Writer's work celebrates Mother Earth, and in the process opens up a conversation about conservation
OREGON – Winifred Bird has a gentle, yet powerful, message:
“Nature is so content and makes its own rules – untroubled and adaptive.”
Bird, 38, an accomplished journalist and Japanese-to-English translator, now lives in Oregon after about a decade of living in rural Japan, where she wrote, grew organic rice and vegetables, and “absorbed” the culture.
She has written on topics ranging from wildlife and agriculture to nuclear disaster and environmental issues for national and international publications.
Her central interest as a writer, though, “lies in nature and our place within it.”
Bird recently lent her expertise to a nature writing workshop at the Franklin Creek State Natural Area in Franklin Grove. She had her five participants read aloud from the Sand County Almanac, written in 1949 by Aldo Leopold, one of the first ecologists of the conservation movement.
Then, after a hike through the forest, Bird encouraged them to write about and share their personal connection with spring as an annual rebirth of nature. As they wrote, the only sounds came from the rustling of leaves, streaming creek, scurrying of small animals in the undergrowth, insects and the flight and songs of birds.
“When you’re not talking, you become more aware of nature,” Bird told them. “Essential to writing is being able to focus and be in that moment. It is an opportunity to let go of being judgmental.”
The petite writer is hopeful that people will become more aware of what is beyond their human communities by understanding the importance and magic of nature.
Bird also volunteers for Project Vital at Sauk Valley Community College – a program focused on adult literacy and mastering the English language.
She is looking forward to writing essays that will allow her to take more reflective and personal positions to advance environmental causes about which she is passionate.
Above all, Bird aspires to share the joyfulness of nature with others, and an understanding of the partnership people share with the Earth.
“We need to take care of the Earth so it can take care of us.”
About Winifred Bird
In addition to her writing, Winifred Bird works as a Japanese-to-English translator and editor, primarily of academic texts in the humanities and fantasy fiction.
From 2009 to 2015, she was the translator and English-language editor for japan-architects.com, an online directory of contemporary architects. She often writes about architecture and design for Dwell and Interior Design.
Go to winifredbird.com to read samples of her writing; find her on Facebook and feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.