2021 Wild Wonder Teachers and Speakers

The Wild Wonder planning team is deeply grateful that so many wonderful teachers, thought leaders, and naturalists will join us for this event and share their ideas and experience with you. Visit the Wild Wonder page for details on this year’s event.

Note: Our teaching and speaking staff is subject to change.

Kristin Moreno Antonio

With 25 years teaching in San Francisco public schools, I feel most inspired and fresh whenever I can incorporate nature journaling into my biology and physiology classes. Giving opportunities to visualize thinking allows for deeper understanding and appreciation for what students think is possible. Everyone can connect with nature. Nature belongs to everyone. My latest nature journaling escapades, #SymbiosisInTheCity explores urban habitats, at the macro and micro level. Instagram: @klmita

Bethan Burton

Bethan Burton is an artist and environmental educator. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Conservation Biology and a Master of Environment majoring in Education for Sustainability. She teaches nature journaling to all age groups and is passionate about connecting people with the natural world. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she takes daily backyard expeditions with her four-year-old nature journal buddy. Bethan is the founder of International Nature Journaling Week, an event designed to celebrate nature journaling and bring people together as a world-wide community with a shared passion. She is also the host of Journaling With Nature Podcast, a show which explores the joys of nature journaling through interviews with nature lovers from around the world.

Robin Lee Carlson 

Robin Lee Carlson is a natural science illustrator with a particular interest in how landscapes and ecological communities change over time. Her art is based on observing and documenting the world around her as it unfolds. Robin started out as a biologist and spent sixteen years managing projects to track and analyze stream habitat restoration projects for salmon and steelhead. As an illustrator, Robin has created artwork for interpretive panels, posters, informational backdrops, species/habitat information cards, and playground equipment for groups including the UC Natural Reserve System, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County, Caltrans, and the Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership. Her work is currently focused on ecosystem dynamics after disruption, especially how species and habitats respond to wildfire and changing fire regimes in the West. She has been studying fire ecology at Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve since it burned in a 2015 wildfire, field sketching there monthly. https://robinleecarlson.com/

Tony Foster

British artist Tony Foster’s work is based on his journeys into the world’s wild places—rainforests and deserts, mountains and canyons, the Arctic and the Tropics. For more than forty years, he has been travelling on foot or by canoe, kayak or raft, making camp, and painting his often large-scale watercolours on site. His paintings describe not only the landscape he is living in, but also his observations of flora and fauna, geology, ethnography, and history. The finished works incorporate “souvenirs” of maps, written diaries, and symbolic objects that he finds or constructs. Tony Foster has had many solo exhibitions, including at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Royal Watercolour Society, London. “Exploring Beauty: Watercolour Diaries from the Wild” and “Sacred Places: Watercolour Diaries from the American Southwest” are two complete Journeys on exhibit at The Foster, a museum in Palo Alto, California. https://www.thefoster.org

Liz Clayton Fuller

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Liz is an accomplished scientific illustrator and fine artist. She holds a BFA in illustration with a minor in art history from Savannah College of Art and Design and a certificate in natural science illustration from the University of Washington. She has created and taught field sketching courses for Cornell University undergraduates as well as for their adult university program. She has also illustrated field guides, created educational outreach materials, and painted visuals for scientific papers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Liz’s work is suffused with her love of nature. Through her illustrations she strives to provide her viewers with a new perspective on bird life. https://www.lizclaytonfuller.com

