Deep Ecology Artist Fellowship Program, Summer 2020

By Sarah Mills

I came to United Plant Savers on a mission to craft pages for my unique botanical book. For most of my life I have been a creator, aspiring to be an artist. In those years, on the journey to becoming an artist, I found my muse to be nature. This muse spoke to me, not only in images to reproduce, but also of the protection she needed. This set me on a path to learn more about the gifts of Mother Nature. I found, while educating myself about the earth’s gifts, a lot of ugly wounds left on the environment. I often felt helpless, asking “How do I help? How do I reciprocate these gifts? How do I awaken others to the blessings? How do I stop the damage?” Until recently, I did not see that I was already giving back, helping, awakening others through my artistic practices. Each of us receives the gift of life from our earth, and each of us has something to offer in reciprocity to our Mother. I was blessed with the talent to create. I believe by no coincidence I was given abundant inspiration from the natural world. These two gifts were meant to be used in unison.

In the midst of a world struck with pandemic, I was offered time to take a break and refocus on what is truly important. Even though I work hard to produce art that is nature inspired, I was often caught up in the swings of society’s pressures, unable to find time to be with nature and create. Within the pages of my book, one will find the magic of reclamation of the natural world from the sickened society present in life these days. The Goldenseal Sanctuary’s theme of reclamation is so important to the current days one faces. These pages are a reflection of the gifts I received from my time at the sanctuary. These are the pages of my connection to that land, the plants, and the magic that happens at the sanctuary. I am grateful for the time to see healing of the earth, even be it at a 300-acre sanctuary. One must stay hopeful and continue to see this hope blazing through the anthropocene.

I hope my images, along with my “found” materials and tidbits of information that fill the pages of my book will spark desire within others to be kind to our earth. I hope that the same hope that was set into me during my time at United Plant Savers will shout loudly from the pages. Saving the earth seems a daunting task, but there are glimmers of hope everywhere. One can see it in the abundance of milkweeds in a prairie or even in the cracks of a sidewalk where nature still wins. We all have a gift to help us reclaim our earth. One just has to let nature show them the way.