Archived Posts: 2016

Fall 2016: Autumn Begins


Today is the Autumn Equinox, so it's officially fall!!! Anyone else feeling pumpkin-spice, sweater-weather crazed? I know I sure am. I'm looking forward to celebrating the coming season in song and story this month, from Cape Cod to the Berkshires.

Fall Sense of Place Tip

Have you ever played with the Yankee magazine interactive foliage map? Very fun. Try it here. and then make a plan to go see the colors when they peak!


May 2016: Nature in the City


Recently I had the honor of working with the talented rangers who offer programs for visitors at our national memorials and monuments. So many people are not aware that all these special sites in DC are a National Park. (I confess: me included. And I grew up here.) Here's a link to their public programs.

Nature in the City
Next week I'll be performing on the main stage as part of the National Geographic and National Parks Biodiversity Festival More info here.  As part of my performance, I'll be speaking about my teenage years in the DC area. I'll share how participating in my local Youth Audubon Society Group really saved me--- it was such a positive thing to do. That program gave me a peer group to hang out with who were passionate, curious, fun, intelligent people be around. It also helped me see that right within this urban/suburban environment there was so much "wild" nature to find. I even went on to attend college as an aspiring wildlife field biologist.

That path became clear to me when we were on one of our field trips. It was at a bird refuge at on the Maryland shore where I discovered a plaque on an observation tower that read:

"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free." Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

I had found my tribe. My direction. My lodestar. Right then and there. And it has woven throughout everything I've done so far.

When touring the park with the rangers on the National Mall this past February and April, I was so often struck how nature wove itself all through my experiences of the monuments and memorials. There was the sun blazing on the names of the Vietnam Memorial, the ducks and geese landing on the reflecting pool, the clouds drifting, giving me a moment to pause, breath and slow down. It was calming to observe, and helped me process everything I was learning. Nature in the city. It's everywhere when we stop and notice.

““I liked where we were outside and using our senses to experience the area. It helped me slow down and find peace where I am. I think it’s a great exercise to find inspiration in our everyday surroundings” “I am looking forward to using this with my visitors.” Training Participant, National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, DC

May Sense of Place Tip

Take a moment, no matter where you are to notice the nature that surrounds you. The clouds, the trees and birds, and you, are all part of nature.


April/2016 Spring Blossoms


Blossoms will be arriving any day now in Massachusetts... I know because I've seen your pictures on Facebook, my southern friends!

Some of my favorite flowers are the wild spring ephemerals. They are the first flowers to arrive in the woods. They burst through when things are just right, soaking up sunlight before  tree leaves shade the forest floor. They always seem so sweet and private to me. I feel like I almost have to whisper in their presence. I am drawn to politely lift up their shy bloom, acknowledge their beauty and move on.

April Sense of Place Tip

Get to know what ephemeral wildflowers are coming up in your area. Head out on a warm day before the trees have leaf out and see what you find. You'll feel a real intimacy with a place once you uncover the mysteries of what blooms when and where.