Proust Nature Questionnaire – Megan Harrison

MEGAN HARRISON is an artist who works in a variety of media and exhibits her work nationally. Most recently she was included in the exhibition Geomagic at NMSU, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her artwork depends on images and insights from geology, architecture, astronomy and Nature. She explores the complexity of the world around her wherever she is. Watch the video, the Complexity of Scale, made by Walley Films.

3 words to describe Nature?

Compounding complexity

Transformative

Penetrating

3 things Nature taught you?

You don’t have to be lucky enough to travel to exotic places to interact with Nature. Nature is a constant and creative force that pushes itself into every aspect of our world, from the remote and distant wilderness to cracks in the sidewalk.

No matter how big, the drama and story of our individual life pales in comparison to the scale, history and complexity of the world that we belong to.

We are shaped, physically and psychology, by natural forces. Our neurological landscape mirrors that of our physical one, complete with domesticated centers, rural outposts and untouched wilderness.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where I grew up.

The North-East coast of the United Stated and into Canada. Instead of sandy beaches you will find huge slabs of ancient granite facing off against a dynamic and pristine ocean.

The wilderness of northern Minnesota (minus the mosquitos). Through all of the water channels and tiny islands you can go and go and go until it feels like you are a million miles away.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Salt water, sun kissed, wind-blown – when I look at the ocean I can sense for a brief moment the scale of the planet we live on.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

I feel like I could spend all day there, listening to the sound of my steps, watching the light through the trees, finding a spot have a snack. I am so at home there.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

When I see a volcano, it feels like all of my Earth Science textbooks have come to life. I can imagine the Earth’s crust, the lithosphere, the mantle and all of the tectonic plates bobbing around.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Seeing the sunset is an experience that usually comes to you. You are moving through your day and look up, and there it is.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

After a flash of lightning, the feeling of anticipation, waiting for that thunder to follow, is so satisfying.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Cozy and happy to have a good roof over my head.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Today I feel like a Forest person.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

A 10. In fact, just thinking about nature has positive effects; the idea of wilderness shapes such a large part of the human psyche.

Share with us a childhood nature memory

My dad took me on a short camping trip when I was 7 or 8. It was the first time I experienced hiking into a natural space with a pack as opposed to camping next to a car. It felt like we walked for a very long time, though it was probably less than a mile. It was just far enough to feel really surrounded by the landscape. I remember green everywhere, cold mornings, and the smell of the tent. I was amazed watching my dad; he knew all sorts of tricks – how to set up a tent, start a fire, hook a fishing line, cook outside, brush your teeth and clean dishes without running water. I would love to go find that spot again. I am curious to see how my memory has interpreted that space.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Christiana Moss

CHRISTIANA MOSS is managing principal and a founding partner of Studio Ma, the current AIA Arizona Firm of the Year and a recent Architectural Record Design Vanguard Firm. Her interests in advanced environmental design and the relationship between natural and cultural systems inform her design philosophy. She is one of five Studio Ma principals and practices collaboratively with Christopher Alt, Dan Hoffman, Jason Boyer and Tim Keil. The hallmark of studio is a commitment to sustainability and research, seen most recently in Princeton University’s net-zero ready 715-bed Lakeside Graduate Student Community.

As part of the firm’s mission of advancing the practice of sustainable design, Studio Ma has recently developed a “triple net-zero” concept for higher education research buildings and practices using an integrated design process, for its campus, cultural and urban infill projects. Their work on university campuses focuses on student residential life, academic and research projects. Other notable recent projects include Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, a Smithsonian affiliate, Arizona State University’s Manzanita Hall, Northern Arizona University’s Native American Cultural Center, the Cranbrook Institute of Science addition, master planning and cabin prototypes for Summit Powder Mountain, PRD845 and artHAUS, an urban infill development. Studio Ma has received significant recognition for their work, including AIA Arizona Honor awards, the Chicago Athenaeum and SCUP/AIA National Honor for Building Design. Their buildings have been featured in Metropolis, Architectural Record and The New York Times.

Christiana received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Essential

Integral

Threatened

3 things Nature taught you? 