Fiona Gillogly

Fiona Gillogly, age 17, has loved art and nature since she was a little girl. In 2016, when she discovered nature journaling and the work of John Muir Laws, she was thrilled to find something that combined these two things she adored. Fiona has become a passionate nature journaler and naturalist, and she has completed more than 2,000 nature journal pages since she began journaling. Born and raised in the Sierra Foothills in Northern California, Fiona has attended Waldorf schools since the age of 3. She spends time daily in the wild lands near her home, and she enjoys looking for mysteries in nature and exploring them in the pages of her nature journal. Fiona also loves to draw, paint, craft, act, sing, harmonize, play cello and ukulele, compose music, write stories, and speak German. An avid birder since 2015, Fiona is a five-time recipient of the Central Valley Birding Club Youth Scholarship, enabling her to attend summer teen birding camps to further develop her skill and passion in birding. She especially enjoys the music of birdsong and she loves to bird by ear. Since 2018, Fiona has volunteered in the bird banding and monitoring program with Gold Country Avian Studies in Grass Valley, gaining valuable hands-on experience in ornithology. She has also volunteered many hours of her time as a participant in local Christmas Bird Counts. Fiona has given talks on birding and nature journaling for many organizations, including the Exploratorium in San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, the Central Valley Bird Symposium, the Environmental Volunteers Wake Up to Nature fundraising event, and the Artist-Explorer series at The Foster in Palo Alto. In June 2020, Birding  magazine, the national monthly magazine of the American Birding Association, published Fiona’s article “A Birder’s Brain on Paper: How keeping a nature journal improves our birding experiences.”  Fiona is one of several naturalists who are included in the book, How to Teach Nature Journaling (by John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren). Fiona is also an artist with a line of blank greeting cards featuring her nature art. Visit her website for links to her writing and talks, a gallery of nature journal pages, and her art cards. www.fionasongbird.com

Roseann Hanson

Roseann Beggy Hanson is one of the organizers of the 2021 Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference, and the author of Nature Journaling for a Wild Life. She is a naturalist, artist, and explorer who has been keeping science-based nature and field notes journals for 40 years. She studied journalism and ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, and has worked in the American Southwest, Mexico, and East Africa as a conservationist, naturalist, and writer. She is author of a dozen natural history and outdoor books, including the Southern Arizona Nature Almanac with her husband Jonathan Hanson, and San Pedro River: A Discovery Guide, both of which include her nature journal data and art. Roseann is a lapidary, metalsmith, and watercolor artist, and for several years she has worked on significant cultural heritage projects, including long-term work with the South Rift Land Owner’s Association – an all-Maasai cultural preservation group in Kenya. Her diverse work has involved tens of thousands of miles of overland driving experience on four continents, from the deep backcountry of Mexico’s Sierra Madre to Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, and from Arctic Canada to the deserts of Australia’s Red Centre. Roseann enjoys integrating conservation, science, outdoor skills, and cultural awareness into her work. Currently she is coordinator for the trans-disciplinary Art and Science Program at the 117-year-old Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, part of the University of Arizona College of Science. Through the Desert Lab and other institutions she teaches nature writing and nature journaling and field notes for biologists. She was named a Fellow of both the Explorers Club in the U.S. and the Royal Geographical Society for her conservation and expedition work. You can find her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/roseannhansonexplore or https://www.instagram.com/roseannhanson. http://www.exploringoverland.com/fieldarts

Brian Higganbotham

Brian Higginbotham is one of the organizers and volunteers of the 2021 Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference. He is the founder of the Great Valley Nature Journal Club in Sacramento, CA. The club began hosting events in October of 2019 and has been online since April 2020. The current workshop schedule is available on the club community calendar on John Muir Laws’ website. Brian has helped several other clubs get started and is always willing to help others bring nature journaling to their communities. He also uses his workshop as a forum to bring in other voices from the community. https://www.facebook.com/groups/GreatValleyNJC

