A little over four years ago I met my true partner, John. Someone who made me a better environmental educator and person. Someone who convinced me to move out to his seven acre property in the middle of nowhere and love the land. He taught me how to truly reuse/reduce/recycle everything and how to let nature be in charge, not humans.
Everyday, we are fortunate enough to walk our animals on five of the acres that we have let go to old field. Sure, we could have spearheaded efforts to create a restored prairie, but we don't have the time or resources to do that and at some point, I realized that nature regenerates and maintains itself just fine without our help. We may have plants that are less than desirable for the purest, but the land feeds, waters, and shelters many of Earth's creatures. I recently started keeping phenological records of the animals and plants I see when I walk the trails. I get excited when I see the Eastern Towhees, Indigo Buntings, Woodcocks, Eastern Bluebirds, Least Weasel, Tiger Swallowtails, Red-spotted Purples, House Wrens, and so many more every year at their appointed times. It’s as if we are old friends. Occasionally, a small white-tailed deer herd flushes out of the tall grasses and into the nearby wooded area.
John bought and created this haven as a way to get away from the stresses of work and life and he asked me to share the experience with him. He is patient with everyone he meets and has the kindest heart especially with animals. We have created a small non-human family consisting of a dog, two cats, two snakes (that will soon go back to my son), and twelve fish. He is someone my human children and mother adore because he is a good friend to them and he takes good care of me. He is someone I could have easily missed had I not asked for more information about his research on penguins. If we would have met before we did, we may not have connected because we were different people in different places in life. Life and love happen at the time and place they should.
So, although I have never been much into Valentine’s Day, I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate John for all he is to me, my environmental hero and life partner.
Hi. My name is Kirsten Hope Walker and I am the Founder of The People and Nature Connection. I am a life-long environmental educator with a myriad of experiences in formal and non-formal education. Environmental education is not just science; it's so much more. It involves history, math, literature, art, consumer economics, physical education, psychology as well as the physical and life sciences.
I fell in love with the natural world when I was a child growing up in Houston. My brothers and I would be outside from dawn until dusk and my fascination was with the bayou behind my house. There were several acres that my house backed up to and about a quarter mile past our back fence was a natural (non concrete) bayou that had an abundance of wildlife. My favorite animal was an anole. I would watch them for hours as their dewlap would puff out in its inflamed red coloring as a way to ward off predators.
My love of the environment has never changed despite my varied career experiences. I have always taught about nature in some way. I have also used my love of learning to gain advanced degrees in education to focus on multiple modalities of teaching and I have applied those to my job positions. I also have an interest in eco-psychology because I love to watch what effect nature has on people of different backgrounds. I have been blessed for the professional experiences I have had so far and I look brightly to the future.
There are websites out there that focus on the environment. I wanted this website to be about the undeniable connection of people and nature. I thought that along with helpful information on plants and animals, I would also include people who take a special interest in the environment. I plan to have artists and experts featured monthly as well as events that are nature related. The animal and plant profiles will hopefully give you an appreciation for what is out there beyond the four walls of your house and will be available in a PDF format for educational purposes.
The website is meant for a nationwide audience and I am always looking for contributors from different areas of the country. Please email me if you are interested.
Please ask questions, make comments, or just say hello.
Hello, My name is Kirsten Hope Walker. I have been an environmental educator for over 20 years. My passion is talking to the public about how to coexist with wildlife. It's my hope that you will ask questions and find my features and blogs interesting. Thanks for your support.