Dear readers,

through this long pause of inactivity, the scope of Tumbleweed Naturalist has made a shift from blog to business platform. I would like to share the status and scope of my research going forward.

Before I do, I wish to say thank you to all that have given their time, stories, and wisdom thus far. Our conversations have helped positively shape me as an educator, craftsperson, researcher, and just in general as a human being. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I set out, but I’m honoured to have received what I have. Thank you to Niklas Karlsson, Robin and Arlene Karpan, Irvin Head, Elaine Angelski, Ric Driediger, James Jackson, Austin Mackay, John Strom, Boyde Lalonde. Thank you also to all those who have sat and chatted casually on the topic with me as well, and to those who have probably heard about enough on the subject! Chris Brown and my partner Candice Viveiros in particular.

Where I had intended to showcase each interviewee with a transcribed interview in a journalistic format, I feel that a broader narrative weaving the stories and lessons together will better suit this project. I have also long since decided to abandon the personal anecdotes as I began to pinpoint exactly what I wanted to learn and to offer with this website. Going forward, interviews will begin again shortly! I have a long list of names that I’ve been excited to reach out to.

My initial questions remain the same, but the context has become better defined over time (if only a little). Through learning about the life histories of artists, craftfolk, and outdoor recreators, I wish to prove the following thesis:

We (educators) may expand the reach, continuity, accessibility, and depth of student-nature connection in outdoor environmental education (OEE) by including programs with primary focus on art and craft as methods to engage with the land. We may also, by engaging our faculties through the creative expressions of art and the focused processes of craft, come to better know ourselves, improve our mental health, grow as individuals, and better understand, empathize, and connect with other cultures and creatures.

Though I am certain the questions will always change and that our conversations will touch on much more, I wish to illustrate “what” and “how” we learn about nature when we create. I will do this with the stories of those I interview and the cultures (current and ancient) I research.

The final method of delivery is yet unclear. Whether it turns into a book, a thesis, a series of blog posts, or just collective information for my own methods of teaching, only time will tell for now.

To all those who have supported me so far, thank you again! Please feel free to pass my project information along to anyone who may wish to contribute. I welcome all advice and support you wish to offer.

On this administrative day indoors, sincerely,

Steve Abbott