Julie Packard

Julie Packard is founding executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Based on a lifelong passion for science and nature, she has led the Aquarium to become a global force for ocean conservation. She chairs the board of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a global leader in deep ocean science and technology and she is deeply engaged in ocean conservation strategies through her work as a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Julie served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission which published a blueprint for improving governance of America's ocean waters, and more recently served on the California Parks Forward Commission to develop a sustainable path for California's state parks. Julie holds a master’s degree in biology with a focus in marine algal ecology.

3 words to describe Nature?

Calming. Safe. Inspiring

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility

Curiosity

Perspective

3 most treasured Nature spots?

California’s Sierra lakes

Big Sur Coast

Redwood forests

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Intrigued

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

At home

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Small

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Serene

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Unsettled

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Anxious

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountains. They put time in perspective and put us in our place.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I grew up in the 50’s, in the foothills of what’s now called Silicon Valley. After school I’d ride my horse through our apricot orchard, into the hills and oak forest behind our house. We rarely had a destination in mind, but the act of aimless wandering was the best part. Sometimes I’d meet up with other kids and their horses, but some of the best times were alone. I loved experiencing the changing seasons in California, from the progression of spring wildflowers in the sunny grasslands and shady ravines, to the hot dry summers during the apricot harvest. These days so many kids don’t have nature to explore nearby and if they do, they’re surely not allowed to venture far from home. How did we let such a basic right of childhood disappear?


Roz Savage

Roz Savage is an ocean rower, speaker, author, sustainability advocate, and thought leader on the big existential questions of the 21st century. Her feats have been described by Sir Richard Branson as “Heroic, epic, inspiring, historic.” Best known as the first (and so far only) woman to row solo across the world’s “Big Three” oceans - the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian - Rosalind Savage inspires audiences to think again about what is possible, and encourages them to step up fully into the potential of their highest selves.

She has spoken to tens of thousands of people across six continents, including Google, eBay, Hershey, Disney, Kaiser Permanente, National Geographic, the Royal Geographical Society, TED and TEDx, plus numerous schools, universities and corporations.

Roz has appeared on numerous TV channels including CBS, ESPN, Fox News, Channel Four and the BBC, and has been a frequent guest on various radio stations including NPR, BBC (Radio Four, World Service), and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

She has been featured in a wide range of newspapers including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Financial Times and the Evening Standard. Magazine features include Sports Illustrated, Grazia, Red, Outside Magazine and Fortune Magazine. She has written for numerous magazines and websites including Forbes and the Huffington Post, and contributed to over a dozen books on conservation, adventure, lifestyle and women

A documentary based on her Atlantic voyage, “Rowing the Atlantic”, was screened in 32 countries as a finalist in the prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival.

She has authored two books: “Rowing The Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean” (Simon & Schuster, 2009) and "Stop Drifting, Start Rowing” (Hay House, 2013).

In 2010 Roz was named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. In 2012 she was a World Fellow at Yale. In 2013 she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to fundraising and the environment. In 2017 she took up a position at Yale, lecturing on Courage in Theory and Practice.

3 words to describe Nature?

Awe-inspiring. Nourishing. Vital

3 things Nature taught you?

Respect

Humility

Confidence

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Holy Isle, Scotland

Californian Redwoods

The beaches of southwestern Australia

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Sad, because they’re in such trouble

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Happy – I love being around trees

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

That the Earth is not as solid or as static as we like to pretend

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Joy

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Excited

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Energised

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

11!

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My mother, sister and I walked the Sandstone Trail when we were living in Cheshire. I especially remember a stretch of the path near Alderley Edge, where there was a row of craggy and scarred Scots Pines fringing the top of a hill. I just loved those trees. They looked like they had experienced so much in their lifetimes. Even now I get that sense when I’m around an old tree – I wonder what changes they have already seen, and what further changes they will see in the future.


