I know. I see you dreaming of escape, but you only get as far as Instagram. You’re over there - scrolling in bed - trying not to be envious while you mutter in your head: “I wish I had that kind of life.”
Sitting in your office - notifications and alerts ringing - putting on a happy face for your colleagues and boss.
The kind of silence where you can just hear the breeze rustling the leaves and raindrops hitting the gutter. A silence that leaves you feeling a sense of calm, relief and real peace - where your mind can wander into a bubbling stream of thoughts - until you get that lightbulb moment of inspiration and clarity.
A moment for your mind to stop building another to do list. No pings. No phones ringing, or kids screaming.
You can only find this kind of peace when you’re surrounded by nothing but trees and skies and a wandering trail.
I feel the most connected to the world around me when I am completely alone in the woods, & that connection is something we all need. It’s attainable, but it’s so completely rare these days.
I believe we can make a difference in our lives and the lives of others by getting outside, learning about nature, and being conscious consumers. Understanding and experiencing the natural world around us makes us happier and healthier people, and that brings more joy into the world.
I started school with a dream that I could design in a meaningful way that bridged the world of art, science, and the built environment.
I was set afire by the challenge of blending play, ecology, public art, and functional spaces into a design. A design that was resilient, sustainable not only in its construction but in its ecological benefits. Figuring out how to do all of this in every design became the fire that drove me.
That’s not what happens after undergrad, is it? I couldn’t find a job, moved back home and I was stuck in a depressed rut.
I needed to leave and change my scenery, so I booked a ticket to New Zealand to spend time with my family - and of course backpack through the two islands. It was the trip that changed it all for me: it taught me who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live my life, and it showed me what I wanted to learn more about.
So after I got back from New Zealand, I interned in California and then started grad school in Massachusetts.
I applied the restoration and design approach I had experienced on my trip. I dived deeper into the communication disconnect between scientists and the public - learning how to graphically translate science into spatial graphics.
After starting a full time job, that didn’t specialize in ecology or restoration, I realized I wasn’t doing a job that fueled my soul. I was depressed, stuck inside an office yet again - and so far away from the outside world that I loved and needed so much.
I thought to myself, while staring at the inside walls of yet another office: “This is not what it’s about. This is not why I am here.”
Sitting at that desk, I’d already been playing around with the idea of how to have a side hustle that would fuel my soul and silence that aching feeling like I wasn’t making a difference in the way I craved, and I wasn’t spending the time outside I had dreamed of either.
If you want to find a balance between all the lifey stuff (work, health, family...bills) and your love for the world we live in - and you love science and human-made art, you’re in the right place.
I created Drawn to Ecology to create and share illustrations to spread ecological education and get more butts off couches and into our beautiful world.
From making cute little tree illustrations - to working with scientists to graphically translate their scientific information - I work to promote an understanding of the natural world, illustrate our impacts, and promote ways to change our actions in order to protect the natural world.
If you are ready to take your eyes away from the inside walls too, and find that peaceful feeling of actively enjoying and caring for your world, join the Drawn To Ecology community by entering your info into the form below:
Our first adventure awaits! Join me to break free of the deadlines, never ending to-do lists, and all of your other daily responsibilities for some quality time in nature.
Organizations I am a part of or support in my work:
Emerging Professionals National Committee, American Society of Landscape Architects
Government Affairs Advisory National Committee, American Society of Landscape Architects