Don’t you always wonder what happens to the hero/ine of a story AFTER they’ve overcome their battle and ridden off into the sunset? I’ve often thought that this post-sunset time would likely be when the more insidious, internal challenges creep up through the cracks in the horizon. You know, when you’re distracted by all the pretty colors swirling over your highly-held head. Several years ago I found myself leading a human swarm around New Zealand’s “Beehive” parliament building. We carried our giant eel tapestry, a social-art project made by hundreds of fans of freshwater biodiversity, to help deliver a petition to protect this very overlooked and underloved yet sacred monster. To top it off, the children’s book I created as part of the eel project was, that same week, printed and on its way around New Zealand. Man, I was ready to grab my horse and ride off into that sunset!
Technically, it was a plane that carried me through the night back to cowgirl land . . . the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona. So I was actually flying off into a soul-exposing, bright-hot sunrise followed by some good-old dark and stormy nights under those Saguaro cactus. This eel woman felt quite a bit lost without the now-far-away eel project to focus her anxious energies. I had been preaching empowerment, that one person could be part of making an important difference, but every day I felt fearful and powerless in this time of mass species extinction. I hiked in the desert a lot. I watched the stars rotate a lot. I danced and cried a lot. I realized that the only way I could get up every day was by lassoing together my love triangle of Art, Biology, and Education to get people, especially kids, OUTSIDE. I needed to help people overcome their own fears to explore, discover, and care for the overlooked life all around them so our future world might have a chance at loving all the life that remains.
That’s how this eel woman came to be the creator of The Biodiversity Group’s Biodiversity PEEK STEAM curricula for families, teachers, and kids. Now friends are saying that I should write a blog to share my past and current experiences from the art, natural science, and education intersection. I know that they probably just want to watch me embarrass myself like I often do when I finally tamp down my fears and put myself “out there”. Oh well. At the end of the day, I’m a bit of a cosmological dualist. I reckon that, in this universe, even though nothing you do ultimately matters, everything does. Here goes nothing . . .