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Real ground


An Invitation

We invite you to join in the real ground conversation

“I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.” — Ursula LeGuin, National Book Award Acceptance Speech, 2014

Our current moment of global crisis and shutdown most likely wasn’t exactly what she had in mind that day. Nevertheless, our societies are stricken with fear, and we all need real grounds for hope, and images and inspirations for a larger reality.

Like so many others, we at the Natural History Institute have pondered how we can be of use in this extraordinary time. The Institute’s work has always focused on fostering connection—between people, and between people and the living Earth. We are blessed to serve as a hub for a broad-based community of naturalists, writers, artists, educators, and thinkers engaged in this shared work. We hope to mobilize this resource of inspiration and insight, as we all grapple with fundamental questions of new relationship with the world and each other.

An explicit part of the Institute’s mission is “to promote the health and well-being of humans and the rest of the natural world.” We’re all in this together.

Authors and artists retain full copyright to their work.

Join the Community Conversation

We invite your contributions to community conversation in these broad realms:


Bearing witness matters.

  • What do you see outside your window?
  • In what form is nature presenting itself to you?


There is reciprocity between healing ourselves and healing the world.

  • Where do you currently find beauty?
  • How are you coping with the overarching sense of uncertainty?


If we pay attention, this pandemic can reveal what sort of world we want to live in.

  • What, if anything, prompts you to feel genuine hope?
  • Do you have any new clarity on what sort of post-virus world we
    could/should create?

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We encourage you to submit your writings, photos and videos. 

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