Get to know more about your creative nature connection guide, Kelly!
Growing up, I never knew I had it so deliciously good.
My grandparents and extended family grew most of our vegetables, so it is no wonder that at dinnertime no veggies were ever left sitting on the plate!
Although I have travelled around 4 continents and over 30 countries, the realization that not everyone’s grandpa grew their food came kinda late in life. I was 21!
When the host set microwaved broccoli on the table as the vegetable, a wave of horror swept over me. Where are Grandpa’s butter beans and corn and black eyed peas? Where are Me-ma’s sweet pickles and homemade rolls?
And it hit me like soggy wet broccoli in the face. Not everyone’s grandpa grows their food.
(See my Grandpa in his garden he loved so much!)
My 2nd realization came when I began teaching.
The first week of school I was horrified at what the children ate for lunch. So processed, so packaged, so Yuck! That was when I put it all together. People no longer know how to grow their own.
Children don’t spend summer mornings in the garden with their grandpa taking care of string beans or afternoons drawing in the shade and shelling butter beans on the stoop with their great grandmother.
I realized how fortunate I was. I knew I must pass this joyful knowledge on. I quickly began gardening and journaling with my students in a way that used art as the thread to weave the garden across every aspect of our classroom learning.
After countless gardening questions from parents and colleagues, I knew I had to grow this work further. I left the classroom to write and illustrate Wings, Worms, and Wonder & learn why gardening and arts based nature connection is so crucial for happy healthy lives.
And here we are today!
I love that everyday I get to help humans create experiences that creatively connect themselves with nature. What could be more fun than sparking senses of wonder?
Want to know more? Check out this list of 10 fun facts!
1. My favorite staple veggie to grow is kale because it is so easy, delicious, and healthy, but my fave all time veggie to grow is black-eye peas because they are super nostalgic.
2. I’ve been vegan since 1996, and vegetarian since 1992, for both health and ethical reasons, even though I come from a family of hunters!
3. I love art equally as much as gardening and wanted to be an artist since I was tiny. A few of my favorite artists are Jeni Yang, MOMO, and Emily Winfield Martin. (Not counting my partner Sean Mahan!)
4. I love the tropics & hot humid weather – but, I also love the snow a ton! Summer and winter are my favorite seasons.
5. I’m a certified Integral Yoga instructor. I apply yogic philosophy to everything I do, think it is a great tool for connecting to nature.
6. I love to travel. I went abroad age 10, traveled abroad alone at age 16, and I haven’t stopped since! I’ve been to 28 countries, 4 continents, and counting…
7. I love punk rock. Not the old reckless style, but the amazing community of artistic activists you’ve probably never heard of working for gender equality, environmental sustainability, & true freedom through DIY peaceful living. Sound interesting? Check out music by Spoonboy, The Smittens, Trophy Wife, & Morrissey!
8. I have 13 nieces and nephews & hundreds of former students, but no children of my own. I borrow one anytime I like!
9. I’ve been unmarried for 22 years, and we are as happy as 2 adventurous peas in a pod!
10. This veggie lover has a huge sweet tooth! I’ll eat vegan sweets any time of day. Let’s swap cookie recipes! My faves (right now) are Mexican hot chocolate cookies and chocolate chip with crystalized ginger.
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