Interactive: Trees & Paths photo submissions

First Request for submissions

Hello Nature-Led Friends!

It’s been a while since we’ve done any interactive activities, so here are two easy ways for you to participate and get out in nature or at least be inspired by it! It would be really exciting and interesting to get a variety of submissions from different regions and countries.

AUGUST PHOTO CHALLENGE: Unknown Paths               SUBMIT BEFORE: AUGUST 31st

I always want to know what’s “over yonder” whether it be around a bend or over a hill. Paths that disappear out of view invite us to make new discoveries.

North Vancouver Island, British Columbia By Melanie Reynolds, 2018

In Japan, curved stone paths are the bane of drunks and demons alike. It is both an aesthetic design choice and a belief that one can lose the hot pursuit of a demon upon a crooked path.

Submission: Please submit a photo, illustration, or mixed media art project of a pathway that you find interesting.

Original submission or submitted with permission of the artist. Artist retains all rights to their work. It’s recommended that you watermark your art and/or fill in the meta data of the photo if you are concerned about copyright.

You email should include: Your submission as a .JPEG or .PNG file, General location (State/Province & Country), your name/the Artist’s name, and a link to your website if you have one.

Email to: natureledlife@gmail.com Subject: August Submission

The Prize: My love and gratitude for participating.


SEPTEMEBER PHOTO CHALLENGE: A Tree              SUBMIT BEFORE: SEPTEMBER 30TH

Let’s highlight the beauty of different trees in a variety of settings. I’ll admit, I often find it a challenge to get a good picture of a single tree. Let’s how you do.

Alder in the Fog, At Home in Washington State, By Melanie Reynolds, 2022

Many cultures have stories about how different tree species inhabit spirits, special properties or symbolism. For example, the weeping willow is a symbol of death and grieving of a loved one in various cultures.

Submission: Please submit a photo, illustration, or mixed media art project of a tree that you find interesting.

Original submission or submitted with permission of the artist. Artist retains all rights to their work. It’s recommended that you watermark your art and/or fill in the meta data of the photo if you are concerned about copyright.

You email should include: Your submission as a .JPEG or .PNG file, General location (State/Province & Country), your name/the Artist’s name, and a link to your website if you have one.

Email to: natureledlife@gmail.com Subject: September Submission

The Prize: My love and gratitude for participating.


Don’t let me down! Please participate! We would all love to see a diversity of interesting submissions. You have a month for each. It’s okay if you don’t consider yourself and “artist”, just give it a try!

Side Note: I’m currently recovering from surgery and working on my dark fairytales book. Content here might be a bit sporadic over the next two months. These photo submissions will give us all something to look forward too. Thank you!

Our New Green Overlords

Leaf Sheep Sea Slug, costasiella kuroshimae, supplements it’s diet of algae by photosynthesis. Image found online. Original photo credit unknown.

Back in the years circa 2004 to 2007 there were several scientific journals discussing the potential uses of algae. Something most of us think about with distain. We often think of algae as something that either inconveniences us by making a surface slick or something that can make us sick. Fortunately, the Science-minded people also ask, how can we harness the properties of algae?

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Science-minded people come up with terrible ideas. They can get so carried away with “Can I?” that they don’t stop long enough to ask the question, “Should I?” This the basic premise behind the 1896 novel The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells. (For context, The Origin of Species was published by Charles Darwin in 1859 and the subsequent theories of Darwinism were at the forefront of the social minds of the day.)

I’m consciously using the term “Science-minded” because I don’t believe that a person needs to hold a degree from a prestigious university to be a “science-minded” person. You only have to be willing to explore your ideas with a sensible set of standards that can be shared and replicated by another person. By this perspective, science is not so different from art in many ways. I know not everyone shares this perspective though.

When I first moved to Seattle in 1998 to attend the University of Washington, I lived in a house with six other college roommates. One of my roommates was a Danish fellow studying material science. In the beginning, he always had this smile on his face as if everything I said amused him. So, I “dragged the cat out of the bush” as we poor rural American folk might say and asked him if all Danes were elitist snobs or just him? He was surprised at first then said, “Well you are studying a ‘Soft Science’ major.” Apparently, Social Science (aka Sociology) is not real science because it’s not “hard science.”

We had many good discussions after this first exchange. It was important to me to illustrate that anything that worked towards the betterment and/or understanding of the human race was no less important than the flesh and bone that we are made of. It has been my passion since then to be a bridge builder between different personalities and schools of thought for a common cause. My new mission is to marry all that with the belief that nature is not our adversary, but our ally in making the world better for all species and the health of the planet itself.

Why can’t electric cars be solar-powered?

Because they don’t have enough surface space for the photovoltaic cells to collect enough solar energy for the battery to be reasonably recharged.

Science-minded researchers then must ask themselves questions like; How can we take advantage of the full surface of the vehicle then? Most obvious solutions would be either by the paint or the material the vehicle is made of. In the links below you can see that algae has been added to bricks to store carbon and as a pigment for natural dyes, but not currently for solar storage or transference.

I have two hypothesis based on the current uses of algae: 1. What if it could be used to help collect solar energy for electric vehicles by adding some sort of film or layer? And 2. What if it could help insulate people in desert regions from extreme heat? Something similar in idea to Frank Herbert’s Stillsuits in his 1965 novel Dune.

Sometimes I think of the realm of magic and fiction writing as science concepts we don’t yet understand. There are charlatans that claim to be scientists and charlatans who claim they can tell you your future. Remember when bloodletting was a thing? Or when germs were thought to be a superstition? Invisible bugs you say? Hogwash! We are flesh and bone and blood. We are hair and teeth and nails. We are mucus and sperm and eggs. We are mind, body and spirit. We are a lot of things and so too are many elements in the natural world including photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms (Chlorophyta, i.e. algae) and heterotrophic eukaryotic organisms (fungus, i.e. mushrooms). Our own digestive systems are unique biomes unto themself with their own specialized organisms in the form of bacterial flora!

What I like about using algae or fungi to help solve global problems is that it does not require digging into mountains for more metal alloys. It is nurturing truly sustainable options that have what environmentalists call a “cradle to the grave” lifecycle. We are not left with polluted waters or land and deplorable working conditions to extract or attempt to recycle it.

I for one look forward to our new green overlords.

What if we could learn to photosynthesize to supplement our diets?

Algae links:

The Leaf Sheep: Meet The Sea Slugs That Can Photosynthesize – Planet News

Cutting Construction’s Climate Impact with Algae Bricks | TIME

Studying ways to maximize environmental benefits of green algae (phys.org)

Brilliant Planet – A company working to sequester gigatons of carbon by absorbing it through algae and burying it.

Scientists Power Computer Continuously For A Year Using Algae (unilad.com)

These robots are powered by algae balls living inside (fastcompany.com)

Researchers created eco-friendly, biodegradable flip flops made from algae | CNN

How Pond Scum Could Lead to Eco-Friendly Fabric and Paint | WIRED