Zach Rabinor

ZACH RABINOR was seduced early on by Mexico's vibrant cultures, towering peaks, thundering surf and intoxicating cuisine. As the Founder, President and CEO of award winning travel company Journey Mexico, Zach oversees all aspects of the company’s operation and takes special interest and delight in the details of product development, marketing, and business development. Under Zach’s leadership, Journey Mexico has achieved dynamic growth as evidenced by their inclusion as an Inc. 5000 Company consecutively from 2009 through 2016, and has earned top honors and recognition including: National Geographic's Best Tour Operators on Earth, National Geographic “50 Tours of a Lifetime”, Travel & Leisure Best Adventure Trips, Travel & Leisure Best Adventure Outfitters, and The New York Times Adventure Guide. Zach has been personally recognized as a top expert by leading luxury travel publications: Conde Nast Traveller Top Travel Specialist 2010-2017, Conde Nast Traveller Top Villa Specialist 2011-2013; and Travel & Leisure A-List 2010-2017 as well as being named a Trusted Travel Expert on Wendy Perrin’s inaugural Wow List 2014 and each year subsequently (2015-2017). Zach is a Regional Member of the World Travel and Tourism Council, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Oceanic Society; he has been sought out in the press on matters relating to Mexico, tourism, and travel including interviews in: Forbes and NPR and a host of other prominent publications.

When not designing new itineraries or leading exploratory expeditions, Zach can be found searching for waves and Mexico’s best ceviche on his beloved Pacific Coast. He lives in Puerto Vallarta with his wife Rebecca and their two sons Sam and Nat.

3 words to describe Nature?

Vast, Powerful, Awe-inspiring

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility, Self Reliance, Faith, Respect

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Ocean, Mountains, Rivers

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Alive, Small, Respectful, Hopeful, Dreamy, Spiritual, Complete

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Peaceful, Quiet, Ephemeral

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Alert, Curious, Wondrous, Ambitious

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Inspired, Peaceful, Contemplative, Romantic

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Excited, Suspenseful, Small

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Desolate, Watchful, Pensive

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10+

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

The first time I surfed through a blizzard I was thrilled, humbled, elated, and terrified; I knew I would never live anywhere far from the sea.


Casey Hanisko

From starting her travel career at a space voyage division of well respective Zegrahm Expeditions to launching new events and business solutions at ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association), CASEY HANISKO has spent over 20 years taking bold steps and pushing the boundaries of comfortable. Over the years she has marketed countless new innovative travel itineraries from deep sea submersible trips to in depth expeditions to countries such as Brazil, Japan, and Namibia. A creative and results driven executive, Casey’s roles have included business strategy and development, marketing, communications, and innovative product development.

As president of the business services and events division of the ATTA, Casey manages the strategic direction and dynamic team delivering an ecosystem of events and business solutions for destinations and adventure travel brands around the world. Former head of the ATTA’s marketing and communications efforts, Casey was responsible for communicating the place global adventure travel has in the context of the greater tourism industry. As president, Casey will lead the success of long term partnerships that are built to advance destinations’ efforts to support economic- and community-based initiatives. A speaker at industry events around the globe, Casey shares her expertise on adventure travel trends, branding, and travel’s evolving role in the future of communities, culture, environment, and wildlife around the world.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Unexpected, Beautiful, and Necessary

3 things Nature taught you? 

To be introspective, respectful, and wild

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

My most treasured nature spots are close by because access to nature daily makes me a happier person - so first is a park just down the street in Seattle because I go there daily for walks with my dog, second is the Cascade Mountains in Washington, and third is the Puget Sound because there are small pocket beaches that can be accessed across the city and then also South and North. For years I would scuba dive those waters looking for octopus, ling cod and nudibranchs.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Calm

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Alive

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

Honored

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Peaceful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Excited

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Alert

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

I lived in rural New Hampshire when I was young. I used to explore the woods in the back of our house for hours on my own. There were trees back there with vines and I loved to find them and swing on them. It always felt like a treasure because I never remembered where they were. I felt like a female Tarzan swinging in the wild jungle.


Brian MacKay-Lyons

BRIAN MACKAY-LYONS received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1978 where he was awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Medal. He received his Master of Architecture and Urban Design at U.C.L.A., and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Design. In 1985, he founded the firm Brian MacKay-Lyons Architecture Urban Design in Halifax. Twenty years later, Brian partnered with Talbot Sweetapple to form MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited.

