Descended from a long line of Scandinavians and Celts, it was no surprise that Sean Nordquist followed a life of the sea, exploration, and discovery. He is an educator by vocation, and a writer and storyteller by nature. As the son of teachers on the sunny shores of Southern California, Sean was taught from a young age the importance of the natural world and imbued with a desire to protect it. He has studied the environment and conservation alongside literature and writing, inspired by the works of Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, Henry David Thoreau, and Hildegard von Bingen. Sean uses the power of story to convey the importance of stewardship, environmental and ocean literacy, and a sense of urgency towards marine protection and understanding. Getting people out under the open sky – and in and on the water – has the power to spark engagement and a connection that only first hand experience can inspire. Sean is married and has two sons. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is the co-founder of People in Nature.
When I think of the phrase “People in Nature,” I am immediately transported to my childhood, camping with my father at Kings Canyon in Sequoia National Park in California. I remember fishing for rainbow trout, hiking trails with my own red, miniature-sized backpack, and the smell of the old plastic canteen bottles we carried. We wore bandannas on our heads and cut walking sticks from fallen branches, and we ate handfuls of gorp. I always picked out the M&Ms and left behind the raisins. I remember campfires and hot chocolate and my dad telling stories or reading aloud by the flickering light, big warm sleeping bags under the stars and scratchy polypropylene long-johns.
I also fondly recall days on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. We flew in a seaplane from Long Beach to Avalon, then took a motorboat to Campus-By-The-Sea at the isthmus, pulled up to the floating dock, and boarded the rope-powered skiff to be pulled in to shore. I remember the rocky beach, the cold water, wild boar and buffalo on the island, whales and seabirds off the shoreline, and the open ocean as far as the eye could see.
I have spent my entire life loving the outdoors, whether it was the sea, the mountains, the forest, or the desert. I feel much more at home outside among the wild things than I do surrounded by four walls or lots of people. There is something therapeutic about it, something that nature offers that the “civilized” world simply can’t. There is a freedom there that does not exist anywhere else. As city dwellers, we spend a lot of time with too much noise around us: televisions blaring, phones ringing, cars and lawnmowers and crowds roaring in our ears and ratcheting up our anxiety. When we go out into nature, we have the opportunity for silence. After a short while, we feel our tension melt away and the buzzing in our ears quiets. And with the silencing of the manufactured insanity, the true sounds of the world are revealed to us. We can hear the wind move the leaves, the soft waves lap at the shoreline. We hear the strange or silly or haunting calls of animals outside of our range of vision. We are reminded of what the world really is.
This is what People in Nature means to me. It is a re-connection, a reminder of where we come from and where we belong. It is where energy and creativity can come alive and reveal who we really are.