TreeSong’s Third Annual “14 Days of Holiday Giving” Silent Auction Has Begun!


Our Holiday Silent Auction has become a tradition and is truly a joyful event.  You are invited to visit the auction’s Facebook page and join the fun!

While supporting TreeSong’s mission of nature connection and environmental literacy, you will be able to receive wonderful services, food, art and music, all provided by generous local businesses, practitioners, artists and musicians. There’s an amazing selection of auction items, Including everything from yoga classes to massages and acupuncture, from rock wall climbing to a wild edibles adventure, from fun art and beautiful jewelry to fine dining and a movie! And so much more… Don’t miss this wonderful chance to Give and Receive, just in time for the holidays.

The auction runs through Thursday, December 15 at midnight.

Click here to visit the Auction page, and Enjoy!

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Why is it important to connect with nature?

TreeSong’s mission and programs are inspired in large part by the work of Jon Young and his colleagues with the Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall, Washington and the 8 Shields Institute.  Below is a lovely offering from the 8 Shields website which addresses the question:  Why is it important to connect with nature?

Ecopsychologists are beginning to catch up with what indigenous rites of passage specialists have known for thousands of years: Immersion in the natural world brings life enhancing peace, joy, zest, the ability to meet life’s challenges with a positive attitude, and to see the interconnectedness of all things. The external awareness that builds from nature connection will often lead to changes in the internal awareness of people causing them to make choices of life-style and attitude that are necessary to lower the overall ecological footprint of them, their families and their communities.

Nature offers a rich complexity of ever-changing patterns. The textures and forms of the natural world appeal directly to the deepest aspects of human consciousness. At the most basic level, we ARE nature. There is no separation. We recognize that humans are part of the tapestry of life on this planet.

We recognize that our senses, minds, and bodies have developed in rhythm with the natural world; continual primary contact with nature is beneficial and needed for optimal health and well-being. A number of studies demonstrate that obesity, depression, and other problems are linked with lack of time spent in the outdoors. This is called “nature deficit disorder”.

We have seen over 25 years the very positive results of providing youth and adults with regular, deep immersion experiences in nature in a safe, community-oriented setting.

What’s the difference between learning ABOUT nature and connecting WITH nature?

One can learn about nature on a purely intellectual level, which brings a certain satisfaction and appreciation of its own. One could accomplish this type of learning through reading or in the lab, without ever setting foot in the fields and creeks. Certainly the intellectual level of learning is important and we include this as an aspect of holistic nature connection.

There is another way to learn about nature – to meet the world on its own terms, through a direct sensory experience. When this type of encounter is repeated over and over, day after day, deep connections form between the individual and place. Roots form on an emotional level as a sense of peace, curiosity, and wonder develop. At the same time, a network of new neural pathways in the brain is forming and the consciousness literally expands to encompass the rich variety of textures, scents, sounds, and images of nature. Lasting memories are formed during this type of deep sensory immersion. this is called primary learning – it takes place on a direct, visceral level.

When this type of deep interactive experience is combined with the interest and guidance of a mentor who is asking good questions and role modeling positive interactions with nature, the learning journey takes a quantum leap forward. The land becomes alive with stories which the journeyer is an integral part of. Questions become journeys of awareness and explorations of interrelationship. Empathy naturally develops, as do the gifts and strengths of the individual.

8 Shields is an organization founded by Jon Young, devoted to supporting deep nature connection and cultivating regenerative community.

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TreeSong Artists Nature Note Card Collection


This special collection of note cards features the nature-inspired art from six local artists who are near and dear to TreeSong’s heart:  Andrew Pate, Marlene Cowan, Linda Hunter, Anna Wiancko-Chasman, Brad Smith and Beth Norwood.  The images depict the resplendent wild beauty of the Pacific Northwest and were generously donated by the artists to support TreeSong’s mission of Nature Connection.

The collaboration of the artists, TreeSong’s Board and TreeSong’s Arts Committee has been joyful and has produced a truly unique collection.  We hope you will partake in the fruits of this project and gift yourself and those you love with its beauty.

Each set of 6 is yours with a $20 donation with no limit as to the number of sets you can request.
Click here to be taken to our online order form.

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Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Anna Wiancko-Chasman


     As Fall deepens, the days darken and leaves color, the hearth beckons and thoughts turn inward. Dampness moves us into our homes and into our dreams.

