+ WILDERNESS PROJECT
The W+W project is a photo series that explores individual women's connection to nature.
Each story of connection is unique.
For some, it meant growing up with the wilderness as one's back yard and a deep sense of belonging. For other's a story of healing, nurture, adventure, discovery of the self and of the earth.
'The forest is one of the most therapeutic and relaxing environments. I grew up outside the city, and spent many hours outside in the forest by myself, creating an imaginary world to play in. Whenever I need to take a break from the bustle of my everyday life, I find myself craving time in the forest. I want to look up at the tall trees and take a deep breath to inhale the rich earthy smells of the conifers. The quiet moments in the trees are only bested by the apex of a hike, where the clearing of the trees reveals a beautiful vista to reward you for the work you've put in to get there. Looking out at the vast view can make you see things more clearly and give you some perspective on your place in the world. I miss the tall mountains of BC every day, and can't wait' to get back there some day.'
'I grew up in the forest in a round house that my dad built with his community of friends. My childhood was spent creating imaginary worlds out of the forest around me - the bubbling stream coming down the mountain cascaded sparkling potion, the shimmering lake down the trail with frolicking mermaids, the boulders stacked so perfectly that they had to be a doorway to another world... As a kid, the wilderness was my playground and as I got older, the wilderness became so much more: my refuge, my school, and my source of grounding and inspiration. The magic has remained, but in the form of ecological sciences. Through my travels, I came to realise that the wilderness I was lucky enough to experience, in which water trickled down the mountain, clean enough to drink, was not the reality of the rest of the world. I experienced the profound contrast between safe water here and unsafe water “there”. Dipping a glass into the stream beside my house and drinking it was a world apart from not being able to drink the tap water in our tropical home away from home. That dichotomy changed the course of my studies and my life. I became passionate about working to close the gap between my clean water reality and others’. Being lucky enough to grow up in the wilderness, I feel a responsibility to live in harmony with the natural world, treat the environment with respect, and find natural solutions to local and global problems.'
'I always have been (connected to nature). I grew up in the Gatineau Hills in a house in the woods on a dirt road.
The forest was the playground. In the summer, it felt like I spent more time in the river than on land.
In the winter, we embraced the cold and the snow. I loved the four distinct seasons and the natural change
and rhythm they brought to life.'
'I grew up in Northern Saskatchewan, where over half of the province is covered by the expansive northern boreal forest, boasting over 100,000 lakes and rivers. Contrary to the perception of Saskatchewan being only a prairie province, my childhood memories are deeply rooted in the forest. Skating on frozen lakes, cutting down Christmas trees, witnessing thunderstorms roll in and out across a body of water – these moments shaped my early years. Boating alongside a moose, howling with wolves, listening to owls hoot at night, observing beavers swim next to Grey Owls cabin, and watching fireflies dance after the most beautiful sunset imaginable are the cherished experiences that have shaped the person I am today. I have traveled the world, lived by the Great Lakes, amongst the stunning Rocky Mountains, and now on the West Coast of Canada. The natural world continually fills my bucket, but undeniably, the forest is my sanctuary.'
'Growing up in the west island, I had what felt like unlimited access to green spaces and water. I will always remember playing outside in my parents backyard in our patch of ferns and feeling like I was a princess of wilderness, making crowns from dandelions and collecting bugs. The smell of grass and the peace I possess lying down in the shade on a hot summer day is absolutely the most luxurious feeling for me.'
'Being in nature has always been a huge part of my life. My first experiences, exploring northern Saskatchewan - the boreal forest, the cold lakes, the forest trails. Then, getting to know southern Sask - the Qu'appelle Valley, the grasslands, the sunrises and sunsets. I have travelled far from home, usually in pursuit of connecting to the wilderness - experiencing new plains, mountains, oceans, waterfalls. I am humbled by nature - by her beauty and strength - and when I need to feel connected, all I need to do is open my door or listen closely, to feel the powerful and familiar Saskatchewan winds.'
'I was raised on food gathered in the wilds by my mother and grandmother. Foraging for wild food was a part of my family's traditions. We harvested nuts, berries, fish, and mushrooms. We preserved and froze our harvests. Being on the land and in the woods was an integral part of my childhood, one that was at times quite traumatic. Nature became a source of comfort and nourishment for me.'