The firm has built an international reputation for design excellence confirmed by over 125+ awards, including the Royal Institute of British Architects International Fellowship in 2016, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Gold Medal in 2015 and Firm Award in 2014, six Governor General Medals, two American Institute of Architects National Honor Awards for Architecture, thirteen Lieutenant Governor’s Medals of Excellence, eight Canadian Architect Awards, four Architectural Record Houses Awards, eight North American Wood Design Awards and in 2017 the firm received the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. Also in 2017, the firm has been shortlisted for the prestigious Moriyama Award (result pending). A fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (FRAIC), and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), Brian was named Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (Hon FAIA) in 2001 and International Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Int. FRIBA) in 2016.

He is a Professor of Architecture at Dalhousie University where he has taught for over thirty years and has held seventeen endowed academic chairs and given 200+ lectures internationally. In 2004 he was visiting professor for the Ruth and Norman Moore Professorship at Washington University in St. Louis.

Ghost (1994-2011) was a series of international Architectural Research Laboratories that took place on the MacKay-Lyons farm. Ghost was founded by Brian as a meeting place for an international ‘school’ of architects who shared a commitment to: landscape, making, and community. The final installment of Ghost took the form of a three-day historic gathering where the twenty-five invited guests and speakers commiserated over these shared values and their ‘resistance’ to the globalization of Architecture.

The work of the firm has been recognized in 330+ publications including six monographs: Seven Stories from a Village Architect (1996); Brian MacKay-Lyons: Selected Works 1986-1997 (1998); Plain Modern: The Architecture of Brian MacKay-Lyons by Malcolm Quantrill (2005); Ghost: Building an Architectural Vision (2008); Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft, and Community (2014); and Economy as Ethic: The Work of MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, authored by Historian Robert McCarter, published April 2017. In addition to these monographs, the work of the firm has been featured in 100+ exhibitions internationally.

3 words to describe Nature?

As a fellow Canadian, Nature is IMMENSE. But, as a Nova Scotian, all Nature is a mixture of both CULTURAL and natural landscapes. As an architect, Nature is the ultimate design MODEL.

3 things Nature taught you?

NATURE WINS. Any attempt to beat nature loses.

ELEGANCE = economy of means.

RYTHM of the seasons.

We learn our manners at home, then take them out into the world. As a child, I have been imprinted by the landscape where my ancestors have dwelled for thousands of years.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

EDGE, where the land meets the sea.

ACADIE, the local Micmac word for the ecologically rich tidal estuaries around the Bay of Fundy, where I hunted and fished as a youth.

DRUMLIN, a hill that points in the direction of the retreating glaciers in the last ice age.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

I feel connected to the INFINITE. (Prospect)

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

I am ALONE. (Refuge)

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

I see a PORTAL to the center of the earth.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

A sunrise or sunset is a seasonal CLOCK.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Thunder, universally inspires TERROR.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

The wind is the weather FORECAST.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Clearly an OCEAN person.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

Nature connection is essential to my/our well-being, or GROUNDING, so it is a 10.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Dip netting spawning gaspereaux at dusk on spring evenings with friends, in the rapids, where the fresh water from the forest drops into the salt tidal estuary water. This is only one of the seasonal RITUALS that marked my PLACE in the world.


Scott Sampson

SCOTT SAMPSON was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. He is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for reimagining cities as places where people and nature thrive. He serves as the President and CEO of Science World British Columbia.

Scott’s scientific research has focused on the ecology and evolution of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, and he has conducted fieldwork in many countries, including Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Madagascar, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. He has published numerous scientific and popular articles, and regularly speaks to audiences of all ages on topics ranging from dinosaurs and education to sustainability and connecting kids with nature.

Sampson has appeared in many television documentaries and served as a science advisor for a variety of media projects, most recently the BBC movie, Walking With Dinosaurs. He has authored multiple books, including Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life, and How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature. However, he is perhaps best known as “Dr. Scott,” host and science advisor of the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS television series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company.

3 words to describe Nature?

Interwoven, Nested, Evolving

3 things Nature taught you?

Wonder, Deep Connection, Humility

3 most treasured Nature spots?

While I have had the pleasure of traveling to a number of countries around the world, my most treasured nature spots have been those that I have been able to return to again and again. They are the ones I know the best, and that resonate with me most deeply.

