Wild Is Local & Local Is Wild
...to "ground zero for rewilding".
We are a loosely-knit group of volunteers with a passion for wildness. Our conversation is rooted in the early 1990s with inspiration from Rachel Carson, Arne Naes, Ray Dasmann, Linda Hogan, Thomas Merton, Dave Foreman, Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Snyder, Henry Beston, David Quammen, Robert Bly, Stephanie Mills, Paul Shepard, Scott Nearing, Aldo Leopold, Henry David Thoreau, and others. Wild Earth Journal brought it all together. Reconnect-Restore-Rewild became our mantra. The dream was always for those with expertise and experience in this process to come here and save us from the ravages of overdomestication. But no one came. So in that vacuum emerged the BeWildReWild movement and a startling realization that we must save ourselves.
The Good, the True, the Beautiful
Humans are the
Our species has long engaged in a struggle to subdue and domesticate the world, and much has been gained in that process; but important things have also been lost. We want to sort through those gains and losses and find a more appropriate balance between caring and not caring, holding on and letting go. The purpose is to experience an increasing level of trust for wildness and to discover a feeling of personal liberation as we allow more freedom for that which is beyond human.
What is wildness? How is it different from wilderness? Is wildness a manifestation of trust and non-expectation of outcome? To what extent is domestication based in a fear of the unpredictable and the unfamiliar? Can we learn to be more trusting and more trustworthy? Could a better understanding of wildness increase our appreciation for wilderness? And would that lead to a greater awareness of ourselves and ALL that lives around us?
BeWildReWild is a loosely-knit group of volunteers with a passion for wild things. It is also a special fund within Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation for the purpose of exploring three questions: What do you/we mean by wild? What lifestyle changes are needed for us to live within the bounds of sustainability? How can we create a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and a more enduring Mississippi River Watershed? And here on this website, BeWildReWild is a place for visioning, debating, storytelling, teaching, and learning.
BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY is our vision for a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and a more enduring Mississippi River Watershed.
Watch / Learn
These artists have received Community Art Gathering Grants from the BeWildReWild Fund at Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF).
Website and logo development for BeWildReWild and BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY.
Produced by Sydney Pursel. Focus on the benefits of TRUSTING WILDNESS. Two large paintings illustrating BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY. Ready for display in December 2019.
A thought-provoking 7-minute film about a small but important creek in Jefferson County, Iowa and what happened when it was altered. Written and directed by award-winning documentarian Dick DeAngelis.
Produced by Autumn Rozario Hall. Resulting in the production of paintings and art showing Connectivity to Iowa Lands, a seed starting and planting workshop, and an artist talk. Will be completed by Summer 2020.
Artwork produced by Lance Foster, Reuben Ironhorse-Kent, Kayla 'WhiteKnife' Kent, Sydney Pursel and Philip Pursel. To be displayed at Effigy Mounds National Monument visitor’s center August 31-October 31, 2019.
Produced by Nitin Gadia. Resulting in a large vision map of the entire Mississippi River Watershed, a Midwest map connecting the Driftless, the Ozarks, and the Loess Hills, plus a third map connecting the Ozarks with South Central Iowa via the Chariton and Missouri Rivers. Will be completed by November 2019.
Developed by Mary Young Bear. Workshops on basket making, twined bags, cattail mats, bone dice and wooden bowl/spoon carving. Held at the powwow grounds September 21-22, 2019.
Coordinated by Leland Searles. Theme of Cores – Corridors – Communities. Resulting in computerized mapping of the Iowa River Corridor. Ready to display in September 2019.
Developed by Mark Edwards and Ursula Ruedenberg. Three, hour-long programs covering the themes of BeWildReWild. To be aired in December 2019.
Produced by Courtney Chandrea. Resulting in an illustrated ebook guide about exploring, understanding, and TRUSTING WILDNESS. Illustrated by Erica Wilson. Ready in February 2020.
Coordinated by Leland Searles. Theme of Cores – Corridors – Communities. Resulting in computerized mapping of the these regions. Ready to display in December 2019.
Poet and artist, Joseph S. Plum, will create a series of seven paintings with quotes from his Bardic poetry. The series will explore how the concepts of wildness, sustainability, and biological diversity work together to create a communal artistic space. Ready in 2020.
Award-winning artist and writer, Emily Lupita, will create a series of watercolor paintings that depict her childhood living off the grid in the natural world. The paintings will be the basis for a children’s book that will teach today’s youth about the lifestyle of sustainable natural living. Ready to display in 2020.
Living History Farms, located on a 1700 Ioway site, will hold an annual loway Culture Day on July 11, 2020. This day will explore loway history and culture. In conjunction, an loway Artist Exhibition will include at least six pieces of artwork until Oct 16. Artist Sydney Pursel will speak at the exhibition opening.
Over the course of three months, Leland Searles will integrate the mapping efforts in the Iowa River, Chariton River, Missouri River, and Loess Hills basins with the vision of BeWildReWild and the goals of Big River Connectivity into a basic public presentation, then schedule and give versions of that presentation for audiences. The first such presentation is scheduled in February 2020. See our Events page for details.
A three-month grant to Nitin Gadia and Leland Searles extends their mapping efforts to major river systems throughout the central river basins of the U.S. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers are the “backbones” of this 32-state plan.
Fourth Wall Films will create “Over & Under: Wildlife Crossings”, a broadcast-quality 7-10 minute short film, depicting the need for wildlife crossings in Iowa and the Mississippi River Watershed. The film will showcase a small number of successful crossings projects in Iowa and the immediate region. Ready for display in July 2020.
Effigy Mounds National Monument announces a series of special events celebrating the American Indian tradition of storytelling in winter. Winter Stories will occur on Saturday and Sunday afternoons beginning February 22, 2020 through the end of March.
The Sustainable Living Coalition is planning the first BeWildReWild conference of 2020 to be held at the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center Sondheim Theater on Saturday, April 11.
This second grant to The Sustainable Living Coalition sponsors the formation of a Southeast Iowa group to review and improve our Cores-Corridors-Crossings mapping with boots on the ground input. And they will become additional Storytellers for the BeWildReWild/BIG RIVER CONNECTIVITY movement.
The BeWildReWild Forum
BeWildReWild is a loosely-knit group of volunteers with a passion for wild things. It is also a special fund within Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation for the purpose of exploring three questions: What do you/we mean by wild? What lifestyle changes are needed for us to live within the bounds of sustainability? How can we create a wilder, more beautiful, more biologically diverse, and a more enduring Mississippi River Watershed? And here on this website it is a place for visioning, debating, storytelling, teaching, and learning.