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 kind of 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 5 books later, 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!
- My favorite staple veggie to grow is kale because it is so easy, delicious, and healthy, but my fave veggie to grow is black-eye peas because they are super nostalgic. I also love to grow papaya and rosa de Jamaica.
- 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!
- I love art equally as much as gardening and wanted to be an artist since I was tiny. A few of my favorite current artists are Amy Sol, MOMO, and Emily Winfield Martin. (& of course my partner Sean Mahan!)
- I love the tropics & hot humid weather – but, I also love the snow a ton! Summer and winter are my favorite seasons.
- I’ve been a certified Integral Yoga Hatha instructor since 2001. I apply yogic philosophy to everything I do, think it is a great tool for connecting to nature.
- 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…
- I love diy music. It informs everything I do. I particularly love indie-pop & anti-folk punk. Not the cheezy styles they always show on tv, but the real amazing community of artists & activists you’ve probably never heard of working for equity & equality, environmental sustainability, & true freedom & peace. I wouldn't be where or who I am today without the global indie punk community. Sound interesting? Check out War on Women, Trophy Wife, & Strike Anywhere for something heavy, & Gomet, The Just Joans, & Sambassadeur for a lighter mood.
- I have 13 nieces and nephews & hundreds of former students, but no children of my own. I always dreamed of being the "fun aunt", so I simply borrow one anytime I like!
- I’ve been unmarried for 25 years (& counting), and we are as happy as 2 adventurous peas in a pod!
- 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
Join the world of Wings, Worms, and Wonder!
Do you follow @wingswormsandwonder in Instagram? That's where I get social online. I generally post lots of photos of nature, and art, as well as general adventures in the world.
Plus, I post "Story Time for the Young & Young at Heart" videos where I read inspiring and beautifully illustrated children's books for all ages to enjoy!