Finding Peace in Nature During a Global Pandemic


As a global pandemic forced the shutdown of virtually all in-person gatherings, humanity turned to their local parks and natural areas as a place of activity, socially distant interactions, and a source of solace.  

Many of these visitors developed a personal connection through hiking, picnics, meditation, kayaking, bicycling, landscape photography, and more. We wondered, did they then realize the need to protect and preserve these natural resources?

Our team, with backgrounds as filmmakers and Naturalists, decided to explore this societal shift through a short film, using a combination of narrative and interview-driven content to represent the impact of the pandemic on daily life and mental health.

From the outset of this filmmaking project, we wanted to guide our storytelling with data on the issue. We wanted to examine if the general public was experiencing this shift in mentality. So, we created a 10-question survey to disseminate through our social networks. We found out that over 90% of survey takers responded “Yes” to deliberately spending 10-50% more time outside during the pandemic. 

The objective of Solace is to maintain the momentum of interest in and support for our natural areas brought about by the need to have a safe place to destress or connect with people. And by proactively securing long-term protection for these areas, we, in turn, will improve our own health and safeguard these restorative places for future generations.

Our parks and natural areas are commonly viewed as just “there,” ready and available for our engagement when we get the occasional itch for a hike or picnic. With Solace, we wanted to go beyond “preaching to the choir” of pre-existing nature enthusiasts. We wanted to hear from people who were not regularly active outdoors, who turned to nature for its therapeutic properties during the chaotic stress of the pandemic. And then would they take a step further? Would they understand the benefits of interacting with and safeguarding our natural areas? And we were not disappointed. Humans need nature, and nature needs our help to sustain it.” – Braden Worrell

 Now we want to hear from you! Please join the conversation.

Join the Conversation …

Some helpful prompts:

How did the panademic affect your interaction with nature?

What sort of activities did you do outdoors while your normal activities and venues were closed?

How does being in nature affect your mindset?

Our Team …

Leslie Lorance – Director and Editor

Leslie Lorance is a freelance video producer and editor with extensive experience creating educational, documentary, journalistic style videos for museum and nonprofit organizations. Her video work for the Indiana State Museum assisted in winning the National Association for Interpretation Interpretive Media Award for the Natural Regions Gallery. She was lead producer for the Levi & Catharine Coffin State Historic Site orientation film and producer/videographer/editor for The Plump Legacy, winning her an Honorable Mention at the Really Big Short Film Festival. Leslie is enthusiastic about sharing her love of the outdoors and makes videos aimed to inspire, inform and connect people with nature. She has worked with Indiana Wildlife Federation, Environmental Education Association of Indiana, and Central Indiana Land Trust, helping them share their conservation messages through storytelling and the medium of film.

Braden Worrell – Producer and Director of Photography

Braden Worrell is co-founder and Producer at Monumental Productions, a Florida-based video marketing company that creates commercials, brand stories, and explainer videos – rooted in storytelling and focused on sustainability. For Braden, storytelling is much deeper than a marketing buzzword; it’s an inherently human-centered method of communicating history, education, and inspiration in a highly compelling format. His experience as a writer, director, and photographer has led him to produce stories in over 13 countries, from Nicaragua to Iceland to the Philippines. He served as Assistant Director on Finding Hygge, a documentary about the Danes’ secret to happiness, winning Best Documentary at the Annual Copenhagen Film Festival in 2018.

Elaine Klemesrud – Research and Production Assistant

Elaine Klemesrud plays a key role as Research and Production Assistant providing survey creation and videography support. Having worked in the museum field in alternative education, evaluation and visitor advocacy she approaches projects from a holistic standpoint ensuring all aspects of the production process are implemented on time and on budget. Her background in program facilitation and event planning, in addition to her attention to detail, make her a perfect fit for the team. 

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

—Khalil Gibran

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

— Henry David Thoreau

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

 —Rachel Carson

Quilt 6: Wind and Weather

Quilt 6: Wind and Weather

Minimum Bid: $150



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Artist Notes: Wind and Weather

“What is seen must always be the outcome of much that is unseen.” — Helene A. Guerber

My quilt title covers only two of the eight unseen actions and outcomes I chose to describe in this quilt. (I wish I could have added gravity and genes, light and love.) I have ‘hidden’ the unseen action in pockets behind the outcomes we see, described below. If you gently pull the button at the top, the bottom pocket opens for a peek at the unseen action.

These are the outcome fabrics I chose, over fabrics representing the action behind them:

A – When we look out at the starlight, we are looking back in time. The light from the farthest stars in our galaxy comes to us from 75,000 lightyears away – and thus occurred 75,000 years ago!