Humility

Awe

Self-reflection

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Fire Island

Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

My back yard

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

When I’m looking out to the ocean I feel small and infinite at the same time.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

When I’m in a forest I feel sheltered, embraced and connected to the earth.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

I haven’t seen a volcano yet.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

Thankful for its rising and anxious for its return when it sets.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Hearing thunder makes me want to seek shelter.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

I enjoy feeling the wind on my face and prefer to be in it instead of hearing it from the indoors.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

This is a difficult question. I love them all and they are all connected, perhaps some at different times. I began as an ocean person. The desert was once an ocean and I now enjoy the expanse of sky of both, the silhouette of mountains and the unique life water’s absence creates in the desert. The forest is a place I go to be immersed in the smells and sounds of the earth and I long for this too, perhaps I will become a forest person.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

1 (being most important)

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

I lived as a child on Fire Island without cars, free to run and swim in the ocean, walking in sand barefoot all summer long, picking blueberries and chasing rabbits. I lost this when I moved to New York when I was 12 and I’ve been longing to return to life without a city ever since.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Ardy Sobhani

ARDY SOBHANI is an entrepreneur and business strategist, energized by ideation, iteration, and systems design. After earning an MBA in Design Strategy from California College of the Arts in 2012, Ardy helped launched Oru Kayak via Kickstarter with his two co-founders. The response to the project was incredible, with over 700 backers supporting the folding kayak company. In three years since, Oru Kayak has grown quickly, from a weekend hobby to young and scrappy startup to international brand. all under the guidance of Sobhani, Oru Kayak‘s CEO.

Today the company markets and sells through a wide variety of channels, has a robust and efficient manufacturing and fulfillment process in Southern California, and has developed key partnerships with , and many other major distributors. Looking forward, the company–which has doubled in growth each year since its founding–is poised for rapid expansion, riding a wave of good fortune and a dedication to the aggressive strategies put forth by Ardy and the rest of the executive team. Oru Kayak‘s dream of changing the way people experience the outdoors is closer than many believe.

As a leader, Ardy is motivated by a desire to use human-centered design to make the outdoors more accessible for all. He believes that clever, forward-thinking solutions will soon create game-changing products and services in the outdoor industry, and that Oru Kayak is position well to be a catalyst for this change. Ardy uses design thinking frameworks to inspire innovative thinking, merging design and business to create and deliver value to the customer and faster growth for the company.

3 words to describe Nature?

Freedom

Fresh

Recharge

3 things Nature taught you?

Ecosystem – Everything has a purpose and nothing is wasted.

Flow – the easiest path forward. Nature always finds it.

All the answers we are looking for are in nature, but they are hard to find.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The waters that surround the cities. We need to utilize these natural water parks!

The Beautiful North of Iran ” Shomal”

My favourite tree in the neighbourhood

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Calm and at the same time strong. Always there to take care of you and never let go.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Respect. Our elders with much wisdom

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Never seen a volcano in person but it is very powerful. It’s time for the earth to breathe.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Another day about to start or end 🙂 Future or the Past. Both are very powerful.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Love it! Louder, please!

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Something is about to go down! We need to listen closely to what the wind is telling us.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I grow up in Tehran, Iran mountains city but lived in California for the most of my life. I love the desert for it vastness and its honesty. I love the ocean as it takes care of us. Mountains for their powerful stand and they are fun to play in. Forest for the oxygen the make. How about mountain forest next to ocean or lake.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10. I need more of it.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Camping in the forest of Iran. I LOVED it!

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Brian MacKay-Lyons

BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1978 where he was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Medal. He received his Master of Architecture and Urban Design at U.C.L.A., and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Design. In 1985, he founded the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design in Halifax. Twenty years later, Brian partnered with Talbot Sweetapple to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited.

The firm has built an international reputation for design excellence confirmed by over 125+ awards, including the Royal Institute of British Architects International Fellowship in 2016, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal in 2015 and Firm Award in 2014, six Governor General Medals, two American Institute of Architects National Honor Awards for Architecture, thirteen Lieutenant Governor’s Medals of Excellence, eight Canadian Architect Awards, four Architectural Record Houses Awards, eight North American Wood Design Awards and in 2017 the firm received the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. Also in 2017, the firm has been shortlisted for the prestigious Moriyama Award (result pending). A fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (FRAIC), and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), Brian was named Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (Hon FAIA) in 2001 and International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Int. FRIBA) in 2016.

He is a Professor of Architecture at Dalhousie University where he has taught for over thirty years and has held seventeen endowed academic chairs and given 200+ lectures internationally. In 2004 he was visiting professor for the Ruth and Norman Moore Professorship at Washington University in St. Louis.