Wendy Hollender

Wendy Hollender is a botanical artist, illustrator, author, and instructor. Hollender’s illustrations have been published in The New York Times, “O,” The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Sunset Magazine, The Observer (UK) as well as a large advertising campaign for the National Peanut Board. Her work was included in the 13th International Exhibition at Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, and in exhibitions at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and the Smithsonian National Museum for Natural History. The US Botanic Garden had a show of Wendy’s work on roots called Illustrating Hidden Treasures in the fall of 2015.She is the author of THE JOY OF BOTANICAL DRAWING: A Step-by-Step Guide to Drawing and Painting Flowers, Leaves, Fruit, and More, BOTANICAL DRAWING IN COLOR: A Basic Guide To Mastering Realistic Form And Naturalistic Color, THE PRACTICE OF BOTANICAL DRAWING, and BOTANICAL DRAWING, A BEGINNER’S GUIDE. She collaborated on a book written by Dina Falconi and illustrated by Wendy called Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook which has won two gold medals to date. Wendy is an instructor of botanical art and illustration at the New York Botanical Garden and leads workshops at her farm in Accord, NY, as well as in exotic locations such as Hawaii, Greece, Trinidad, and many nature preserves, botanical gardens, arts centers and colleges around the country. She recently started a highly successful online botanical drawing program: www.drawbotanical.com. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society and the National Tropical Botanical Garden Florilegium Project. In 1976 Wendy graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and became a home furnishing textile designer. She began a career in botanical illustration after completing a certificate at the New York Botanical Garden in 1998. In 2009 she moved from Manhattan to a farm in the Hudson Valley so she could live among the plants she documents in her work. https://wendyhollender.com

Jane Kim

Jane Kim is a visual artist, science illustrator, and the founder of Ink Dwell. Her art career started when she was a little girl obsessively painting flowers and bears on the walls of her bedroom. She received more formal training with an MFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design and then attended California State University Monterey Bay, where she earned a master’s certificate in science illustration. She has created large-scale public art across the country, including the Wall of Birds at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and produced works for the National Aquarium, the de Young Museum, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, and more. She is the creator of the Migrating Mural campaign, a series of public installations that highlight wildlife along migration corridors it shares with people. She still enjoys painting flowers and bears, though nowadays she doesn’t get in trouble for painting on the walls. https://inkdwell.com / Video on Jane and her work / Video on Jane and the Wall of Birds at Cornell

Mattias Lanas

Mattias Lanas grew up in Santiago, Chile, where family visits to the seashore fostered a love for natural history. After studying Earth Systems at Stanford, he completed the Science Illustration Certificate Graduate Program at California State University, Monterey Bay. In fall 2019, he headed to Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship to work on a botanical illustration project at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (France’s Natural History Museum). Today, Mattias lives in Bogotá, Colombia, where he spends his time “botanizing” and searching for rare plants, working for and collaborating with The Foster Museum, teaching art classes, leading field sketching trips, and working as a freelance illustrator. When not in the studio, Mattias can be found reading about passionflowers or insects, or doing pottery! https://www.mattiaslanas.com/

J. Drew Lanham 

J. Drew Lanham, Ph.D., is an Alumni Distinguished Professor and Master Teacher of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University. He is a cultural and conservation ornithologist whose work addresses the confluence of race, place, and nature. Drew is the Poet Laureate of Edgefield County, SC and the author of Sparrow Envy— Poems (Holocene 2016, Hub City 2018), Sparrow Envy—A Field Guide to Birds and Lesser Beasts (Hub City 2021) and The Home Place—Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature (Milkweed 2016/Tantor Audio 2018), winner of the Reed Environmental Writing Award (Southern Environmental Law Center), the Southern Book Prize, and a 2017 finalist for the Burroughs Medal. The Home Place was named memoir and  scholary book of the decade (Lithub and Chronicle of Higher Education, respectively). His Orion Magazine essay “Forever Gone” was named an American Best Essay of 2019 (Rebecca Solnit/ Robert Atwan, eds). Drew’s creative work and opinion appears in Orion, Vanity Fair, Oxford American, High Country News, Bitter Southerner, Terrain, Places Journal, Literary Hub, Newsweek, Slate, NPR, Story Corps, Threshold Podcast, Audubon, Sierra Magazine, This is Love Podcast, and The New York Times, among others. He is a Contributing Editor for Orion Magazine, and a lifelong bird watcher and hunter-conservationist living in Seneca, SC., a soaring hawk’s downhill glide from the Southern Appalachian escarpment the Cherokee called “the Blue Wall.” https://www.clemson.edu/cafls/faculty_staff/profiles/lanhamj