B – What about weather, our beneficial rain clouds? Wave fabric represents our oceans, the water cycle.

C – Where there’s smoke, there’s fire!

D – How do we hear sound? Sound waves travel through that unseen air of ours. In the vacuum of space, no one can hear you sing the blues.

E – Birds in flight. Flight itself is made possible by our atmosphere and the birds’ own lightness of being. We can describe the mechanism of airplane flight with equations, lift and drag, hidden to the casual traveler but vitally necessary for the function of planes. As well as lift, the blue swells on black could also represent magnetism guiding the birds on their migrations.

F – We are told to expect more, and more violent, hurricanes as the Earth warms. All that heat has to go somewhere; in addition to melting the poles, it warms the oceans and gooses the whole world’s weather patterns.

G – All of the material world we see – crystals and cabbages, ships and sheep – are all composed of atoms, which in turn are composed of smaller particles. Atoms don’t actually look like the little nucleus with dots orbiting neatly in the depicted way, but it will suffice to show the unseen – and vibrant – activity behind our solid world.

H – This fabric represents tides, and they are caused by the moon, that is, the gravitational dance between the Earth and Moon. There are solar tides as well, as the Earth is in a gravitational dance with the Sun.

This is a good visualization:

I – Our quote above. What outcome can you think of with an unseen action behind it?

The exterior parts of the quilt – the Outcomes – are chosen from whites and greys; the Unseen Actions should peek and pop with color. The largest amount of fabric, the white pearlescent, reminds me of unicorn manes. 😀

Quilt 5: Storm at See

Quilt 5: Storm at See

Minimum Bid: $250



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Artist Notes: Storm at See

The idea of this quilt is to use the straight lines found in traditional quilts to make a round look, drawing your eyes to the circle instead of the straight line. This pattern is called Storm at Sea and has always had that trompe l’oeil quality, no matter what colors are used. I like to get away from the traditional blues; what fun to find  DaVinci themed fabric. I particularly like Vitruvian Man’s straight limbs defining the circle around him. Your eye should be drawn to the 9 overlapping ‘circles’ in dark brown, with the lighter colored centers popping forward to showcase snippets from da Vinci’s notebook in the arenas of architecture and anatomy; machinery, math and the Madonna. The other fabrics used from outside the DaVinci line are called Grunge, Scroll Essentials and Stonehenge, making an interesting set of time periods to accompany Leonardo. The use of sashing, always present in Storm at Sea, results in satisfying numbers: 16 corner squares (four, squared); 9 blocks (three, squared). There is an Easter Egg in this quilt. Behind the center square is a circle with a map of Rohan and Gondor, and the words “Not all those who wander are lost,” a fitting description of one of history’s greatest polymaths.

Quilt 4: Quantum Entanglement

Quilt 4: Quantum Entanglement

Minimum Bid: $200



Can’t Attend the Event? You can still bid on these beautiful quilts online. Click on the quilts you wish to bid on and then click on the “Make A Bid” Button to enter your bid. Your bid will remain confidential from bidders during the event but bids will be cut off the day of the event so bid early with your best bid!

Artist Notes: Quantum Entanglement

This looks random. There is, however, a set of rules and a devious order at work. For a pair of, shall we say, photons in this yellow Sun, to be entangled, they will be the same color (red, blue or green), in matching columns, (1, 2, or 3, left to right), and heading the same direction (point to the left, point to the right). If they meet these conditions, they will be replicated in the center column. A small example is drawn below, where the red and blue triangles in the center represent a pair of entangled photons, one from each middle column on the sides.

 You will not find any pairs of triangles meeting this trio of criteria other than the 12 triangles replicated in the center of the quilt. The center star is an homage to the many Jewish physicists who have contributed to our knowledge of the universe. The top and bottom devices are a caution about radioactivity; our sun does produce some gamma radiation, but that is occurring closer to the core of the sun. Happily, our sun does release all kinds of radiation; some in the visible spectrum which we can see, and some in the ultraviolet, which our butterflies can see.  Every element we have has been produced from the activities of stars, from lowly but abundant hydrogen formed during the Big Bang, to glorious gold, and heavier atoms still, from the collisions of neutron stars.

What is quantum entanglement? When a pair of particles experiences quantum entanglement, you can’t describe the quantum state of one of them independently from the other; even when the two particles are a long distance away from each other, they seem to coordinate. Well, what is a quantum state? It’s a probability distribution across all the possible outcomes of each measurement possible in a system. That is, how likely is a particle to have a particular characteristic. Let’s say our little system has three characteristics (things you can measure): color (red, green or blue), column, and pointing direction. Well, we just outlined the possible quantum states, and lo and behold, they are the same as the states described as the rules of the quilt.