Ghost (1994-2011) was a series of international Architectural Research Laboratories that took place on the MacKay-Lyons farm. Ghost was founded by Brian as a meeting place for an international ‘school’ of architects who shared a commitment to: landscape, making, and community. The final installment of Ghost took the form of a three-day historic gathering where the twenty-five invited guests and speakers commiserated over these shared values and their ‘resistance’ to the globalization of Architecture.

The work of the firm has been recognized in 330+ publications including six monographs: Seven Stories from a Village Architect (1996); Brian MacKay-Lyons: Selected Works 1986-1997 (1998); Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons by Malcolm Quantrill (2005); Ghost: Building an Architectural Vision (2008); Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft, and Community (2014); and Economy as Ethic: The Work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, authored by Historian Robert McCarter, published April 2017. In addition to these monographs, the work of the firm has been featured in 100+ exhibitions internationally.

3 words to describe Nature?

As a fellow Canadian, Nature is IMMENSE. But, as a Nova Scotian, all Nature is a mixture of both CULTURAL and natural landscapes. As an architect, Nature is the ultimate design MODEL.

3 things Nature taught you?

NATURE WINS. Any attempt to beat nature loses.

ELEGANCE = economy of means.

RYTHM of the seasons.

We learn our manners at home, then take them out into the world. As a child, I have been imprinted by the landscape where my ancestors have dwelled for thousands of years.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

EDGE, where the land meets the sea.

ACADIE, the local Micmac word for the ecologically rich tidal estuaries around the Bay of Fundy, where I hunted and fished as a youth.

DRUMLIN, a hill that points in the direction of the retreating glaciers in the last ice age.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

I feel connected to the INFINITE. (Prospect)

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

I am ALONE. (Refuge)

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

I see a PORTAL to the center of the earth.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

A sunrise or sunset is a seasonal CLOCK.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Thunder, universally inspires TERROR.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

The wind is the weather FORECAST.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Clearly an OCEAN person.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

Nature connection is essential to my/our well-being, or GROUNDING, so it is a 10.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Dip netting spawning gaspereaux at dusk on spring evenings with friends, in the rapids, where the fresh water from the forest drops into the salt tidal estuary water. This is only one of the seasonal RITUALS that marked my PLACE in the world.

I have a dream… Bill of Nature

Nature is more than a destination, more than a “place”. Nature is a mindset and a way of looking at the world. It is a teacher and a mentor. It is a set of values and principles on which one chooses to live accordingly, a framework for personal transformation. Nature is about reciprocity, balance and humility. It is a world of wonders, discoveries and wisdom.

Nature is Life – Life is Nature.

If a Genie gave me one wish, my wish would be for our society to change its relationship with Nature and view it in the same way we see Freedom and Democracy. As a value that needs to be honored and respected. Instead of seeing Nature as a commodity that needs to be managed.

I would wish for the creation of the BILL OF NATURE, just like we have the BILL OF RIGHTS.

This Bill would set the tone and direction on how citizens of this world want to move forward and into the future. This Bill would NOT be about measuring or quantifying Nature, but about creating a framework for our growth, a set of values that we prioritize culturally, and individually.

The Bill would be simple, clear and composed of keywords:

  • Humbleness NOT Righteousness
  • Better NOT Easier
  • Respect NOT Protect
  • Consciousness NOT Senseless
  • Reciprocity NOT Opportunistically
  • Community NOT Individuality
  • Slower NOT Faster
  • Local NOT Global
  • Accountability NOT Dishonesty
  • Long Term NOT Short Term
  • Forward NOT Backward
  • Optimism NOT Pessimism
  • Dynamic NOT Static
  • Evolution NOT Perfection

That is what my wish you would be.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Jennine Cohen

JENNINE COHEN is a the Managing Director of the Americas for GeoEx. A trusted adventure, luxury and travel expert, Jennine also supports travel conservation efforts. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Galápagos Tour Operators Association (IGTOA) and has been featured in Travel & Leisure, Afar, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, YahooTravel, Fortune, Forbes, ABC, CBS, Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, Recommend Magazine, SmartMeetings, Travel Alliance Media and beyond.  Besides sending people traveling around the world, Cohen advises, coaches and helps small businesses, women entrepreneurs, healers, and business leaders to uncover their everyday magic.

3 words to describe Nature?

Peace, Pachamama, Purity

3 things Nature taught you?

Like nature, I am a force;

Hitting the reset button in nature = clarity;

No regrets for going bigger

3 most treasured Nature spots?