Long Beach (Tofino area), Vancouver Island

Marin Headlands, California

Red Rock Country, southern Utah

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Awe (in its vastness)

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Wonder (in its deep, mostly unseen interconnections)

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Humbled (by the sheer power it represents from within the Earth)

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Tiny, and a little off balance (sitting, as I am, on the side of a giant, rolling sphere)

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Resonance (it is as if I feel the thunder more from the inside out, than the outside in)

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

A deep appreciation for shelter

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Growing up in Vancouver, BC, I was raised at the intersection of ocean, mountain, and forest, so for me they are interwoven. But if I had to pick one only, it would be the ocean.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

While still a child, camping with my family in the interior of British Columbia, I went off on my own (as usual) in search for interesting rocks and (hopefully) fossils. I spent a joyous hour or two on the side of a steep, boulder-strewn slope, turning over rocks and hunting for whatever wonders might be revealed. (I may have rolled a few rocks down the hillside as well.) Eventually I stopped and sat for a long while on a flat rock with a view of the valley below. When I finally headed back to our campsite, I wanted to show my parents where I had been. Late in the day, we walked back to the spot, to find a rattlesnake lounging on the very same flat rock I had sat on just hours earlier. I presume that it was soaking in the last rays of sun before a night of hunting. Although my first reaction was a twinge of fear, my lasting sense was one of interconnection—with the snake, the rock, and that place.


Camille Preston

CAMILLE PRESTON is a psychologist, executive coach, consultant, speaker, and internationally recognized expert on Virtual Effectiveness. She is the founder and CEO of the organizational consulting firm AIM Leadership, and the author of two books: Rewired: How to Work Smarter, Live Better, and Be Purposefully Productive in an Overwired World and Create More Flow: Igniting Peak Performance in an Overwired World.

For more than twenty years, Camille has guided leaders, executives, policy makers, professionals, and individuals alike to new heights of leadership, performance, efficiency, and greater happiness and fulfillment. Her clients span industries and fields around the globe, including executives from NBC, Zappos, MGMMirage, Citrix, the Corporate Executive Board, Mars, Verizon, GE, CapitalOne, the US Army, and many others.

Beyond work, Camille is an avid runner, yogi, and adventure traveler. She has worked on five continents, traveled to 39 countries, and currently lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband, Mark, and their son, Preston and daughter, Adeline.

3 words to describe Nature?

Life-source (vital, energizing)

Teacher

Diversity (if you connect with how amazing, vast, diverse and profound nature is - it transforms your interactions elsewhere…. if you know the dessert and the ocean and the mountains - it helps you deal with different personalities, different life experiences)

3 things Nature taught you?

Centering

Humility (so beautiful, so powerful, so ever-changing)

To recharge OFTEN (being in nature recharges…)

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Sitting in a kayak in the center of Squam Lake - especially early morning, at dusk.

Top of Powder Mountain, in Utah - vast views, diverse landscape, intersection of so many forces - wild and beautiful.

Church Island Chapel - Squam. It is a sanctuary in a pine grove, surrounded by water… where I have gone with my greatest heartaches and greatest desires

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Any type of water is profoundly powerful for me as I have a lot of fire in my personality. I need to be around water otherwise I’m off balance. I always seek out water - on my morning runs, on my ideal vacations, etc.

Something about the moisture in the waves, the space that sits above the ocean.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Reminded that I am just part of a larger system, a speck on this earth. You see the grandeur, the longevity, the strength - and it gives me focus.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

It gives me the force to change, surrender to greater things. I loved driving in Chile - so many roads are built to frame a volcano. Almost as if there is deep reverence for their force to create and destroy.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Morning - I think about where / what to create, how to leave a mark and feel a sense of deep possibility.

Evenings - I think about all that is, all that I have been blessed with. There is a sense of gratitude to be.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Humbled by the powerful force of nature - AND all that I don’t understand about it.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Grateful to snuggle deep into bed. For having safety, protection, and emotional community.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I’m a water person… I need to be.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10…. I can tell when I haven’t been “in it”. Nature drives where I live, how I engaged, the ways I create balance within myself.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Every summer I spent at Squam Lake. All this time unplugging, slowing down, learning a new rhythm, adapting to a new pace of life. We would also spend 3-4wks as a family backpacking. Now, as a mom - I’m humbled that they would leave the lake and “choose” a harder interaction with nature - to teach us life skills.


