Reading Nature LLC

Seeds of wild literacy 

Wild literacy happens when we get to know nature over time.

Wild, or environmental literacy is also defined as an individual’s understanding, skills and motivation to make responsible decisions that consider their relationships to natural systems, communities and future generations. - No Oregon Child Left Inside Act, 2009
Environmentally literate decision making is not a skill we are born with, it is something we learn. Academic culture prioritizes decision making from the mind, business culture prioritizes the bottom line. These are important parts of the equation. However, if we are to make responsible decisions that consider our relationships to natural systems, communities and future generations we need to be able to empathize with other people and wildlife, and imagine generations into the future. This way of thinking includes the heart. Reading Nature connects head and heart for a balanced approach to nature through science and art.
I think one of the big problems with science that has led to an awful lot of unintentional cruelty is this division between head and heart. And the perception that a good scientist must be totally objective and that emotion mustn’t come in to it, to me that’s very wrong. To me, only when head and heart work in harmony can we achieve our true human potential.  - Dr. Jane Goodall on Opening a Dialogue, MasterClass
What if wild literacy looked like… a time where humans live in tune with nature. A time where we understand our place as part of an awesome ecological web, no more or less important than any other species. Where we have the skills to take care of our own survival needs as well as those our survival depends upon. Where we are motivated by our love and connections to natural systems like water, land and air, and our communities of friends, including other animals and trees. A time where we choose to listen with our minds and hearts, and intentionally balance feeling and thinking to make major decisions. Imagine taking steps today to grow into responsible human beings that support the ability of future generations of people and other wildlife to thrive.
Mission & Vision: Grow environmental literacy to support a culture of connection between humans and the rest of life. A culture where care for the earth, each other and future generations are a part of daily decision-making.
We need to shift away from a detached, exploitive relationship with nature toward one that is close, protective, and regenerative.  – Dr. Suzanne Simard, author of Finding the Mother Tree

Rachael Pecore-Valdez (she/her), aka Rae Blue Jay

Environmental Biologist, Educator, Writer

Reading Nature is the nexus of my experience as an ecologist, tracker, storyteller, educator and activist - it stems from who I am. With family roots in Oregon, Washington and Alaska, and generational immigration from Montreal, France, Slovakia, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany and Norway… I come from the stories of many places.   Born on Two Rivers Farm in Marion County, Oregon I had the privilege of being raised by a multi-faith community with strong nature mentors. I grew up with lots of nature time grazing on sheep sorrel, stinging nettle and fresh summer berries. I once built a makeshift fort in a black locust behind my home where I spent hours crafting plays and poems, mostly about bees and trees. Nature and theater were my jam.                When practical career choices had to be made, I studied BioResource Research at Oregon State University and completed an honors thesis evaluating a biomarker for pesticide exposure in juvenile steelhead. While I adore nerding out on science, I knew the lens of Western science was missing the big picture. I moved to SW England for an M.S. in Holistic Science at University of Plymouth/Schumacher College. There, at the place where England launched a colonial culture westward, I studied an approach to inquiry that values multiple ways of knowing, including a role for intuition, or heart.                  Over time, I then worked for various nonprofits organizing volunteers to monitor water quality, clean up plastic off our beaches, and I taught kids outdoor and survival skills. A passion for wildlife tracking inspired by Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School drew me to produce the Wolf OR-7 Expedition, a documentary film about the people along Wolf OR-7's dispersal route. Recently, I co-founded a kids nature magazine, EarthBound Journal, where I crafted a comic that follows two friends, a snake and a dog, and their mostly true encounters with wildlife.    I can’t stop learning, and spend my free time in classes. This is how I wound up with certificates in Storytelling for Children from the International School of Storytelling, Comics from the Independent Publishing Resource Center and as a certified provider for Tension & Trauma Release Exercises. I’m currently working on an arboriculture certificate from PCC. If there’s a theme to my zig zag career, it’s Reading Nature.