The South Yuba River, Nevada City,

Wrangell Saint Elias National Park – Alaska,

Dead Horse State Park – Utah

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

I want to be out there, in the waves instead of sitting on the shore

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Like everything is right in the world

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Mother Earth is amazing

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Like the days are precious – and we should appreciate and have gratitude for each uniquely beautiful day.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

At home

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Intrigued

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain – but love them all deeply

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I didn’t have much exposure to the wilderness as a child, and my first real introduction was in college through UCLA’s Outdoor Leadership Program. My first backpacking trip with UCLA was through Sequoia National Forest – it was how I fell in love with the West.

I was surrounded on that trip by much more experienced peers who had spent their childhoods enjoying frequent family camping trips. I on the other hand, didn’t even know how to set up a tent – let alone use topo maps and a compass. Despite this, as we hiked through the mountains and under some of the largest trees on the planet, I felt a deep sense of satisfaction, calm, sense of purpose. Though I was an absolute beginner, but my unbounded excitement for my new found passion over time led to my competence in and eventual addiction to the outdoors. My life was forever changed after that trip, and my career in the adventure travel industry born.

Coincidentally, that same trip happened to fall over 9/11. We had been in the wilderness and seemed to be the last ones on the planet to find out about the terrorist attacks to the World Trade Center – emerging from the woods a full week after the tragic event. Not being surrounded by news all week likely shielded us from the high levels of stress and anxiety that the rest of the country was suffering from.

It is a good reminder about the importance of disconnecting from the noise of today’s anxiety inciting media – in order to intuitively return to the abundance of calm and clarity.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Bruce Poon Tip

Entrepreneur, leader and philanthropist BRUCE POON TIP is the founder of adventure travel company and social enterprise G Adventures, the world’s largest small-group adventure travel company, with 23 offices worldwide offering more than 650 tours on all seven continents and serving 150,000 travellers a year.

Bruce is also the founder of the nonprofit foundation Planeterra in 2003, which harnesses the power of the tourism industry to direct travel dollars into vulnerable and underserved communities around the world. His work with organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), like-minded companies and indigenous people has supported more than 40 unique community development and relief projects around the world, with another 50 in development.

In 2012, Bruce was inducted into the Social Venture Network Hall of Fame, joining celebrated entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), Anita Roddick (The Body Shop), and Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream). He was also awarded a Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, recognizing significant contributions to society, and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016, 2006 and 2002.

Bruce’s first book, Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business, a New York Times bestseller, was the first business book to be endorsed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who penned the book’s foreword. In 2015 Bruce released his second book, Do Big Small Things, a gorgeously designed journal about life and travel that takes readers on a journey and invites them to share their own inspiration and creativity.

G Adventures has been named one of the 50 Best Managed Companies for over 10 years and is repeatedly recognized as a “best place to work” in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.

3 words to describe Nature?

Happiness

Peaceful

Beauty

3 things Nature taught you?

Being humble,

Importance of stillness

Awareness that we’re surrounded by beautiful things

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Serengeti, Galapagos and the Geelong Bird Sanctuary

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Free

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Small

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Curious

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Invincible

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Excited

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Light

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

All of the above

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Growing up in Calgary I spent a lot of my spare time in ponds after school, knee-deep in mud. I lost track of time catching frogs and observing tadpoles in transition. I was fascinated by natural biology.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Gary Turk

GARY TURK is an award-winning filmmaker and spoken word artist best known for his viral film ‘Look Up’, attracting over 500 million views worldwide. Through poetry and film, Gary explains how overuse of smartphones and social media can disengage us from real relationships, human interactions and living in the real world.

Look Up’ is currently the most viewed Spoken Word film on YouTube, and went on to win Best Viral Film at Cannes. Scroll down to watch his latest video – IN OUR NATURE

Gary’s work, which has explored our relationships with money, politics and nature has gone on to inspire masses across the globe and gained worldwide coverage including BBC News, Fox News and TIME.

Gary has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sunrise (Australia), among many others.

Gary continues to make short independent films, as well as performing live around the world. He can also be found giving talks, workshops & performances at schools, universities, and corporate events.

3 words to describe Nature?

Boundless

Magnificent

Inspiring

3 things Nature taught you?

 To travel

To take my time

To appreciate the little things

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Looking Glass Rock, Appalachian Mountains, NC.

Cuckmere Haven, South Downs National Park, England.