     But I do love summer. It brings play and sunshine, long busy days and starlit campfires. Birdsong and flowers fill the senses.  As an artist, inspiration is all around me, under the brilliant blue skies and vermilion sunsets or while walking mountain meadows and rocky trails. The delight of the natural world calls.

     Though the days are long and sunny, for me it is hard to be inside and miss anything. Taking to my studio is something I do only when all the outside chores are done and I’m satiated with natural beauty.  And summer joys of family, friends and barbecues, paddling on a lake, beach combing and garage sales……

     So I must command the muse to be still and wait.

     But now, in Fall, she rejoices in the cool dark drippy days. It is the season to create without the distraction of the ever exciting and changing plethora of birds to watch, deer and wildflowers to photograph, vegetables to water, and weeds to continually conquer.  For me, Fall and Winter are the renewed opportunity to be in my studio, conflict and guilt free. I greet my space like an old friend, getting lost among saved summer sketches and photographs, paints, clay, metal scraps and driftwood collected on sandy beaches. I apologize to misplaced and forgotten projects, half started, like partially opened gifts.  Others, less successful, are simply a reminder that summer art making can be hurried and disjointed.

Anna’s Nature Notes continue here.

Sunday, November 20th & Sunday,  December 11th,  10:00 am – 12:00 pm,
Anna  is offering her Creating with Clay classes.  Visit TreeSong’s website for details. 

Anna Wiancko-Chasman

Anna frequently works in clay,  mixed media, and found objects to create unusual and expressive sculptures and assemblages. She draws most of her inspiration from a deep and lifelong love of nature and animals. Anna teaches classes in clay and mixed media to adults and children. She is also an art therapist and dedicated member of the TreeSong community.
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Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Lisa Marie Peloquin, Ph.D.


Deciding what’s for dinner is not an easy process-especially when the average U.S. American supermarket presents us with over 47,000 different products (FMI 2014).  While mass media marketing attempts to persuade us that grocery shopping is an expression of cherished cultural values like “freedom” and “individuality,” over-abundance of choice actually complicates decision-making.  Social scientists, consumer advocacy groups and a quick trip to Scandinavia clearly indicate that you are not alone, mesmerized and waffling over that towering wall of curly green kale, collards and chard in the grocery store.  In these Nature Notes, I reflect as a cultural sociologist and culinary nutrition expert on ways to help you minimize the overwhelming and maximize a loving connection to the natural world as you hunt and gather your nourishment.

When encountering life’s challenges, sometimes to “Just say ‘No’” accomplishes a simple, desired purpose.  Observe the persuasive effects of chanting this esoteric mantra of  “No” by any vocal two-year old.  Being a defiant toddler with a visceral awareness of preferences and limits is undoubtedly a positive stage in human development-ask WebMD.  Philosophers have examined a suspiciously similar practice by which toddlers in adult bodies, a.k.a. “grown-ups,” likewise deploy the “No! No! No!” to help us clarify an increasingly complex and differentiated world.

Lisa’s Nature Notes continue here.


On October 15th, Lisa is offering her Fall culinary nutrition workshop,Healing with the Autumn Harvest: Pumpkin Love in the Global Kitchen‘ which promises to be both richly informative as well as delicious!  Click here for details.

Lisa Crop sm

Lisa Peloquin, Ph.D. and Culinary Nutrition Expert

Lisa Marie lives among the beautiful plants and animals of the Columbia River Gorge. A cultural sociologist and Culinary Nutrition Expert, Lisa’s work helps others to create healing foods that nurture life within our bodies, relationships, and environment. When not in the kitchen or the forest, you can find Lisa posting her creations on:
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TreeSong’s Fall Equinox Celebration


A beautiful afternoon was spent on September 18th as folks gathered for art, ceremony, sweet community connection and good food.  All to celebrate the arrival of Fall.  Much gratitude to all who attended.  A special dose of thanks to Anna Wiancko-Chasman, Marlene Cowan and Lisa Peloquin for supporting the creation of a most wonderful gathering!

Happy Autumn!