From Wikipedia: “The topic of quantum entanglement is at the heart of the disparity between classical and quantum physics: entanglement is a primary feature of quantum mechanics lacking in classical mechanics.” (Whenever physicists invoke ‘quantum’ that means they are usually discussing actions on the very microscopic scale.)

 “Measurements of physical properties such as position, momentum, spin, and polarization [of] entangled particles can [] be found to be perfectly correlated. For example, if a pair of entangled particles is generated such that their total spin is known to be zero, and one particle is found to have clockwise spin on a first axis, then the spin of the other particle, measured on the same axis, is found to be counterclockwise.”

In the quilt, if a center triangle is red, pointing left, and in row 2, it will be so in all three positions, left, right and center. All of the other “nonentangled photons” don’t give us any information about any other “photon” (quilt triangle).

 Well, why do we care? Is this one of those times when the unseen is uninteresting? Quantum entanglement philosophically requires us to embrace both connection at a distance and uncertainty; that’s good, because we poor beings are stuck with uncertainty as much as any particle is, and we seek connection with each other, even (especially) at a distance. And there are practical applications supposedly on the way: quantum computing is just at its beginnings, prophesied to be in wide use by the 2030s, although these machines are as wildly expensive as supercomputers were in the dark ages of the 1960s. This is one of the more interesting articles on quantum entanglement. 

There is an Easter Egg sewn inside this quilt. Behind a yellow triangle is a piece of fabric depicting Schrödinger’s cat, which is both alive and dead at the same time (at least until you open the box). That is, a particle remains in dual states until it is observed by the external world.

Quilt 3: Hubble

Quilt 3: Hubble

Minimum Bid: $200



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Artist Notes: Hubble

I took this title from the [shortened] quote by Edwin Hubble in the lower right of the quilt. The full quote:

Equipped with our five senses – along with telescopes and microscopes [and mass spectrometers and seismographs and magnetometers and particle accelerators and detectors sensitive to the entire electromagnetic spectrum] – we explore the universe around us and call the adventure science.

I definitely think of science (and engineering and data analysis) as personal adventures. But here I have laid out our adventurers – an astronomer and a microscopist – on The Shadowlands. As much as science is an adventure, it is also a desperate quest to push back the darkness to find the light, the laws and logic that govern our world. I have lightly quilted this piece with an homage to Feynman diagrams, an example of which is shown at bottom.

A – Ocean jasper? The Milky Way? The interior of a long bone? What do you think each image could be?

B – An observatory; our important tools look not only in the visible but across the EM spectrum.

C – A spiral galaxy, one of two trillion in our universe. How far out can we see? That is equivalent to asking how far back in time – the speed of light determines that distance.

D – Black bubbles. Try blowing bubbles when it is zero degrees out (or microwave a bar of soap)! Experiment, science adventurer!

E – Stars through the clouds in our night skies.

F – A gas giant planet, or perhaps Venus with its thick, toxic atmosphere!

G – The sun? Bacterial growth? So much of the vast world mimics the miniature world, up to 40 orders of magnitude different in size.

H – A microscope for a budding scientist.

I – Looking through the portable telescope at the night sky. Remember to adjust it frequently for the earth’s rotation!

J – Could this be the individual atoms in a crystal lattice?

K – A woman using a scanning electron microscope; a scanning tunneling microscope can display a single atom!

At left is a pictorial representation of the interaction of subatomic particles of which all of our universe is made. Matter and energy are different forms of the same thing. Matter appears to come into and go out of existence from time to time, but rest assured that it is using or producing energy when it does so, so nothing goes to waste.

Quilt 1: Camouflage

Quilt 1: Camouflage

Minimum Bid: $200



Can’t Attend the Event? You can still bid on these beautiful quilts online. Click on the quilts you wish to bid on and then click on the “Make A Bid” Button to enter your bid. Your bid will remain confidential from bidders during the event but bids will be cut off the day of the event so bid early with your best bid!

Artist Notes: Camouflage

The idea of this quilt is to blur the lines traditional to quilts, drawing your eyes instead to the camouflage that makes animals unseen – safer from predators, or safer to prey upon other animals.

 I would have liked a fabric of giraffes in place of the zebras, so as to lose the outstanding color difference of black and white, to a scheme of all tans and browns, but still having a prey animal among the leopards and tigers. This color combination pops better than you might expect, but with a somewhat soothing, or lulling effect. (“There’s no predator here….”) This is a 9 block, 16 patch pattern, with four corner blocks all alike, four side blocks all alike, and one center block different. All patches are half square triangle except for eight, which are split quarter/half triangle patches. These comprise the ends of the center “Cs” of the leopards. Quilting is a simple stitch-in-the-ditch.