Beneath the Redwoods, Mendocino CA.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Calm

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Protected

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Inconsequential

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Like everyone and everything is connected

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Like looking for lightning

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Like there’s no point standing still

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain person – I love being able to take in my surroundings from up high (especially if I can see Oceans, Forests or Deserts from there).

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

An easy 10 – If I ever don’t feel 100%, I know that being in Nature will always make things better, put things into perspective, and provide the answers I need.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

After a long day of trail hiking with my cub-scout, we went to sleep under the stars in our sleeping bags on the forest floor. What I did not realise as we went to sleep was that I still had a cereal bar in the pocket of my shorts. When I woke up I noticed there were lots of tiny pieces of foil wrapper in my sleeping bag. I climbed out to find that my shorts now had a large hole in them leading to my pocket, which had clearly been chewed, and inside my pocket was the remaining foil wrapper and the crumbs of a cereal bar that I had not eaten.

I became immediately certain that I had been attacked by a bear in my sleep, and that I must have somehow slept through the encounter.

Our group leader then reassured me that considering the size of the hole in my shorts, and the fact my sleeping bag and limbs remained intact, it was most likely a mouse that attacked me during the night.

I often remember this moment in nature as a child, as part of me still likes to believe it could have been a bear.

The Spirit of Juneau

Some places come and go. Some cities spring up only to disappear decades later for one reason or another (think of Bodie, California). History is filled with forgotten colonies and failed urban visions. I am curious though. What factors or variables are necessary to sustain a city and its inhabitants for hundreds of years? For thousands of years? How is a geographical location in the middle of seemingly nowhere able to maintain interest despite its remoteness and existential challenges? It takes more than an abundance of fish to justify settling down. It takes more than strong will and powerful wishes to turn a series of buildings into a lasting and thriving city where souls live and rest. Are there mini gravitational forces that we are unable to see, inexplicable vortexes that attract life and make people stay in the same way such as sweet nectar pulls in thousands of hungry bees?

For several millennia, this location was known to the Tlingit as Dzantik’i Héeni (where the flatfish gather). It sits at the foot Yadaa’at Kale (the beautiful face of the mountain) and is south of Aak’w (little lake). Nearby are Kootznoowoo island (fortress of bear) and Taku river (the flood of the geese).

During the 1791-95 expedition, Captain George Vancouver, along with his crew on the Discovery, were the first recorded Europeans to visit it. A hundred years later in 1880, two prospectors Richard Harris and Joe Juneau, guided by Tlingit Chief Kowee, struck gold at the mouth of Gold Creek. The city was then renamed Juneau.

For thousands of years, people have come from far away and gathered at Dzantik’i Héeni (Juneau). Whether they were drawn by the abundant natural resources, the major fishing and hunting grounds, the promise of gold, perhaps they followed love, were lured by work or simply came to visit, none of those reasons are enough to make one stay and settle. There is something in the land, the waters, and the mountains that draw people in and inspires them to call Juneau home.

I first discovered this Alaskan city in 2013 when visiting with a group of friends. Juneau was our rendezvous point where we boarded the Alaska State Ferry. We kayaked from Sitka to Hoonah, along the Pacific Coast of Chichagof Island and from Hoonah to Tenekee Springs (TV interview and radio interview).  I returned the following year, only this time I kayaked solo from Juneau to Pack Creek and then to the Taku Glacier (radio interview). One of the trip’s highlights was a night paddle on bioluminescent waters, surrounded by orcas and humpback whales. To say it was magical is an understatement.

Ever since that first visit, Juneau has played an integral part in my career and in my personal life. Three of my most popular photos were captured there (see above). Some of my most memorable memories took place on its surrounding waters and deep within its forests. Not only has Juneau become one of my favorite gateways into the wilderness; it is a place where I found a great friend, Ken. Originally from Boston, he moved to Alaska in the 70‘s. Explorer, philanthropist, conservationist and musician, Ken owned Alaska Discovery and founded of Pack Creek Bear Tours.

At the beginning of this year, Juneau resident Captain Tom Kelly from Blue Planet Eco Charter reached out to me with an invitation to join him on a summer sailing cruise. I was now married and the prospect of being able to share with my wife a part of the world that had been so special to me was really exciting. It was the perfect opportunity! While my solo wilderness expeditions are remote and span weeks at a time, this trip had to be slightly different. It needed to be adventurous, but not extreme while encapsulating all the classic highlights that Juneau is known for including the places, the food, the people and activities.

