A born naturalist, June Zwan has spent much of her 34 years encouraging people in the state of Arizona to become more aware of nature. She is especially interested in educating children and encouraging them to leave their tech and electronic devices alone and explore the world around them. We spoke to her to find out why she believes we need to build a thriving nature society and what people need to do to get involved.
What Is a Nature Society?
“A nature society, simply put, is a group that celebrates nature and everything that lives between the trees and the stars,” says Zwan. “We live in an automated, industrial age but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places worth exploring in our local areas. In fact, we are fortunate to have so many locations where nature still thrives. I’m encouraging people to think differently about the world that we live in. Nature is one of the most beautiful things we have in this world; we should preserve it, explore it, share it with others, and live in it! This is what I’m trying to encourage.”
What Have You Done to Build a Successful Nature Society?
“Any successes I have received are purely down to my passion. I truly love sharing nature with others – especially young children – and it’s amazing to see their faces light up when they see what the world offers. Oftentimes, they have never even got out into the countryside. They haven’t had the opportunities to see the kind of environments I did when growing up. But when I show it to them, they feel inspired the same way that I do. I like to bring their parents along for these trips too, and many of them say they feel encouraged by the way their children react.
“In addition to sharing nature with other people, I really try to make the experience as fun as possible. Instead of trying to share an ‘experience’, I try to share a form of ‘entertainment’. I think this is what makes both adults and children react in such a positive way. I love to show the positive, fun aspects that being outdoors provides.”
What’s Next for You?
“I’m currently writing a book about life in Arizona. It contains some pictures I’ve taken in nature, as well as some illustrations. I’ve started a few books in the past, but this time I’m serious about getting this one complete and sharing my insider knowledge with others, both in my state and across the country. I’ve just seen some amazing things – the Colorado River at night for one – and I want to share these adventures with others. The book will mostly cover my favorite adventures like trips to Colorado, my favorite trails like Olde Stage Rd. trail and my obsession with the 80302 area code. A friend of mine has been helping me with the more geographic aspects of the book too, so I’m collaborating with her a lot in the writing process.”
Any Final Words?
“Just get out there and explore! Nature has so much to offer that you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t experience it.”