Wild Wonder 2021 is over for the year. Kudos to the organizers, volunteers and tech people who kept the ball rolling. It was a huge success from my viewpoint as a student.  Wild Wonder was actually a 7 day conference, but I only attended the last 5 days.  I didn’t realize I could go to the teacher conference as well.  Oh well.  Next year!

I really enjoyed the variety of approaches taken and taught by the various teachers this year – whether they were artists, scientists, writers, or real life teachers. They had an incredible wealth of knowledge to share, and they did.  I’m sure we only scratched the surface on many topics, and I look forward to following the posted links in the days and weeks ahead. Thanks everyone!  The classes were fabulous!

I enjoyed the keynote speakers, the virtual field trips, and the presentations. The event kicked off with John Muir Laws interviewing Tony Foster of The Foster.  Tony Foster is an interesting man who has painted in some of the roughest terrain on Earth. It was an excellent interview.

Keynote speakers included: Dr. Nooshin Razani, Fiona Gillogly and John Muir Laws, Richard Louv, Dr. Drew Lanham and Jane Kim.  I had to back out of one and couldn’t finish another due to being overtired.  The ones I heard were fascinating talks.  Dr. Razani spoke about the impact of nature on our health and accessibility as it relates to socio-economic factors.

My key take-away from Fiona and John Nuir Laws’ joint keynote address was how to ask questions in your nature journal.  Fiona’s Question Chains are phenomenal! I only watched part of this talk as I was too tired to finish it.  John Muir Laws talked about the difference between ecosystem, community and habitat.  He suggested we add ecology, or relationships to our nature journals.

I had to skip Richard Louv because this tired old body needed rest!   I’ll watch the video later.

Dr. Drew Lanham was an excellent speaker!  Very personable, and quotable.  He spoke about how he came to love nature, his mentors along the way, and paying attention to the details in life.  He talked about journals as a release, for healing and helping you sort your place in things and events out.

When John Muir Laws asked how the nature journaling community could be more inclusive, he talked about “the first protest of the day” – “when you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and decide to do something different to make things different.”  He said if you see an injustice, don’t just look – speak up and say something.  Do something to change it.

His definition of conservation? “Conservation is caring enough about something intensely, other than yourself, that you will save it in abundance for someone you don’t know

The last keynote speaker, Jane Kim, spearheads InkDwell.  She is a large scale nature journaler, painting nature murals on walls and sides of buildings in public and private hands.  Her work is amazing!

I must admit I was really taken by the virtual field trips to Death Valley with Ryan Petterson and Coastal Alaska with Kim McNett.  I will be rewatching those and doing some nature journaling.

I had to back out of a lot of the social times I’d originally signed up for simply because of the time difference (I had to eat!) and my lack of stamina (I had to sleep!).  The conference emanates from California, USA.  That made for late nights for me on the East Coast.  At first I wasn’t sure if I had access to the class videos after the conference, but it turns out all attendees do.  I’ll be making use of them in the future.

The quality of my drawings went down significantly during this conference because I was trying to make notes and draw at the same time. I also had very limited time to draw. At first I was frustrated, but then I realized if I were out in nature there wouldn’t be much time to get images down on paper either!  After that I simply considered it good practice.  Here are some of my scribblings.  Forgive bad composition and very rough drawings. There were a lot of 10 second contour drawings!

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