John Muir Laws  

John Muir Laws is a naturalist, artist, and educator who has dedicated his work to connecting people to nature through art and science. From an early age his parents instilled in him a deep love and respect for nature. Over the years, that love has grown to a commitment to stewardship and a passion to share the delight of exploring nature with others. As both a scientist and artist, Laws has developed interdisciplinary programs that train students to observe with rigor and to refine techniques to become intentionally curious. He teaches nature study and natural history workshops that incorporate illustration and scientific note-taking as a means to greater observation, memory and curiosity. Laws is the founder and host of the Nature Journal Club. A family friendly, intergenerational community who connect with nature through art and field journaling. Every month he leads nature study and illustration field trips, teaches seven nature drawing workshops around the San Francisco Bay Area, and share videos of the classes online with an international community of nature artists. The entire program is free and supported by donations and grants. He is also a primary author and editor of the interdisciplinary curriculum: Opening the world through Nature Journaling. This standards based, curriculum is student tested and teacher approved and merges science, language arts, and visual arts through teaching students to keep a nature journal. This resource, now in its second edition, is free to educators and has been downloaded and used all over the world in schools, science centers, home school communities, camps, and informal science education programs. Laws has written and illustrated several books including How to Teach Nature Journaling (coauthored with Emilie Lygren, 2020), The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling (2016), The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds (2012), Sierra Birds: a Hiker’s Guide (2004), and The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007). He is a regular contributor to Bay Nature magazine with his “Naturalists Notebook” column. His work has been nationally recognized. He is a research associate of the California Academy of Sciences. He was given the 2020 Bay Nature Local Hero award for his work in environmental education. In 2009, he received the Terwilliger Environmental Award for outstanding service in Environmental Education. He is a 2010 TogetherGreen Conservation Leadership Fellow with the National Audubon Society. He was the 2011 artist for International Migratory Bird Day. In 2011 he was the Educator of the Year for the California Institute for Biodiversity. He was the 2013 Nature’s Inspiration Honoree, Committee for Green Foothills. And he was the 2010 Outstanding Learning Disabled Achiever. Honored by the Lab School of Washington D.C., in recognition for his contributions and achievements and as an example for children with learning disabilities.

Richard Louv

Richard Louv is a journalist and author of ten books, including Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder; The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder; and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life. His newest book is Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our Lives—and Save Theirs. Translated into 22 languages, his books have helped launch an international movement to connect children, their families, and communities to nature. He is co-founder and Chair Emeritus of the non-profit Children & Nature Network, which supports a new nature movement. In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society. Prior recipients have included Rachel Carson, E.O. Wilson, Sir David Attenborough, and President Jimmy Carter. Among other awards, Louv is also the recipient of the Cox Award for 2007, Clemson University’s highest honor for “sustained achievement in public service” and Garden Club of America’s 2020 Margaret Douglas Medal for “notable service to the cause of conservation education.” He speaks frequently around the world, including American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference, first White House Summit on Environmental Education, the Congress of the New Urbanism, International Healthy Parks Conference in Melbourne, Australia, and the national Friends of Nature Conference in Beijing, China. Louv has written for the New York Times, the Times of London, Parents Magazine and many other publications. He has appeared on CBS This Morning, NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Married to Kathy Frederick Louv, he is the father of two young men, Jason and Matthew. He would rather hike than write. Learn more at www.richardlouv.com.

