In 2008, I had my first immersive experience with hackerspaces, unconferences, and the DIY culture. During my honeymoon, I visited some of the original hackerspaces in Germany and Austria and met some of the movement’s pioneers. I was instantly captivated by the welcoming and natural sense of community I found there.
From a young age, I was immersed in the world of DIY, spending my childhood on an acre of land in the suburbs of Vancouver. This way of life was a fundamental part of my family’s code and taught me the importance of self-sufficiency and creativity. As a Brownie and Girl Guide, I gained invaluable survival skills that have stayed with me throughout my life.
As I grew older, I became even more passionate about creating and building, and when my husband co-founded the first hackerspace in Los Angeles, I knew I had to be a part of it. With the birth of our son, I co-founded the first-ever “kid-friendly hackerspace” – a makerspace – in Los Angeles. This was a natural extension of my DIY ethos. I was determined to create a space for children to develop their skills and creativity and explore making in a safe and welcoming environment.
The catalyst for my endeavour was my concern about the inadequate quality of education, which lacked shop classes and life skills courses. I firmly believed that these skills were equally, if not more, critical than traditional classes in school. It troubled me to meet engineers who had never made anything with their hands yet were responsible for making significant decisions about city infrastructure. It was clear that analytical and critical thinking were lacking in the US and elsewhere. Therefore, I made it my mission to help move children from memorizing facts to producing new and original work.
Since then, I have focused on projects that promote education with these objectives in mind, and my thinking has evolved to include sustainability and the greater earth community. My vision for Forest Spaces is an experiment in developing a blueprint to combine a makerspace with a traditional forest lab, where anyone can participate, learn, and contribute regardless of background.
As a Ph.D. candidate at UBC Faculty of Forestry, I am researching forest immersion’s effects on human health. My studies have given me an even deeper appreciation for forests’ crucial role in our physical and mental well-being. This research has also influenced my approach to building Forest Spaces. I aim to create a virtual and physical space where individuals can learn, connect with nature, and benefit from its healing properties.
Forest Spaces is an expression of environmental values, educational outreach and science-backed initiatives. The goal is to strengthen the relationship between people and nature for complete well-being. Through extensive research and engaging experiences, Forest Spaces provides expert guidance on how to incorporate the revitalizing power of nature into daily life for overall health and wellness