Nature Notes: Thoughts from the TreeSong Community

Featuring Michelle Fox

Celebrating 2016 and Looking Forward

The transition between years is a time to reflect on the past, to see where we’ve been, to metabolize all that’s come before, to integrate, learn from, celebrate, experience gratitude, perhaps even grieve, in response to the previous year’s unfolding events and circumstances.  With the wisdom and integrated experiences gathered, we’re then ready to turn towards the new.

When I travel through 2016 at TreeSong, I feel waves of gratitude and joy as I remember all that has occurred.  It was our fullest year yet.  As I share some of the past year’s events and programs,  I invite you to tap into the meaningful connections made, lives touched, beauty experienced, and join me in celebrating a truly glorious year.

Michelle’s Nature Notes continue here.


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A Photo Journey through 2016

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Happy Holidays!




Now is the time to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder of your life.

Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourages you to live everything here.

See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.

John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us,
For Celebration
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First, we would like to express deep gratitude to all who made our Third Annual ’14 Days of Holiday Giving’ Silent Auction possible. A big thank you going out to the practitioners, artists, and local businesses who gave so generously. You laid the foundation for a wonderful two weeks and a very successful auction. And, of course, all of you who bid during the auction, thank you!!!! We couldn’t have done it without you all, either! What a lovely intertwining of gifts and community this has been.

TreeSong will receive $1,085 which will go far in supporting our mission of nature connection and the arts. Big holiday blessings to all of you!

Those with the winning bids will be contacted either by phone, email or Facebook message. If you have any questions, feel free to call Michelle at 360-619-2207. Also, if you are new to the TreeSong scene and feel that we may not have your contact info., please call, or you can email us at

Here are the results:

~ Flower Essence Blend #1: Brecia Kralovic-Logan $10
~ Flower Essence Blend #2: Sara Martin $10
~ Two Nights at River Bend Lodge: Marina Merrill $175
~ After Three Photography Session: Dawnda Cline Durbin $65
~ Wild Edible & Medicinal Plant Adventure: Marina Merrill $75
~ Skamania Lodge Dinner for Two: Brecia Kralovic-Logan $60
~ Skamania Acupuncture Gift Certificate: Lisa Peloquin $30
~ Light Embodiment Massage: Dawnda Cline Durbin $55
~ Breathing Room 5 Class Card: Brecia Kralovic-Logan $55
~ Reflexology Session: Gretchen Meyer $60
~ Haircut and Style: Donna LaFaye $30
~ Watercolor/Drawing Lesson: Karen Pickering $40
~ Natural Body Works Massage Gift Cert.: Karen Pickering $35
~ Rushing Water Yoga Gift. Cert. #1: Karen Pickering $20
~ Rushing Water Yoga Gift. Cert. #2: Marlene Cowan $17
~ Source Climb 201 Class: Karen Pickering $20
~ Red Hand-painted Scarf: Karen Pickering $24
~ Green Hand-painted Scarf: Brad Smith $25
~ Celtic Muse CD’s: Michelle Pash $15
~ Jennifer Pratt-Walter Harp CD’s: Michelle Pash $15
~ Coffee & Chocolate Gift Basket: Susan Freitag Fronckowiak $20
~ Copper River Earrings & Bracelet: Priscilla Christenson $25
~ Dragonfly Earrings & Bracelet: Katie Wascisin $17
~ Ice Princess Earrings and Bracelet: Priscilla Christenson $20
~ Wildcraft Game: Maggie Smith Evansen $22
~ Talisman CD’s: Priscilla Christenson $15
~ Spreader Knives: Marlene Cowan $17
~ New Seasons Gift Cert.: Susan Holcroft $25
~ Cafe Piccolo Gift Cert.: Karen Pickering $15
~ Leaf Me Earrings: Stephanie Smipp $20
~ TreeSong Note Cards #1: Priscilla Christenson $20
~ TreeSong Note Cards #2: Priscilla Christenson $15
~ TreeSong Calendar: Maggie Smith Evansen $6
~ Liberty Theater Movie Passes: Gretchen Meyer $11

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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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