Emilie Lygren

Emilie Lygren is a writer, outdoor educator, and facilitator. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology-Biology from Brown University and has more than a decade of experience as a writer and as an outdoor science educator. Emilie has developed dozens of publications and curricula focused on outdoor science education and social-emotional learning through her work at the award-winning BEETLES Project at the Lawrence Hall of Science, and was named the Northern California Environmental Educator of the Year by the Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education in 2014. Emilie’s poems have been published in numerous national literary journals, and her first book of poetry, What We Were Born For, won the Blue Light Book Award. In writing and teaching, Emilie centers awareness and curiosity as tools to bring people into deeper relationship with themselves, their communities, and the natural world. Visit Emilie’s website for more of her work and words: emilielygren.com.

Margaret Mackie

Margaret enjoys helping others to find delight and wonder in creating and exploring art and nature from small impromptu “classes” to larger workshops. Margaret draws inspiration from the lovely magnolia trees and the local wildlife of bunnies, foxes, and deer that live around her. As an artist, she currently is working in watercolor, colored pencils, and dabbling in gouache. Small handmade sketchbooks make nature sketching fun and portable. Margaret’s journey began with an obsession with Dutch florals and still life paintings of the 1500s and wanting to have a real painting but being too cheap to buy one she began oil painting classes. This lead to watercolor sketching of local gardens and nature centers with her sister Carol.

Kim McNett

As a teaching artist, visual interpreter, and wilderness guide, Kim McNett seeks to awaken the bond with nature that is inherent to everyone. Kim received a Bachelor of Science from The Evergreen State College in her home state of Washington before moving to coastal Alaska in 2009. Her work as an environmental educator, sea kayak guide, fisheries observer, and wilderness adventurer allowed Kim to develop an artistic niche based on an immersive familiarity with Alaska’s landscapes and ecosystems. https://www.kimsnaturedrawings.com

Yvea Moore

Before the pandemic, Yvea was gardening, teaching kids about gardening, and doing habitat restoration, and working to incorporate nature journaling into each of those. Nowadays, she’s in quarantine and catching up on projects: making a how-to video for nature journaling while doing field work, working on nature journal pages of her restoration sites, upgrading her garden curricula with more nature journaling opportunities, leading Pencil Miles & Chill on Fridays and Saturdays, and being a mom to her son as he learns remotely.

Carol Mackie Morris

Carol has spent her career creating and teaching art to ignite artistic curiosity in children and adults. Carol is inspired every day by the view of the pond outside her windows. As an artist, she works with many media to visually communicate what she observes. Motivated by historical artist explorers, one such artist is Lillias Trotter (1853-1928), who spent her life helping others while recording her life in watercolor. Nature journal pioneers filled books with their words and images for perpetuity. Carol delights in teaching a person to make and fill up their first nature journal book. https://www.instagram.com/carolmackiemorris1

Melinda Nakagawa

Melinda Nakagawa is a naturalist, biologist, and educator living on the central California coast. She loves taking people out into nature and guiding them in activities that reawaken the senses, develop the ability to see the unseen, spark wonder and curiosity, and deepen a relationship with the natural world. For the past 18 years, she has worked as a marine biologist, educator, and naturalist in Monterey Bay, California. She offers classes in nature journaling, birding, and nature awareness, online and in person, to students and adults. https://sparkinnature.com

Marley Peifer

Marley Peifer is an artist, gardener, tracker, and educator. He longs for the reintegration of art with science and words with images, a synthesis that he develops in his journaling. He is passionate about learning, teaching, and fine-tuning awareness in nature. Few realms are untouched by his rampant curiosity and he is always ready to observe and philosophize about nature, culture, and Hymenopterans. He laments the overspecialization in today’s world and believes that a holistic perspective and a diversity of skills is necessary now more than ever. He is the creator and host of the Nature Journal Show on YouTube / marleypeifer.com/