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Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Laura Whittemore

I watch birds because birds are always doing something worth watching. Observing and listening to birds is an opportunity to spend time outside and increase my awareness of creatures living around me, not only in my own backyard but in countless wild areas of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Each season offers something unique and wondrous for bird watchers. Late Summer is filled with young birds recently out of the nest—fledglings from eagles to chickadees have a distinct teenagery look: a little scruffy and a bit bewildered. By Fall, neotropical migrants like swallows, hummingbirds, swifts, and warblers, who raised their young here, have departed North America and flown to Central or South America for the nonbreeding season. In November and December, waterfowl arrive from northern latitudes to winter on the open water of our bays and lakes, and even the ocean. And just when we think winter will never end, those warblers, swallows, hummingbirds, and more arrive back to our skies and woodlands to raise another brood and keep our insect populations in check. Birds make these migrations year after year, flying hundreds or thousands of miles under their own power, guided by stars and instinct.I made my own far less spectacular migration this week when I moved into a new home just two miles from the old one. I’m interested in meeting my new human neighbors, but more intriguing are the voices coming from the small woods behind the house. I hear Western Tanagers saying a farewell pid-er-ick before starting their southbound migration; Cedar Waxwings are flocking by the dozens as they search for trees and shrubs laden with tasty berries; Barn Swallows zip over the local school’s playing field, filling up on bugs to fuel their long migration; and every day I’ve heard a White-breasted Nuthatch calling, so different from the Red-breasted I’m used to. What transitions will we observe over the next twelve months? Will we have the Golden-crowned Sparrows and Varied Thrushes that spend their winters at lower elevation? Will a young Cooper’s Hawk stake out our bird feeders as it learns to efficiently catch songbirds? Will an owl start hooting and courting a mate this winter? Which warblers will wander through our woods next spring?

In the spirit of sharing my passion for birds and their wondrous and interesting lives, I’m offering Masters of the Sky:  Birds of Prey in the Pacific Northwest at TreeSong on September 10th, where you’ll learn the differences between the raptors found here in winter, and where to go to find them. On a separate day (October 8th), we’ll take a trip up to the Bonney Butte HawkWatch site to watch Fall raptor migration in action. On May 21 and 22 of 2017, join me at TreeSong for an overnight birds and birdsong weekend, where we’ll immerse ourselves in the sights and sounds of Spring!
Laura Whittemore
Laura Whittemore
Since 2000, Laura has been teaching classes for the Audubon Society in Portland. Her “Beginning Birding” and “Birding by Ear” classes open the door to our learning about the fascinating and interesting lives of our winged neighbors. Her goal as a teacher is to help students raise their awareness of the natural world. Laura finds that taking just five minutes to slow down and watch birds creates a meaningful and inspiring connection with the beauty all around us.

To find out more about Laura’s upcoming class, click here.

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Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Michelle Fox

The Importance of Nature Connection for Kids


Cultivating a child’s relationship with nature engenders health and wholeness.  Today’s children  spend considerably less time outside and even less in natural settings. The effects are notable.  TreeSong’s mission statement emphasizes the importance of connecting children to self, community and nature. There has been a multitude of studies that document how spending time in nature impacts virtually all facets of a child’s existence, including the physical, mental, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.  These studies categorically support that exposure to and interaction with the natural world are imperative to well-being, creative and problem-solving capacities, and emotional and intellectual development.

Fostering love for the natural world not only benefits the individual child, but also has a far-reaching and important impact on our world. Children who form a relationship with nature are more likely to grow up to be adults who are dedicated stewards of our precious earth. We care for what we know, understand and love. Our planet needs as many conscious, caring individuals as possible to nurture, restore and passionately act on her behalf.

We at TreeSong deeply believe in providing a place, in this amazing Northwest riverside forest, for children to play, learn, explore, connect and nourish all aspects of themselves. We believe these embodied experiences are what children need on a fundamental level, and it’s what the world needs:  future generations that protect and care for the earth.

Check out the following links for excellent resources and research articles from the children in nature movement:

Children & Nature Network
Richard Louv


Michelle Fox offers a variety of nature connection programs for children of all ages.  Click here to take a look!

michelle21Michelle Fox
Founder and Executive Director of TreeSong,
Educator and Mother

Michelle fulfills a 15 year dream of supporting the wholeness of children (and families) through nature-based exploration and learning. She’s been a teacher of young children for almost 30 years, teaching art, Spanish, preschool, Maiden Spirit (program for 9-13 year old girls) and Children’s Yoga.

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Our August newsletter is now available

Simply click on the following link:

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TreeSong exists and continues with the support from you all, its generous community. Our current thank yous:

The first goes out to IQ Credit Union for their generous donation from their IQ for Kids foundation, which supports community causes that help improve the lives of children.

The second thank you goes out to Diane Routt and Jane Doudney for their donation of a laptop (which we sorely needed!).

We certainly appreciate the loving support!  THANK YOU!!!


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