David Nihill

DAVID NIHILL is the author of the best-selling book Do You Talk Funny? and the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. His work has been featured in Inc., Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, The Irish Times, WSJ, and Forbes. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School he calls San Francisco home when immigration officials permit, and was named on the 2017 Irish America 100 List, which recognizes the accomplishments of the best and the brightest Irish-American and Irish-born leaders.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Inspiring, awe, wonder

3 things Nature taught you? 

Patience, appreciation, fear

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Annanpurna Nepal, Tofu Mozambique, Salt Flats Bolivia

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Like kiteboarding or swimming

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?  

Like running but also like stopping

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

In awe

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Grateful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

Alive

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Like kiteboarding

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

9..but why not 10, it should be 10 :)

Share with us a childhood nature memory.

When I was 7 years old I went fishing for tadpoles by a small river. I urinated without surveying my surroundings and had an argument with an electrical fence. Exactly as memorable...and painful as it sounds :)


Praveen Varshney

PRAVEEN VARSHNEY has been a principal of Varshney Capital Corp., a Vancouver based merchant banking, venture capital and corporate advisory services firm, since 1991. He is a director or officer of various publicly traded companies including Mogo (Co-Founder) and BetterU Education Corp. He is a Co-Founder of G-PAK and former CFO of Carmanah Technologies Corp. which became Canada's largest solar company. He was Co-Founder of a predecessor of Mountain Province Diamonds who’s Gahcho Kué in September 2016 became the world’s largest new diamond mine since 2003 & De Beers’ second-largest producer behind its Jwaneng mine in Botswana.

Mr. Varshney is a Toniic member and a long-time member of both EO Entrepreneurs Organization & TiE (Founding Director). He’s on a number of non-profit boards such as The Varshney Family Charitable Foundation, OneProsper.org and a Founding Member of instrumentbeyondborders.org. Mr. Varshney is a SVP Vancouver Partner, a Vancouver Police Foundation Trustee, and on the Advisory boards of Room to Read - Vancouver and The Thomas Edison Innovation Foundation in New Jersey, USA.

Mr. Varshney is a past recipient of Business in Vancouver's 40 Under 40 Awards.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Amazing, beautiful, wonderful.

3 things Nature taught you? 

To be grateful for the things in life that are free & can provide so much happiness – grass, flowers, trees.

Can also be a force to be reckoned with so to be respectful of that & situations that can arise.

There has to be a God, who else & how else could all this have been created!

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Any beach on the planet, especially in Pt.Roberts, WA, USA where we have a small cabin by the ocean.

Walking through Pacific Spirit Regional Park near our home in Vancouver with our labradoodle dog, Ozzy.

Anywhere in Hawaii like on the Big Island where we have a home.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...? 

Wonderful!

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

Alive!

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

In awe!

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

Thankful to be alive & happy.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

A bit scared & a bit in awe.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

A bit scared & a bit in awe.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Wow tough choice, I’m going to go with Ocean.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10 but 12 if you’ll let me go with it.

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Growing up during the younger years, because our parents didn’t have much money, we did a lot of picnics so I have vivid amazing memories of all the various parks in the city & neighboring areas we’d visit, my siblings & I would toss a baseball around & even play hockey on the grass with street hockey sticks!


Hiroko Demichelis

HIROKO I. DEMICHELIS  holds a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology and one in an Applied Positive Psychology (University of East London, Uk). She is a Registered Clinical Counsellor, she is certified in neurofeedback and in EMDR. She is trained in Mindfulness (Bangor University) and she is an advocate for modern meditation. She is the owner of the Vancouver Brain Lab, a clinical practice dedicated to support individuals to heal, flourish and reach their potential. Also, She is the co-founder of Moment Meditation, a project based on science based meditation. She is the proud mom of Blanca, she loves good Italian fashion, design and gelato.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Pristine, astonishing, restorative.

3 things Nature taught you?

You cannot stop the wind with your hands, everything shifts and nothing stays the same. When in the quicksand, stop fighting and try to float

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Third Beach. Whyteclyff park (the little island you can only reach w low tide), a secret little fall on the way to Whistler

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

The sound of the waves calms whatever storm is happening in my brain. I swim in the ocean all year long. I go and I scream out loud (it is soo cold so to distract myself I scream: "it's tropical!!!" ). It feels like a hug!