Travel Juneau and I worked together to plan the perfect itinerary: a floatplane to Pack Creek where brown bears can be viewed in their natural habitat, a hike in the Tongas National Forest, a paddle to the Mendenhall Glacier and exploration of the ice cave, whale watching in Auke Bay, a feast of fresh-caught Alaskan King Crab and a weekend excursion to a luxury fishing lodge in Angoon. Our 12-day trip would conclude aboard Captain Tom’s 40’ S/V Seamoore as we sailed around Douglas Island overnighting in Young Bay.

The other goal was to bring my photo project Random Connectedness to Juneau. Through this project I seek to illustrate the random connectivity of the human species. I do this by taking portraits of random people holding a letter of the alphabet. I then combine these portraits into words, phrases or sentences. The letters are red for a reason. According to Chinese mythology, the Gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. It is called the legend of the Red String of Fate. The red letters represent the string.

In addition to photographing the natural beauty of Juneau, I would turn the camera on its people. How best to celebrate this distinctive city that has given me so much other than to honor its citizens who live and breathe it, the ones who radiate the “Spirit of Juneau”.

It was incredible to hear their stories. The vast majority are from the lower 48 states who had come to visit and had never left. Some were born here, had left to pursue advanced eduction or a job, only to find their way back. Juneau was home to each of them. A unexpected discovery was to see so many talented and young entrepreneurs throughout the city. Young adults one would expect to see in major hubs like New York or San Francisco. They were all adamant about their beloved city – it was the best! Let me introduce you to some of them.

Maura Selenak of Almaga Distillery (Above, E in the THE). Originally from Minnesota, she moved to Juneau after falling in love with the dramatic scenery and sense of community. A kindergarten teacher, Maura and her husband founded the craft spirit distillery using a 250-gallon still from Vendome.

Eric Oravsky of Adventure Flow (Above, S in the SPIRIT). Grew up in Montana and was exploring the wilderness with his parents before he could walk. He continued to explore and found photojournalism to raise awareness for the wild places he loves. Keeping active and inspiring others led to him co-founding Adventure Flow.

David McCasland of Deckhand Dave’s (Above, F in the OF). An incredible story of persistence. A young local chef and fisherman, who recently opened a taco truck that serves “to-die-for” panko-crusted salmon sticks and fish tacos. His tartar sauce is a secret recipe and the talk-of-the-town.

Christy Namee Eriksen of Kindred Post (Above, 1st U in JUNEAU). Born in Korea, she grew up in Alaska. Christy is an artist, community activist, educator, and writer whose work is grounded in social justice and community engagement. She is the recipient of the 2013 Mayor’s Award for Artist of the Year, two Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Awards, and the Loft Immersion Fellowship.

Ryan Lindsay of Devil’s Club Brewery (Above, E in the JUNEAU) He began his career working for Bridgeport Brewing Co. in Portland and later found himself commercially brewing for Drifter Brewing Co. in Cape Town, South Africa. During his time with Drifter, his brew was awarded the best light beer in the country of South Africa.

Jessica Hahnlen of Frost and Fur (Above, 2nd U in JUNEAU). Born in Juneau, she lived in Sacramento then moved back with her husband. Her company design and hand-print (she screen-prints her art onto apparel) in Juneau and gives back 3% to local non-profits

Lia Heifetz of Barnacle (Below, O from Love). A lifelong Alaskan, she lives in Juneau with her partner Matt. Together they started Barnacle, turning kelp into tasty snacks, like salsa and pickles. Their mission is to create delicious and healthy foods using Alaskan ingredients to expand the local food economy, build community resiliency and perpetuate stewardship of natural resources.

A whale of a thank you to the FAVORITE BAY LODGE team for an unforgettable weekend!

Thank you Above & Beyond Alaska (ABAK) for a great time at the Mendenhall Glacier.

A HUGE huge thank you to Kara at TRAVEL JUNEAU for her support, Maryann at PEARSON’S POND INN for her incredible hospitality. Special thanks to Adventure Flow, Juneau Whale Tours, Alaska Seaplane, Tracy’s King Crab Shack and Deckhand Dave’s.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Scott Sampson


SCOTT SAMPSON was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for reimagining cities as places where people and nature thrive. He serves as the President and CEO of Science World British Columbia.

Scott’s scientific research has focused on the ecology and evolution of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, and he has conducted fieldwork in many countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. He has published numerous scientific and popular articles, and regularly speaks to audiences of all ages on topics ranging from dinosaurs and education to sustainability and connecting kids with nature.