Ryan Petterson

Ryan Petterson is a geologist and the Director of Field Education in the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. He has been teaching, conducting research, and leading earth science field trips for 20 years. He has taught geology field courses extensively in California, particularly the Sierra Nevada and Death Valley areas. In addition to earth science, he also teaches nature journaling and field sketching courses at Stanford. With the ongoing restrictions on in-person teaching and traveling, Ryan has been focusing on creating virtual field trips and other virtual field teaching resources. https://fieldeducation.stanford.edu/virtual-field-trips

Dr. Nooshin Razani

Dr. Nooshin Razani is a pediatrician, researcher, and passionate advocate of the healing power of nature. She is the founder and director of the Center for Nature and Health, based at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. The Center conducts original research related to nature and health, helps health care practitioners incorporate nature into their practice, and provides clinical care in nature. Dr. Razani is an attending physician at UCSF Beniofff Oakland’s Ambulatory Department and Assistant Clinical Scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). Since 2014, Dr. Razani has prescribed time outdoors to her pediatric patients and their families as preventive medicine. The results of the first study, which was published in the peer-reviewed PLOS ONE in February 2018, showed reduced stress in the parents of pediatric patients at a clinic serving low-income families. The randomized clinical trial is the first of its kind. It compared the effect of supported park outings versus independent park prescriptions with the goal of learning how to operationalize a park prescription program in a low-income setting. Dr. Razani hopes these results along with ongoing research will eventually lead to evidence-based nature prescriptions. Dr. Razani attended medical school at University of California San Francisco, completed a pediatric residency at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, and has a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Razani has conducted primary research on the clinical applications of nature; given presentations about nature and health across the U.S., and published peer reviewed articles about the topic. https://www.childrenshospitaloakland.org/main/departments-services/center-for-nature-and-health-177.aspx

Mike Rhode

Mike Rohde is a designer and the author of two bestselling books: The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook. He evangelizes sketchnoting and visual thinking literacy around the world. He’s a principal designer and visualizer at Johnson Controls. That team helps groups define problems and imagine new solutions using human-centered, design thinking principles. Mike illustrated the bestselling books REWORK, REMOTE, The $100 Startup, and The Little Book of Talent. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his wife and 3 children. https://rohdesign.com

Kate Rutter

Kate Rutter is a visual journaler, sketchnoter, and recovering tech entrepreneur with an experimental and rambunctious visual practice. She believes observation is a window to the natural word, and advocates for bold experimentation as a path to wonder and curiosity. Kate teaches at the California College of the Arts, hosts the East Bay Sketchers Meetup group, has illustrated a few books, and once journaled the first 100 days of an avocado pitt’s growth. She holds a BA in studio art from Wellesley College. You can see her work at intelleto.com and on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @katerutter http://www.intelleto.com

Amy Schleser

Amy Schleser is a professional science storyteller. She currently creates videos and diagrams that explain science to kids. Previously, Amy conceptualized diagrams of how things work for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. She has chosen objects for display in many museum exhibits, and written graphics and videos to tell their stories. As both a writer and artist, Amy loves mentoring people in her workplace on how to clearly explain science through visuals. Amy has been nature journaling for 5 years. She loves going outside to look for little mysteries. Not knowing the answers to things opens up a world of curiosity for her. Wondering how things work or why they look the way that they do gives Amy a rush of excitement. She’s looking forward to sharing this excitement about diagrams at Wild Wonder 2021! http://www.instagram.com/science.art.amy /  https://www.amyschleser.com

Mark Simmons

Mark Simmons is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist, specializing in comics and graphic recording. He teaches figure drawing at the Academy of Art University, and has run classes in cartooning, sketching, and wildlife illustration for SF Bay Area institutions such as the Nature Journal Club, the San Francisco Zoo, and the Cartoon Art Museum. https://ultimatemark.com

Erica Stephens

With a passion for education, Erica has journeyed as a park ranger from Denali to Zion since completing her degree in Natural Resource Planning and Interpretation and minor in Paleontology. Her lifelong career in interpretation came full circle as she returned to her home state of California as a naturalist with the East Bay Regional Park District. She strives to connect communities to nature through art and nature journaling. Her resiliency was demonstrated in 2020 as she shifted to educating the public and school groups virtually. In her spare time, Erica enjoys adventures off the beaten path from California’s coast to the Sierra Nevada range, where her love for nature journaling began.

