NEIGHBORHOOD NATURALIST PROJECT

IMAGE: ALISON ZNAMIEROWSKI

A couple of weeks ago, Alison Znamierowski shared her wise words on being a neighborhood naturalist. Her experiences traversing the simultaneously familiar and foreign terrain of her own backyard inspired us ladies at Loam to create The Neighborhood Naturalist Project. Our goal is to get you excited about truly growing where you are planted.

We know—this can be a hard one. We may not live in places that nourish us, we may be on the road, we may be in a city when we're dreaming of the country, in the country when we're craving the city.

This is why our project is a practice.

Begin by taking a walk down your street. Consider this a meditation of sorts. Truly listen to the call of birds (my friend Lynn once had me do this and it will seriously blow your mind. Those chickadees are always conversing!) Notice the bark on a tree, the lichen on a bark. Collect fallen leaves and crushed rocks. Make notes on what in nature speaks to you.

Maybe you'll return the next day with a field guide in hand to help you learn the names of plants. Maybe you'll feel inspired to take photographs, to cultivate a tangible record of this ever changing landscape. Maybe you'll want to walk a little farther, dig a little deeper.

Much like our Field Guide Project, The Neighborhood Naturalist Project is about learning to embrace our environment. We don't need to go very far to have traveled worlds away. For this particular project, we're asking you to join us in an experience of mutual growth. Share with us your photos, your stories, your revelations, at loammag@gmail.com. Tell us how you are learning to love where you are right now in this very moment of time.

Sound woo-woo? That's because it is. But sometimes, a little woo-woo goes a long way toward grounding you in reality.