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Forests feels like a crowd of friends!

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Volcano! I have only seen Mount Etna in Sicily from afar. It made me feel like I should always be humble!

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

A wonderful holiday in the BVI. Romantic. ;-)

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Childhood in Venice, where everything shakes!

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Safe if I am cosy at home.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean, big time.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9. A lot.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My childhood was spent in Venice, Italy. We have a very special type of nature is Venice as it is surrounded by a lagoon. One of my best memories is being on my dad's rowing boat, in the lagoon, my mom and dad chatting, playing guitar, drinking wine with friends, and us children watching the stars.


My mother

Families are complicated. After 15 years of tumultuous and often absent communication, my mother and I have mended our differences and picked up where we left off, back to a time when our relationship was what one of a mother-son should be. A lot of who I am today is because of her, even my love of nature.  As a young boy, she always made sure that we spent as much time exploring the shores of the St-Lawrence river or roaming the local woods. I am really grateful for the values and skills she taught me. Thank you mother.

3 words to describe Nature?

Beauty, Respect and Strength

3 things Nature taught you?

That beauty doesn’t cost a thing. That it is the best place for your mind to wander and meditate. That we need to respect it because, simply, we are part of it.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Close to water so that I can hear the sound of waves or the sound of a running creek. Leaning against a tree so that I can feel its energy. Walking under the rain, even better when it is warm.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

In peace, meditative, and small.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

If alone, I am a bit worried. If I am with others, I feel in harmony, I feel the energy.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

In awe... from far away. But also insecure.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Happy, calm, mesmerized by the perfect beauty. I am fascinated by how it changes, how it evolves - the colors, shades and forms.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

I simply love hearing thunder! It is so delightful! It is exciting! I want to run outside and watch the storm... from sitting on a chair on a veranda though!

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

I love falling asleep to the sound of the wind whistling. That said, I wouldn’t want to be in a hurricane or tornado - terrifying!

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Water!! Whether the ocean, a river, or a creek.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10. But at the same time, I am not dependant on it to be happy.

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

One memory I have is at my grand parents’ chalet, there was a vast field nearby where we gathered wild berries. Another one is by the St-Lawrence River where I spent countless hours playing in tide pools looking for little fish and shells. I also remember loving relaxing in a hammock, looking up to the sky and the top of trees, just letting my imagination run free.


Meredith Shirk

MEREDITH SHIRK is the founder of Svelte, a multifaceted approach to attaining one’s optimal lifestyle. Shirk is  passionate about achieving peak performance and has consulted for major fitness brands. She is currently developing a line of health food products. She holds a NASM Personal trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certifications and is a former 3x All - America collegiate water polo player.

3 words to describe Nature?

Powerful. Unmoving. Serene

3 things Nature taught you?

Sufficiency. Patience. To Be humble

3 most treasured Nature spots?

7 Sisters, Baja Mexico. Open Ocean near West palm beach Florida. Under the ocean

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Calm. Reflective. Grateful

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Small. Appreciative. Awe struck

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Vulnerable. Curious. Amazed

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Happy. Peaceful. Like time has stopped

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Excited. A bit scared. Intrigued

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Nostalgic. Restless. Like I need to nestle in

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

OCEAN ;)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

12

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I used to dive the reefs of west palm beach with my father and sisters.  No matter what mood i was in every time i was submerged in the ocean water, everything was calm. One afternoon my dad took me to dive the "Breakers Reef" and I remember diving down to the bottom (maybe 10 feet), and just sitting there.  I was just 13 or 14 years old, but I vividly remember seeing a large group of jacks swimming in front of me. They were HUGE fish, but just so graceful in the water... That moment has stuck with me as I just remember the feeling of being so small in something so vast and beautiful...


Cody Shirk

CODY SHIRK is an international investor who sources his deals by one simple method: exploring.

3 words to describe Nature?

Pure, vast, mystery

3 things Nature taught you?

