What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?
How might human beings again live in harmony with the
earth and all her creatures?
What is your personal experience of collective
wisdom in groups?
For the past four decades I have been leading people
of all ages into the natural world. Whether gathered in city parks,
in kayaks, on mountaintops or in a grove of trees, people come back
into alignment with their roles as creatures dependent on their planet
IF they are gathered in consciously called space. Listening to each
other, listening to the infinite complexities of the natural world and
listening to the still small voice within, people are capable of enormous
wisdom and vision.
What is it about the work in this field that excites
you and connects you to your own deepest self?
I am a person who comes indoors reluctantly. Yet, at
this time on the planet, I come indoors often because I believe the
earth and her creatures are counting on us human beings to get our acts
together. And so, I find my work at this time is focused largely on
gathering people into circles using a methodology co-developed by my
partner, Christina Baldwin, and
myself—PeerSpirit circles. Working outdoors is easy, working indoors
and learning to respect and understand the complexities of human beings
is the most precipitous edge I walk.
Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of
what brought you to this work.
My professional path has been as winding as the deep
forest path: public school science teacher, U.S. Forest Service naturalist,
newspaper reporter, environmental education teacher,
writer, small visionary business owner (PeerSpirit).
Each bend in the path has helped me learn new perspectives and skills
that have prepared me to be doing exactly what I am doing today.
My writing path is also a reflection of building on experiences:
co-author of the award-winning Teaching Kids to Love the Earth (University
of Minnesota Press, 1991); author of Deep Water Passage/a Spiritual
Journey at Midlife (Pocketbook, 1995)—the chronicle of my 65-day
kayaking journey around Lake Superior; and Journey through Maxwelton
Watershed (Maxwelton Salmon Adventure, 2002)—a regional socio/ecological
history. Writing is a humbling, deeply introspective journey—a
great teacher. I am currently working on a book about the relationship
between people and trees.
I have learned so much from the people in my life: my
blessed partner, Christina; my dear children Brian and Sally; my parents,
Astrid and Frank; my sisters, Susie, Kathy and Margaret; my friends—bless
the long list; and the colleagues of PeerSpirit who have enabled us
to be of service for over a decade now.
And finally, my deepest spiritual path has come from
a lifetime of exploring the natural world—sometimes gently in
my garden, sometimes at near peril, but always with great humility and
an open heart.
How would you like to be available to others in
I love to talk with people on the phone and in person.
E-mail and online dialogues are not my favorite modes of communication.
I would welcome the opportunity to work with other earth stewards in
the natural world anywhere!
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