A little about me
I help people form more meaningful connections with the natural world.
Through my teaching, art, writing, videos, workshops, and retreats, I aim to bring more joy into one’s life, more empathy into one’s heart, and a greater appreciation for the vital roles that nature plays in our own well-being. My advanced degrees in biology and science communication provide a solid foundation for my environmental education work. I’ve been developing fun and engaging activities for folks of all ages for more than 20 years in my work with such organizations as The Nature Conservancy, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the National Park Service to name a few. I make my home in central Oregon, in the foothills of the glacier-topped Cascades, where the sagebrush meets the pines.
You’re in the right place if you:
- Would rather spend a day out hiking or skinny dipping than going to a mall.
- Believe getting stung by a jellyfish is a small price to pay for snorkeling above a coral reef.
- Think insects and snakes aren’t creepy crawlies but wickedly fascinating.
- Believe children have the right to experience nature and adults have the responsibility to get them there.
- Would spend your lottery money on traveling instead of stuff.
- Wouldn’t think I’m a nut job if I told you I’ve performed surgery on a bumblebee, gone swimming with sharks, kept a black widow as a pet and love collecting animal skulls!
A gift for you
My flagship program is an introduction to realistic sketching techniques called Stick Figures to Songbirds in 60 Minutes, and best of all, it’s free! Why? Because I believe all people have the natural-born right to enjoy the natural world through a nature sketching practice and I believe anyone can learn basic skills of drawing.
We live in a precarious time of global climate change, government unrest, unchecked resource consumption, and untold numbers of wildlife species being pushed to the brink of extinction. I believe that many of our environmental problems could be solved if people had the chance to develop a closer relationship to, and understanding of nature’s inner workings. And that starts with the simple act of noticing, then appreciating, and finally being moved to conserving the natural world. As the renowned Senegalese forester, Baba Dioum, famously said:
“We only conserve what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught” – Baba Dioum
Check out my online programs in sketching and painting the natural world over on my Teachable site, Drawn to Nature.
Birds & Blossoms Nature Sketching Retreats
If you love to travel and enjoy sketching, check out my Birds & Blossoms Nature Sketching Retreats. They’re a fantastic way to escape the stress of the modern world and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
Kid’s Environmental Education
I have over 20 years’ experience in environmental education, working in informal field settings with such organizations as the National Park Service and Forest Service, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Nature Conservancy in which I developed interpretive displays, gave campfire programs, led nature walks, trained docents and taught children’s activities. In 2015, I was invited to Jamaica to assist with a children’s program at the Hope Zoo coordinated by BirdsCaribbean, and incorporating education materials produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s BirdSleuth project. Learn more about my environmental education programs.
Public Speaking & Adult Workshops
I enjoy giving presentations for audiences of up to several hundred people for international, regional and local meetings and annual conferences for such organizations as The National Audubon Society, California Native Plant Society, the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and BirdsCaribbean in Jamaica. If your organization would like to inquire about inviting me to speak at your event or to give a workshop, learn more about my experience and get media resources here.
“Christine Elder has a refreshingly welcoming approach to teaching about birds through art that reflects her obvious passion for wildlife and conservation of our natural environment. Whether at her home in Oregon or visiting us deep in the tropics at the Vallarta Botanical Garden, she has a marvelous potential to connect people with birds in a rich and meaningful way” – Neil Gerlowski, Executive Director, Vallarta Botanical Garden
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