Humility, joy, fear

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Channel Islands (off of California), Baja desert, Central America jungle

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Humbled

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Curious

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Fearful

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Lucky

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Alive

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Aware

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

I grew up in a rural area of Malibu, CA. I didn't have any friends that lived close by, so I'd spend most of my days hiking or surfing by myself. On the weekends, I'd often pack a small backpack with water and food. I'd just start walking into the hills, bushwhacking the coastal chaparral and avoiding cactus. I always wanted to know what was around the next corner, because I knew there was a good chance no one had ever walked the ground that I was on. I've always like that feeling. The feeling of mystery. Of curiosity. Of knowing that the next corner could be hiding an incredible secret. On one of these hikes, I had probably walked several miles into the hills. It had taken me hours of climbing over rocks, avoiding yucca bushes, and picking ticks off my arms. I was probably 12 years old at the time, so although I was adventurous, I still had that childhood fear of the unknown inside of me. I ended up hiking into a dried up creek bed with sheer stone walls on either side. After walking up the creek bed for a little while I came to a huge rock that was a waterfall during the rainy season. At the base of the waterfall was a small amount of water. I couldn't hike up the waterfall face and either side was impassible. It was a box canyon. What I didn't notice was that there was an enormous coyote drinking water from the tiny amount of left over water. It's grey coat perfectly blended in with the stone background. Frozen in fear, I just looked at the animal. I realized that I had completely blocked it's exit, and I knew that I was in an extremely vulnerable position. I though the coyote was going to eat me. I just stood there. The coyote finally walked towards me and passed by me within an arms length. It didn't run and it didn't avoid me. It just casually walked by while making perfect eye contact. Maybe some kind of mutual understanding.


Michele Benoy-Westmorland

MICHELE BENOY-WESTMORLAND is a freelance photographer represented by Getty, Corbis, and other major agencies. She is a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers and The Explorers Club. In 2001 she was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. In 2015, she received the NANPA Fellows Award. She has won several awards, including the Environmental Photography Invitational, Photo District News, and the PNG Underwater Photo Competition. Her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, National Geographic Traveler, Outdoor Photographer, Scuba Diving, and many other conservation, outdoor, and underwater magazines. She is currently directing her first documentary “Headhunt Revisited”, the story of Caroline Mytinger, an American portrait painter best known for her paintings of indigenous people in the South Seas during the late 1920s.

3 words to describe Nature?

Awakening, spiritual, renewing

3 things Nature taught you?

Humbleness, respect, patience

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea; Cape Nelson, Papua New Guinea; the mountains & forests of the Pacific Northwest

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

You now are asking the right person!  Peaceful, joyful and sometimes sadness in respect to the condition of our ocean environment

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

I feel much the same about the forests as I do the oceans.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Awe, amazement, admiration

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Joyful, thankful, restful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Amazement, wonderment, sometime surprised with a touch of fear

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel?

Since I lived in Miami during Hurricane Andrew, howling winds always make me feel a little stressed and careful about being outdoors.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

9

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Spending time camping in beautiful forests with my family


Charlene Winfred

CHARLENE WINDFRED is a Fujifilm X-Photographer who captures exquisitely the byproduct of a life in perpetual transit. She was born and raised in Singapore. She lived for 15 years in Australia. In 2013, she sold everything and began the life of a nomad.

3 words to describe Nature?

Overwhelming, longing, life

3 things Nature taught you?

That life persists. That death comes for us all. That to be able to walk, to test my body against the earth, is one of the finest abilities I am lucky enough to take for granted (at the moment, anyway)

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Arches National Park. The open ocean. Any inner city park, being the closest I normally get to Nature... sad but true!

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Overwhelmed and calmed at the same time

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Like I want to go for a very long walk and look at everything. This very rarely happens, however.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

I've never actually seen one, so I'll get back to you when I do!

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Sunrise - it's been a while since I've seen one of those. Next! Sunset - whenever I'm in a position to see an entire sunset vista, it honestly makes me feel like having a glass of wine.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Glad to be inside!

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Like I want to be outside, running around like a crazy person.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Of the 4, the Ocean has been the only one I can say I've been to enough to be familiar with its many moods. I like to think I'd be a mountain person, because I find rocks strangely comforting to be around (and climbing is one of the things I've wished I could afford to do since I was a kid), but that could be me romanticizing both mountains and my affinity for them! Again, will get back to you if/when that actually happens.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10, because it's everything. We can't live without nature can we?

