts home was rich with giant pines that would sway from side-to-side in the wind, and maples that would turn golden in autumn. I built forts in the rhododendrons and marveled at the blooming dogwoods in spring.
Etched in my memory, like a snapshot frozen in time, are the mountains and remote ponds of the New Hampshire lakes region, often echoing with the eerily beautiful call of the loon. I also remember the steady cadence of crashing surf on the idyllic, pristine beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore… with what seemed like an endless ocean stretching to the horizon.
My work today honors this deep connection to nature that I believe we all have, whether we’re conscious of it or not. I bring the same sense of wonder, awe, and excitement to my conversations with people who are invested in the social health of their organizations and their CSR practices. I can promise you an invigorating conversation about the difference you and your organization can make as we ride the rising tide of sustainability practices in 2021.
Though you might say I’ve always felt it, I’ve grown to be fond of the deep peace waiting for me when I spend time in nature. It’s automatic. It’s my go-to solution for clearing my mind, and an instant reminder that I’m connected to and part of something much greater than myself.
If you’re interested in the science behind what nature does for your physical well-being, look up “Shinrin Yoku,” which is best translated as “forest bathing.”
What I must underscore here is the lens through which I see nature is certainly not unique to me. This is something that all human beings can feel. It is hard-wired into our DNA, and something that many of us have simply forgotten. Fortunately, the remembering of that connection is quite simple. And if we are going to reach the tipping point of where our actions are allowing earth to recover and rebalance, we must encourage one another to return to nature as a guide for how to move forward.
Why does this matter? (Link to Blog piece – What is the Nature Effect & Why does it matter)
Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador
My last lengthy pre-Covid 19 travel spanned the first eight months of 2019 and brought me to the heart of the Amazon Rainforest in Peru, to meet some life-long friends and soccer fanatics in Colombia, and to the volcanoes, thundering waterfalls, and cloud forests of Ecuador.
That same 3 or 4 year-old’s sense of wonder and fascination with nature led me to visit what’s described as the most biodiverse place on the planet – Yasuni National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. This pristine, virgin rainforest is protected from logging and extraction, allowing nature to flourish. Yasuní is home not just to jaguars, sloths, grand cayman, toucans and approximately 600 other bird species, it’s also home to two un-contacted indigenous tribes of humans, the Tagaeri and Taromenane, who live within its confines.
It took almost an entire day via water taxi on the Napo River to reach Yasuní, as we would stop at tiny villages along the river where it seemed like everyone would come to see the boat arriving, little kids staring curiously, others waving as we arrived and departed.
My guide Fernando Sifuentes grew up exploring this rainforest, and so was able to teach me the healing properties of plant after plant after plant, and how each fit seamlessly into the great system that nature knows. I continued my tree-staring ways all these years later, as I craned my neck to try to grasp the scale of the Milionario tree, (pictured above) so named because no one knows how old it actually is. As I stood at the base of this giant, I reaffirmed my mission to protecting these wild spaces, and to doing whatever is humanly possible to ensure we give nature a chance to thrive, not just in the heart of the rainforest, but all over our world.