There was never a time when Virginia felt herself apart from nature, from life, & not paying attention to it. Deserts, mountains, rivers, forests, oceans, & islands were like 2nd nature, home, to her. Nor did nature end “out there” somewhere, but also inhabited the land, yard, household, family, person.
Nature certainly had an important place in the school & classroom–inside & out. Long before there was a visitor’s center, she was bringing students out to the wildlife refuge–with her father, a noted ornithologist, when she could. Her own friendships with “people of other species” (my words, not hers) were as natural to her as with two-legged friends & students. (She might say, “fellow students,” since we never stop learning.) All such friendships were based the same foundation-stones–respect, good will, action in kind, the same towards others.
At some point in mid-1990’s, while she was working at what was then a fairly new Los Niños Elementary School, she & colleagues got wind of plans to address a “drainage problem” between Los Niños & its neighbor, Sierra Vista, in ways that might well have made a poor situation worse, & lost a valuable natural & educational resource. Part of what this led to is told in the following article, invited by, & published in, the magazine Orion Afield.