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

There are no maritime background, or lineage of proud/rogue sailors in my family’s runaway past. My father was a mad keen fisherman though, and that’s probably where my draw to the ocean started. Dad would disappear for days on these extended fishing trips in the South China sea when I was little, bringing back ice chests full of all sorts of fish and a bunch of awesome stories each time (he was a sensational story teller). I begged to go for years and kept being told it would happen as soon as I was old enough.

So that was my 8th birthday present. My parents worried for their small, sickly child out at sea during the onset of the monsoon season, but as Dad would recall about 20 years later, I’d positively flourished in those 5 days. That was the beginning of yearly trips in Malaysian waters.

The things I remember about being at sea: Stormy days – large approaching masses of angry water waiting to eat the boat, securing anything that would fly when being tossed around. Listening to the boat creak and moan woefully in the thrash. Afterwards, small fish roiling on the water as the clouds moved away, far as the eye could see in every direction; a lone marlin worrying a frantic ball of its prey in the water, the glorious still-frame of a sailfish in flight, a line of sunlight gleaming off its saltwater lacquered dorsal fin, down curved flank and flashing off its sickle of tail. The curious, heady mix of brine and diesel fumes (and in this case, old fish) that to me, will always mean “port.”

But what I retain most about those days is staring up at clouds puffing into existence, wavering shards of sunlight converging conical to a point in the water, or at a horizon that was never really still, the way it is on land. I never took to fishing, but it allowed me to spend days dreaming in any available spot on the boat, with or without a rod in hand.


Ayelet Baron

AYELET BARON is the visionary author behind Our Journey to Corporate Sanity: Transformational Stories from the Frontiers of 21st Century. Prior to being a speaker, coach, workshop facilitator, and committed to making a transformational impact on business, Baron was an Innovator-in-Residence in Roche/Genentech's Strategic Innovation Product Development organization, and a Chief Strategy Officer for Cisco Canada.

3 words to describe Nature?

Humans. Grounding. Reality. We are nature; nature is grounding; nature ground us in reality.

3 things Nature taught you?  

To appreciate beauty as is. To recognize the life force in animals, plants and humans. To remember to follow nature in business - a time to plant, a time to water, a time to nurture and a time to harvest.

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Diving in Fiji - the most spectacular underwater park; white sands of Turks and Caicos, and the deep blue Mediterranean Sea.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?  

At peace. The whole experience of the beauty and infinity of the ocean from looking to listening to breathing it in is exhilarating.

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...? 

In awe imagining what the trees have witnessed while we simply pass by in a flash. The conversations they must be having must be incredible as they show us what a connected network truly is.

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...? 

The fire within each of us that can tip over at any moment and that emotions are natural if we allow them to be expressed

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...? 

The cycle of life and death, with the depth of colors and opportunities

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...? 

The power of nature to make a statement and bring clarity

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...? 

Alive and attune with reality

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Ocean first but I love them all ... what could be better than an ocean with a mountain, forest and/or desert? I have had the pleasure of experiencing many breathtaking combinations

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

I will always remember the first time I walked through an orange orchard in Israel when I was 6 years old and got to pick oranges from the tree. That smell of the orange buds has stayed with me forever. Then, my grandfather retired and bought an almond orchard and as a kid, I spent hours peeling the two cases of almonds and organizing them in neat piles. It helped me appreciate the source of our nutrients and also sparked a love of creation with cooking naturally. I always need to know where the food we consume comes from in nature.


Erick Tseng

ERICK TSENG is a Product Director at Facebook where he oversees product management for the company’s global advertising growth and solutions. Erick joined Facebook in May 2010 as the Head of Mobile Products.

3 words to describe Nature?

Magical, beautiful, essential

3 things Nature taught you?

To take risks, how much beauty there is in the world, how fragile our existence is on this earth

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Yosemite, Galapagos, Himalayas

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Small

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Fresh

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Empowered

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?

Calm

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?

Excited

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?

Cold

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Traveling to a beach near Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and going tide-pooling amongst the rocks. I loved looking for little fish, crabs, and mussels tucked away in the shallow waters. I'd also collect fresh seaweed, and my mother would clean it up, and cook seaweed pork soup that night. Delicious!