Who's behind this crazy idea of NatureConnect NW?
Together, our all-volunteer council has nearly 50 combined years of nature connection and exploration. Since 1998 we've engaged with the beings, places, and seasons of NatureConnect, while also following our individual paths – exploring sacred landscapes, ecosystems, and creatures from Alaska to Peru, Scotland to Haida Gwaii, through all the seasons. Each of our hearts and souls feels joyfully compelled to share the magic and mystery of time in nature, where Earth speaks with healing, guidance and inspiration whenever we become present to Her.
Individually and collectively, we are the Vision Keepers for the Mission, Vision and Values of NatureConnect NW, including planning, programming and community building.
Begun in Autumn 2013, the Council has transformed NatureConnect from a one-woman commitment to the Earth, into a collective and collaborative adventure. At heart, we do what we love and invite others to join us.
Each council member is committed to her own path of development in deep nature connection and her callings from our Earth home. We share our learnings as we study and play together. We retreat together annually to tap into the evolving Spirit and Soul of NCNW, to mentor one another in our respective paths, and plan events and offerings for the coming months. We are a group of peers dedicated to the mission of fostering kinship with Earth and all her creatures.
Judy todd, founder, board chair, council member
jan shannon, board secretary, council member
barbara mickey, board treasurer, council member
suzan hill, adjunct nature mentor, council co-founder
katherin kobow, council co-founder
Judy started NatureConnect in 1998 in Oregon, her native home. Base camp remains in the Pacific Northwest where she spends time with four grandchildren, the NatureConnect NW Council, and many communities of people working to shape a livable future for all species and offspring of Earth.
Judy’s background includes teaching, leadership coaching, non-profit consulting and development, writing, and nature connection mentoring. She is an accomplished naturalist and poet. Her passion for Earth and its creatures has inspired hundreds of people over many years to engage more deeply with the natural world. She has published a chapbook of poems, The Canticle & The Elegy, and is working on her next collection. Judy currently serves on the board of directors for Sacred Earth Foundation aka Ekone Ranch.
Jan Shannon has been participating with NatureConnect since 2002, inspired by her lifelong passion for engaging with nature’s mysteries, human and other than human. As a result of her VisionQuest in 2004, Jan has been working to fulfill her calling as a nature connection mentor and facilitator of personal and spiritual development.
Jan’s background includes management, computer training and helpdesk support, consulting, business ownership, executive coaching, bus driving, dog training, and dental assisting (ever the Gemini). She is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified coach and coach trainer, a shamanic practitioner, and a certified facilitator of outdoor adventure learning and family constellations.
Jan is happiest when surrounded by animals, especially her Golden Retrievers Sienna and Baxter, and her cat, Daphne.
Camping and hiking since early childhood instilled a sense of wonder in Barbara and allowed her to see the spirit that is everywhere in the natural world. Growing up in Northwest Washington, family vacations were always spent camping.
Barbara has worked in a variety of not-for-profit organizations, including mental health, emergency services, and women’s programs. A Jill-of-all-trades, she has taught trampoline, waitressed, done office management, and has held numerous board positions. In her “spare” time, Barbara is also an artist creating intricate beadwork jewelry, masks, weavings, carvings, and more.
Barbara spent five years living on the East Coast, missing the mountains and forests of the Northwest. Later, twenty years of living in Hawaii’s tropical air, landscapes, and warm ocean waters was a huge opening to her relationship with the natural world.
Finally back home in the Northwest for more than 30 years, with children and grandchildren grown, Barbara is working less while deepening her relationship to our planet, helping others embrace nature’s lessons and gifts.
Suzan completed her Council service in 2018 as she explores more southerly landscapes with her now-retired partner.
We hold immense gratitude for Suzan’s important contributions to the shape and depth of NatureConnect NW in its beginnings.
We still regularly share our nature connection stories, photos, and bird sightings with one another, no matter where she is.
For over 35 years, Oregon has been Suzan's home. After earning degrees in anthropology and theology, and creating careers in health care, higher education, ministry, and non-profit administration, she has found her final career: working in the nature connection movement and in changing our country’s food system.
A student of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program, 8 Shields Foundation, and the School of Forest Medicine, Suzan is an elder, a storycatcher, and a voice for the planet.
Lovingly called “Kobo” by her many friends, she served on the Council until 2016. Kobo’s love of adventure and scouting new locations gave us many hilarious stories to share around the fire.
Kobo goes all the way back to the beginning of this grand nature connection adventure. We acknowledge and appreciate her endless curiosity, readiness for exploration and unmarked roads! Always a student of nature, Kobo has been a student-teacher of the finest order. This wouldn’t be the same dot org without her input.
Thanks Kobo, and carry on!