Erica Wheeler: inspiring connections between people and place

May 2016/Nature in the City

May 2016Nature in the City
Hi everyone,

I'm thrilled to be back in DC again.

Recently I had the honor of working with the talented rangers who offer programs for visitors at our national memorials and monuments. So many people are not aware that all these special sites in DC are a National Park. (I confess: me included. And I grew up here.)

Here's a link so you can find out all the cool programs and services they offer.

Tomorrow (Saturday, May 21st) I'll be performing on the main stage as part of the National Geographic and National Parks Biodiversity Festival More info here

Nature in the City
During my performance, I'll also be speaking about my teenage years, and how participating in my local Youth Audubon Society Group really saved me. It was such a positive thing to do, and the program gave me a peer group to hang out with who were passionate, curious, fun, intelligent people be around. It also helped me see that right within this urban/suburban environment there was so much "wild" nature to find.

I even went on to attend college as an aspiring wildlife field biologist. That path became clear to me when we were on one of our field trips. It was at a bird refuge at on the Maryland shore where I discovered a plaque on an observation tower that read:

"There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free."
Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

I had found my tribe. My direction. My lodestar. Right then and there.

And it has woven throughout everything I've done so far.

When touring the park with the rangers on the National Mall this past February and April, I was so often struck how nature wove itself all through my experiences of the monuments and memorials. There was the sun blazing on the names of the Vietnam Memorial, the ducks and geese landing on the reflecting pool, the clouds drifting, giving me a moment to pause, breath and slow down. It was calming to observe, and helped me process everything I was learning. Nature in the city. It's everywhere when we stop and notice.

Here's a participant comment from the training in DC:
"I liked where we were outside and using our senses to experience the area. It helped me slow down and find peace where I am. I think it's a great exercise to find inspiration in our everyday surroundings" "I am looking forward to using this with my visitors."

Upcoming Events 2016
Public Events
05/21 Biodiversity Festival, Bio Blitz, Constitution Gardens, Washington DC, 3:15 p.m. Free.
06/29 Concert, Salt Pond Visitor's Center, Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, MA, 7p.m. Free.

Interpretive Trainings (Staff Programs)
05/24 Governors Island National Monument, NYC
06/10 Gateway National Recreation Area, Staten Island, NY
06/29 Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham, MA
7/21 & 22 Youth Conservation Corps, The Trustees of Reservations, New Bedford, MA

Interested in a professional development training, sense of place performance or a concert?
Write to

Hope to see you!


updated: 1 year ago