Amy Tan

Amy Tan’s love of nature began at age 8 when she lived by a creek and played catch and release with snakes, frogs, lizards, and caterpillars. She had a childhood dream of becoming an artist, until an art teacher told her she had no imagination. She began drawing in earnest again in 2016 through classes and workshops with John Muir Laws, and found a mentor in then 13-year-old Fiona Gillogly, who taught her that there can never be too many questions when it comes to nature. Since then, Amy has kept a nature journal called “The Backyard Chronicles,” in which she journals and draws her observations of bird behavior in her yard. To develop her skills as a citizen scientist, she has done informal field studies with herpetologists Harry Greene, David Hillis, and Joe Furman, tropical zoologist researcher Mark Moffett, naturalist and author (The Mind of the Raven) Bernd Heinrich, and marine biologist and octopus expert Crissy Huffard. She wrote the foreword to How to Teach Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren (and she read this foreword at our 2019 Wild Wonder Nature Journaling Conference). She is the subject of the upcoming documentary “Amy Tan:Unintended Memoir,” (airing May 3 on PBS’s American Masters), which includes cameos of John Muir Laws, Obi Kaufman, and Fiona Gillogly. She is the instructor of a MasterClass on Fiction, Memory and Imagination, in which she discusses in part the value of nature journaling in learning to observe and to imagine the other. In her spare time, she writes books. She is the author of six novels, including The Joy Luck Club, two children’s books, a screenplay, libretto, two memoirs, and numerous articles. In her most recent book, Where the Past Begins, she writes about imagination and her derailed childhood dream of becoming an artist, one she finally fulfilled.  amytan.net

Vitor Nuno Machado Sena Velez

Vitor Velez was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. Today he lives in Poznań, Poland. With a master’s degree in architecture, he presently works in a 3D graphics studio but considers himself a wildlife and nature illustrator. He uses drawing and painting as a way of discovering our incredible natural world. Since he was a boy, he was always fascinated by animals, and learned to draw by copying the pictures from old wildlife encyclopedias. Through his artworks, he tries to express his strong belief that we just need to stop and observe what surrounds us for enough time to start noticing the beauty of both visible and hidden things that nature has to present us: details, colours, patterns—and thus fall in love with them. https://www.instagram.com/theheadlessketcher/

Sterre Verbokkem

Sterre Verbokkem works under the name ‘Illustrator of Wild Things.’ Living on a little mountain in Spain surrounded by wildlife, she is never far from nature. Sterre has been working as a full-time illustrator for ten years now, using both traditional and digital techniques. Her journal sketches are typically done on toned paper and with a limited color palette. https://www.instagram.com/illustratorofwildthings/

Karen Romano Young

Karen Romano Young is a writer, illustrator, comic creator, polar explorer, and deep-sea diver. In 2020 her 30th children’s book was published: A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon (named an Amazon Best Book of 2020 So Far). Karen’s work as a science communicator has taken her on expeditions all over the world, and inspired the creation of her science comic series #AntarcticLog. After publishing two graphic novels, Doodlebug and Stuck in the Middle (of Middle School), Karen created her first science comic aboard an ice breaker in the Arctic Circle. Humanimal Doodles was published monthly in the science magazine Odyssey. In 2017, under the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers program, Karen debuted her weekly climate comic #AntarcticLog, which continues today and now encompasses two voyages to Antarctica. Her new project, I Was a Kid, is intended to open doors to careers in the sciences for young people. New books about Antarctica, the Galápagos islands, and the deep sea are on their way. https://www.karenromanoyoung.com