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Welcome!

I'm Meredith Fontana

I am a Colorado based naturalist, outdoor guide, and educator with big dreams.

I created this site to teach you how to capture, explore, and protect the places you love through photography and outdoor education.

I believe that nature has the power to heal people, and people have the power to heal nature.

I also believe in creating art that causes positive change, makes people better, and impacts the world.

I see art as a means of connecting with nature.

And, when we connect with nature, we become the happiest, healthiest versions of ourselves.

When we connect with nature, we also learn to value the planet.

We learn to value it not just for the resources that it provides us with, but for the lessons it has to teach us.

Lessons about humility, gratitude, purpose, and wellbeing.

I believe that people are intrinsically motivated to protect what they value and what they love.
I believe that people are intrinsically motivated to protect what they value and what they love.

It is possible to inspire others so see nature as important. Invaluable. Worth protecting.

We can inspire a movement to heal the planet.

Maybe, it starts with creating art.

My mission is to inspire and empower adventurous creatives to make art, connect with nature, and protect the planet.

My Story

In 2016, I left my "dream job" as a paleontologist, ending a decade long career that had been a dream of mine since I was a little girl.

After a series of major personal setbacks that challenged me to question my purpose, I decided that I would dedicate my life to studying and creating things that were important to me.

This decision led me on a winding road of career and life detours. For the next three years, I intensively studied yoga, meditation, nutrition, computer programming, outdoor education, photography, and entrepreneurship. I experimented with new careers and tested business ideas.

While I had some successes and rewarding experiences, I "failed" over, and over, and over again. I still fail, in one way or another, almost daily. Risk of failure, however, is necessary part of any path that will lead you to your goals, and not something that should paralyze you from taking action.

I should also say that the decision I made to leave a really great job was terrifying, but I would later learn that fear, like failure, never goes away if you are living your life fully and without regrets. Anything worth doing is terrifying, you just have to learn how to trust yourself, push through the fear, and take action towards your goals anyway.

Today, I continue to dedicate my life to studying and creating things that deeply matter to me, which is why I created this website in 2020. This site is a growing and evolving work in progress that I work on daily.

Every piece of content on this site, from the written guides, videos, and custom diagrams, to the code that this site is built on, is 100% designed and created by me as a gift to you. Everything I create on this site starts as an idea or vision in my head, and the fun part is figuring out how to make it a reality.

It is my sincere hope that this site enriches and changes your life for the better. If it does, I'd love to hear about it.
My Guiding Principles
I strive to live by these core values and principles in order to keep myself grounded and focused in the right direction.
Challenge convention and conventional thinking.
Society has brainwashed most people into believing that they should keep their heads down, work hard to fit in, play it safe, do what they are told, and follow the herd. Most people abide by a contrived, artificial system designed to keep the population obedient and ultimately stuck. But this mentality is simply a false belief that stunts progress, innovation, art, and every other creative pursuit that can change the world. Anyone can break free from this system if they choose. It is terrifying to do so, but it’s the only way to make a difference.
Never stop learning and sharing knowledge.
I believe that the more you learn, the more you open your mind to new ideas and possibilities. I also believe that sharing what you learn is like giving a gift. There is nothing more special than turning a light on for someone else because of what you taught them. When ideas are spread and knowledge is shared, we make progress as a society.
Seek adventure and explore the unknown.
Adventure pushes you past your comfort zone and self-imposed limiting beliefs. It gives you new ideas and perspectives that change your perception of reality. Exploration is about taking risks, embracing the unknown, and trying things that have no guarantee of success.
Practice environmental stewardship.
Everyday, we make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions that impact the environment. From the sunscreen you use to the car you drive, you are either consciously or unconsciously shaping our relationship with the land. Everyday, we have the opportunity practice better, more sustainable ways to make these decisions. We can, and should, choose to practice behaviors that promote responsible use, conservation, and protection of the environment.
Live Mindfully.
Living mindfully is about awareness of the present moment and consciously paying attention. When we live mindfully, we can truly experience life to the fullest. We become aware of what serves us and what doesn’t. We make better decisions. Mindfulness is the necessary first step to connecting and creating. It guides us towards our best selves.
Work with purpose
The most important work is work that leaves the world a better place than you found it. When you do work with purpose, it creates positive change in our communities and our environment. Do everything as if it will make a difference, even if you are not exactly sure how it will make a difference (yet).