Sampson has appeared in many television documentaries and served as a science advisor for a variety of media projects, most recently the BBC movie, Walking With Dinosaurs. He has authored multiple books, including Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life, and How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature. However, he is perhaps best known as “Dr. Scott,” host and science advisor of the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS television series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company.

3 words to describe Nature?

Interwoven, Nested, Evolving

3 things Nature taught you?

Wonder, Deep Connection, Humility

3 most treasured Nature spots?

While I have had the pleasure of traveling to a number of countries around the world, my most treasured nature spots have been those that I have been able to return to again and again. They are the ones I know the best, and that resonate with me most deeply.

Long Beach (Tofino area), Vancouver Island

Marin Headlands, California

Red Rock Country, southern Utah

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Awe (in its vastness)

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Wonder (in its deep, mostly unseen interconnections)

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Humbled (by the sheer power it represents from within the Earth)

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Tiny, and a little off balance (sitting, as I am, on the side of a giant, rolling sphere)

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Resonance (it is as if I feel the thunder more from the inside out, than the outside in)

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

A deep appreciation for shelter

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Growing up in Vancouver, BC, I was raised at the intersection of ocean, mountain, and forest, so for me they are interwoven. But if I had to pick one only, it would be the ocean.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

While still a child, camping with my family in the interior of British Columbia, I went off on my own (as usual) in search for interesting rocks and (hopefully) fossils. I spent a joyous hour or two on the side of a steep, boulder-strewn slope, turning over rocks and hunting for whatever wonders might be revealed. (I may have rolled a few rocks down the hillside as well.) Eventually I stopped and sat for a long while on a flat rock with a view of the valley below. When I finally headed back to our campsite, I wanted to show my parents where I had been. Late in the day, we walked back to the spot, to find a rattlesnake lounging on the very same flat rock I had sat on just hours earlier. I presume that it was soaking in the last rays of sun before a night of hunting. Although my first reaction was a twinge of fear, my lasting sense was one of interconnection—with the snake, the rock, and that place.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Camille Preston

CAMILLE PRESTON is a psychologist, executive coach, consultant, speaker, and internationally recognized expert on Virtual Effectiveness. She is the founder and CEO of the organizational consulting firm AIM Leadership, and the author of two books: Rewired: How to Work Smarter, Live Better, and Be Purposefully Productive in an Overwired World and Create More Flow: Igniting Peak Performance in an Overwired World.

For more than twenty years, Camille has guided leaders, executives, policy makers, professionals, and individuals alike to new heights of leadership, performance, efficiency, and greater happiness and fulfillment. Her clients span industries and fields around the globe, including executives from NBC, Zappos, MGM Mirage, Citrix, the Corporate Executive Board, Mars, Verizon, GE, Capital One, the US Army, and many others.

Beyond work, Camille is an avid runner, yogi, and adventure traveler. She has worked on five continents, traveled to 39 countries, and currently lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, Mark, and their son, Preston and daughter, Adeline.

3 words to describe Nature?

Life-source (vital, energizing)

Teacher

Diversity (if you connect with how amazing, vast, diverse and profound nature is – it transforms your interactions elsewhere…. if you know the dessert and the ocean and the mountains – it helps you deal with different personalities, different life experiences)

3 things Nature taught you?

Centering

Humility (so beautiful, so powerful, so ever-changing)

To recharge OFTEN (being in nature recharges…)

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Sitting in a kayak in the center of Squam Lake – especially early morning, at dusk.

Top of Powder Mountain, in Utah – vast views, diverse landscape, intersection of so many forces – wild and beautiful.

Church Island Chapel – Squam. It is a sanctuary in a pine grove, surrounded by water… where I have gone with my greatest heartaches and greatest desires

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Any type of water is profoundly powerful for me as I have a lot of fire in my personality. I need to be around water otherwise I’m off balance. I always seek out water – on my morning runs, on my ideal vacations, etc.

Something about the moisture in the waves, the space that sits above the ocean.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Reminded that I am just part of a larger system, a speck on this earth. You see the grandeur, the longevity, the strength – and it gives me focus.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

It gives me the force to change, surrender to greater things. I loved driving in Chile – so many roads are built to frame a volcano. Almost as if there is deep reverence for their force to create and destroy.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Morning – I think about where / what to create, how to leave a mark and feel a sense of deep possibility.

