“Her keynote was just the dose of inspiration we needed.”
— Chief of Interpretation, Arkansas State Parks and Tourism

Sense of place Keynotes

Erica Wheeler is a speaker, educator and award-winning songwriter whose keynotes include a unique blend of story, song and conversation. Her work builds bridges and fosters a sense of community.

More than a PowerPoint presentation or talk, Erica offers a multi-media celebration of place, and our connection to places.

Her keynotes take listeners on an unforgettable journey across the American landscape and the lives lived there, evoking personal stories and memories. She helps illuminates why having a sense of place matters in our lives, and our communities. Attendees leave with a personal and collective sense of place and belonging that is deeply needed in the world today.

Add a breakout session and take home lessons of the keynote. Gain valuable practices and actionable tools you can use right away in your life and work. More info below.

Choose a keynote:

1. Sense of Place, Story and Soulful tourism

Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism

Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism

This program explores powerful ways to connect people and place, no matter where they are, or where they are from.

Erica takes people on a journey through story, song and conversation. This evokes stories in listeners and sparks ideas about what is unique about their places. She shares examples of how evoking personal stories has inspired caring in all kinds of settings, and offers tools to help listeners apply these ideas wherever they are.

Attendees leave recharged, uplifted and with fresh ideas to bring home their lives and their community.

2.Sense of Place, Story and Stewardship*

USFS Wilderness 50th Event, VT

USFS Wilderness 50th Event, VT

This program helps to illuminate the diverse ways people connect to place and understand why connections are key in taking care of places for today and the future.

Using story, song and conversation, Erica takes listeners on a journey across the American landscape and the lives lived there. She shares her own stewardship journey and offers examples from her in-the-field experience working groups across the country helping people find and share their own stories connections to place.

This program will evoke your personal stories, recharge your passion for the work you do and give you fresh ideas to take back to your life and your community.

  • Stewardship is about seeing the larger picture and finding good ways to take care of what we care about.

3.Sense of Place interludes

Often conferences are full of so many engaging ideas that it's hard to take it all in. Erica's  skill at weaving themes and ideas together will help attendees transition from one session to the next, offering needed time for reflection, integration and discovery.

“Great way to energize the whole community.”
— Attendee, Interpwoods, Acadia National Park

Add a Breakout Session


Breakout sessions are an excellent way to bring home the lessons and inspirations shared in a Keynote.

Sessions range from 1 hour to a full day.

1. Sense of Place & StorY

Discover your own "touchstone" story and experience a powerful approach for evoking sense of place stories in others. Feel a sense of community through sharing stories about the power of place. Gain a creative toolkit to keep yourself inspired and inspire others. 

2. Sense of Place & Community Engagement

Explore ways to inspire meaningful connections between people and place today. Hear examples of Erica's work across the country working with all ages and a variety of settings.  Gain ideas to increase caring and connection to places. 

3. Sense of Place & Stewardship

Explore a seven-step path for  creating sense of place stories, delivering great programs and helping to connect diverse audiences to your place. Learn tools, practice techniques and generate fresh ideas you can apply to your site right away.


4. Sense of Place  In-the-Field

More than a guided walk, this reflective journey will give you skills to become a "sense of place sleuth" helping you to connect personally to the nature and history of a place, no matter where you are. Come away with a sense of place and belonging that is deeply needed in the world today.

Prior Keynotes & Breakout Sessions INclude:

  • American Horticultural Society Youth and Garden Symposium

  • Idaho State Parks and Recreation Conference

  • Maryland Land Trust Alliance

  • National Association for Interpretation

  • National Association of State Park Directors

  • National Religious Partnership for the Environment

  • Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism

  • Wilderness 50th Celebration