Reading Nature LLC supports personal and landscape restoration to help heal self, land and a culture of separation between humans and wildlife. Our mission is to grow environmental literacy for future generations of people and wildlife.
Environmental literacy is 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 and business cultures tend to prioritize decision making from the mind. This is generally half of the equation, but to consider 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. Our services are rooted in nature awareness and storytelling, and include classes and consultations in landscape restoration and personal Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE®).
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
Vision: Restoration Inside and Out
Imagine a future 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 wildlife to thrive.
Rachael Pecore-Valdez is trained as an environmental scientist, works as an educator, and draws nature comics for fun. She is the author of Story Tracks, a comic that follows two friends, a snake and a dog, and their mostly true encounters with wildlife. She is a co-founder of a kid's nature magazine called EarthBound Journal and is also the founder of the Wolf OR-7 Expedition, a documentary film about the people along Wolf OR-7's dispersal route. She teaches nature awareness, and restoration of wild habitat and self.
Landscape Restoration: Rachael holds a B.S. in BioResource Research from Oregon State University and an M.Sc. in Holistic Science from Schumacher College in England. Holistic Science is an approach to inquiry that values multiple ways of knowing. Habitat restoration became a focus through working to protect water quality with Columbia Riverkeeper and planting native trees and shrubs with Solve. Rachael currently contracts with Columbia Land Trust and Portland Audubon as a Backyard Habitat Technician, and enjoys connecting people with ways to support pollinator and bird habitat in urban/suburban yards. She is working on an Arboriculture certificate through PCC.
Personal Restoration: Born with the nervous system of a deer, Rachael found that her innate jumpiness required calming, restorative practices in order to thrive. Quiet time in nature was key. As a young adult she found meditative time often triggered a spontaneous shivering or shaking in her body. It didn’t hurt, she could stop it at will, but it was strange! Decades later, Rachael found TRE and became certified as a TRE Provider.
ReStory’ation: With family roots in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, and generational family connections to Minnesota, Wisconsin, D.C., Virginia, North Dakota, California, Quebec, France, Slovakia, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany and Norway she comes from the stories of many places. Growing up, Rachael loved theater and nature and would often sit in her makeshift tree fort drafting elaborate plays. One of Rachael's favorite childhood stories was "The Tracker" by Tom Brown Jr., and in 2008 she attended her first class at Tom Brown Jr’s Tracker School. It was here that her love of storytelling and ecology were grounded in the art and science of wildlife tracking. She began teaching tracking at Two Rivers Farm School, and taught tracking and survival skills at summer camps for Children of the Earth Foundation and Tracker’s Earth.
Her experience teaching, along with research and advocacy in marine ecology, salmon fisheries and water quality, led Rachael to appreciate the need not just for more information but for a shift in how mainstream culture relates to nature entirely. A shift in the stories we tell. This led to the idea of the Wolf OR-7 Expedition, and the opportunity to learn about the story of an individual wolf in her home state of Oregon. With a certificate in Storytelling for Children from the International School of Storytelling, and a Comics Certificate from the Independent Publishing Resource Center, Reading Nature is at the nexus of Rachael's experience in science and art.