Evenings – I think about all that is, all that I have been blessed with. There is a sense of gratitude to be.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Humbled by the powerful force of nature – AND all that I don’t understand about it.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Grateful to snuggle deep into bed. For having safety, protection, and emotional community.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I’m a water person… I need to be.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10…. I can tell when I haven’t been “in it”. Nature drives where I live, how I engaged, the ways I create balance within myself.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Every summer I spent at Squam Lake. All this time unplugging, slowing down, learning a new rhythm, adapting to a new pace of life. We would also spend 3-4wks as a family backpacking. Now, as a mom – I’m humbled that they would leave the lake and “choose” a harder interaction with nature – to teach us life skills.

Nature Meditation – ONWARD FORWARD LET IT GO

meditation

“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one” Michael McMillan

I would like to start this year with an excerpt from my book – FEEL THE WILD

After years living in New York City I was still trying to find my place, my tribe, my purpose. I worked in an office and performed a job I had no passion for. Day after day, I acted my way through the part, feeling as if I didn’t have enough to give to my work. And I didn’t. I wasn’t energized by my work; I was drained by it. Like a stabled horse, I wanted out. I needed to find that child within, to be alive once more. So I called it quits. 

I sold everything, bought a camera, and persuaded some companies to help fund my equipment. I took out a world map, put my finger on New York, and started moving south until I reached Patagonia. This land had been many things to many people. For Magellan and Drake, it was the land of giants. For Darwin, it was a place that would change his life. For French author and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Patagonia was his muse. And for writers Chatwin and Theroux, it was their salvation. For me, this vast land, these million square kilometers of mountains, rivers, canyons, steppes, ocean coasts, and unbelievable skies, would perhaps bring me back from the depths of unhappiness. Patagonia is where my story began.

I was standing on a beach at Punta Norte, on the Valdes Peninsula in the Chubut Province, a place famous for orcas that beach themselves to snatch young, careless sea lion pups. Looking out and watching black fins knifing the shallow waters, I unexpectedly started to feel like I was choking. I don’t know why. I can’t explain what happened to me. Instead of giving in to the anxiety of the moment, I gathered my wits and took a really deep breath. I felt the south wind pushing its way into me. This cold air had traveled north from Antarctica, passed Tierra del Fuego, followed the rugged coast of Argentina, and now settled into my lungs. And with this new breath of icy air came a release. It was as if I was taking my first breath. My lungs opened up, like the petals of a flower stretching out to receive all the light around it. And I felt a sudden awareness, as if I was unexpectedly waking up after decades of hibernation…”

The part missing from the text is that none of it happened the way I had planned. In fact my trip to Argentina was so ill prepared that I had to cancel my original plan. I had overestimated the challenges and ridiculously overpacked. To say that I was in over my head is an understatement. Facing my foolishness and immaturity, I surrendered to my predicament. Letting my pride take the back seat, I reassessed everything and improvised. Six months later, I emerged transformed.

None of my expeditions have happened the way I wanted. In fact barely anything in my life goes according to plan. But every time I find myself in the unexpected, I let go, adapt, learn, and grow stronger. The truth is that my most cherish possessions, my most beautiful discoveries, and my most precious friendships have all appeared from these dark places where I thought nothing was working.

On December 31st, I was listening to Shankar Vedantam, host of Hidden Brain, concluding the story “Life’s Many Codas: Maya Shankar’s Path From Juilliard To The White House

“… all of us have chapters in our lives that close and when they do, especially if it is a chapter that we have known and love for a long time, it can feel like the whole book is over, that there is nothing left to do, maybe even nothing left to live for. But I think each of us has stories in our lives that reflect the fact that the people we are today are not the same people we were only a few years ago. We often underestimate our capacity to reinvent ourselves… the things that distinguished humans from other species is our remarkable capacity to adapt to different conditions, differing situations… it isn’t about our physical abilities, it is really about the mind and each year around this time, we need to remind ourselves that when one door closes, we have the ability to find other doors to open…”

Whatever has happened to us last year, the year before, 10 years ago, or even as a child decades earlier, we must let go. The goal of the Past is to learn from it, not to hold on to it. What I wish for you in 2016 is to shed the old skin, to let go of the unnecessary, to release the burden, the guilt and these negative attachments and march ahead, chin up, and confident. We are alchemists, we have the ability to turn iron into gold, to grow from the most challenging and painful. We are resilient! Onward and Forward!

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit