Mary Reynolds Thompson

Re-storying the Forests

What if by giving voice to the trees through poetry and story, we could shift from seeing them as a resource to seeing them as relations?


What if re-storyation is an integral part of restoration?

Imagination is wild. At home in nature, it enters the verdant realms of forests on the breath of instinct. It forages and hunts, returning with extraordinary insights—ones that might otherwise be lost to us if we insist on viewing trees only through a reductionist, rational lens.

Creativity, at its best, bridges science and spirit, ecology and creativity, empathy and action, awakening us to the fact that the story of humanity has always been interwoven with the story of trees.  We are looking forward to how Mary weaves her approach to the creative flow in writing into the kind of note-taking that Darwin, da Vinci and scientists the world over have used to develop their thinking.

A simple method to use in Schools?

Using the process of writing notes and reflections to helps us:

  • To observe what we feel when we are out in nature.
  • To move through our feelings about the Earth’s environmental situation and other emotional content.
  • To sense and explore what Nature is telling us about our personal role in moving forward.

Journal writing and reflection is something we want to highlight as a tool for supporting young adults as well as the rest of us.

The Tree Conference is working with our partners to explore how we can better support education in Secondary Schools.  There is a wealth of brilliant primary school resources.  Teenagers by comparison seem harder to reach and have been somewhat left alone by the major conservation and forestry groups until now.

By highlighting the untapped potential within the English curriculum in schools, we will explore how we can support young people to develop their relationship with the natural world, as well as to empower them to feed themselves with the insights that come from quiet listening to themselves in nature.  In this manner they can become conscious of their particular passion for how they wish to influence the world, study the science, get engaged and make wise choices around their further education.

We’re very pleased that Mary is able to time her trip to the UK with both:

In the last 10 minutes of her talk, Mary will be joined by Wendy Davis from Andover Trees United and some of the young people who have been planting through this programme.  We’ll explore what the needs are for teenagers looking to connect to the natural world within the confines of the extreme school and social pressures they are under.

Mary Reynolds Thompson is an award-winning writer, facilitator of poetry therapy, and a pioneer in the emerging field of spiritual ecology. She speaks and holds workshops around the world and has developed an archetypal model of transformation based on five Earth landscapes. She is an instructor for TreeSisters, a non-profit with the dual mission of empowering women and reforesting the tropics, and is core faculty for the Therapeutic Writing Institute, the leading training institute for expressive writing therapy. Author of Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness (a 2015 Nautilus Award Winner), she is at work on her new book, A Wild Soul Woman.

To read more about Mary’s work check out her website at