Why I Created This Website

The Story behind this project

As a natural scientist and passionate, lifelong outdoor adventurer, I have always been frustrated by a lack of awareness of environmental issues and meaningful resources to help people become more environmentally conscious.

In 2019, I ended up working as an outdoor guide at Rocky Mountain National Park where I was able to share my love of the outdoors as well as my knowledge of the natural world with travelers from all over the world.

It was during this time that I realized that a connection to nature was the most powerful means of waking people up to the problems that or planet is facing today. Problems like the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction.

That job was a transformative experience for me. I saw people cry when they saw the mountains for the first time in their lives. I heard people ask heart-felt questions about the the glaciers they saw melting before their eyes. I felt the true, child-like excitement of urbanites who saw wildlife in their natural habitat.

Most importantly, for the first time, I saw indifferent people start to care.

While the academics that I had spent most of my career working with viewed the environmental crisis as a hopeless lost cause, this experience felt optimistic.

When people see, feel, and experience nature on a personal level, they not only develop an appreciation for it, but they are more likely to more likely to take action to protect it.

I started to believe that the source of the change we desperately need to heal the planet, and ourselves, might just start with connecting people to nature.

From my own personal experiences, I knew that this connection could be meaningfully developed through art and education.

Less than a year later, when the world came to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, I started building this website as a resource for people interested in deepening their connection with nature through photography and outdoor education.

I see my work as a photographer, environmentalist, and educator as a way to ultimately help people become more environmentally-conscious in their everyday lives.

I hope that the content on this website inspires and empowers you to create art and connect to nature. I hope that this connection helps you become your happiest, healthiest, best self. And, I hope this inspires and empowers you to create positive change for our planet.

My vision is a world where every human being is aware of their environmental impact and chooses to make small mindful adjustments to the way they live. Together, we can positively impact nature in a major way, and we can leave the world a better place than we found it.

A Short Bio
Originally from Houston, Texas, I left home when I was 18 to study natural science and pursue outdoor adventure.
In 2011 I received a BS in Evolutionary Biology from The University of Texas at Austin, and in 2014 I completed my MS in Evolutionary Biology at The George Washington University.  
Throughout my studies, I specialized in paleontology, phylogenetic systematics, and taxonomy.
My academic and professional career in paleontology encompassed over 15 years of research, teaching, and consulting.

I have conducted research in affiliation with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the US National Park Service. See my other research affiliations below.

I'm proud to have written this and co-authored this.

I've been part of field expeditions all over the American Southwest. The coolest thing I've ever dug up was this.
Today I'm grateful to live in beautiful Colorado - a place that feels like a dream to call home.

When I'm not reading, writing, or working on creative projects, you will probably find me either training for marathons or adventuring in the mountains with my camera and dog Lambchop.

Past Academic and Professional Research Affiliations

A Short Bio
Originally from Houston, Texas, I left home when I was 18 to study natural science and pursue outdoor adventure.
In 2011 I received a BS in Evolutionary Biology from The University of Texas at Austin, and in 2014 I completed my MS in Evolutionary Biology at The George Washington University.  

Throughout my studies, I specialized in paleontology, phylogenetic systematics, and taxonomy.
My academic and professional career in paleontology encompassed over 15 years of research, teaching, and consulting.

I have conducted research in affiliation with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the US National Park Service. See my other research affiliations below.

I'm proud to have written this and co-authored this.

I've been part of field expeditions all over the American Southwest. The coolest thing I've ever dug up was this.
Today I'm grateful to live in beautiful Colorado - a place that feels like a dream to call home.

When I'm not reading, writing, or working on creative projects, you will probably find me either training for marathons or adventuring in the mountains with my camera and dog Lambchop.

Past Academic and Professional Research Affiliations

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"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - Henry David Thoreau