with native spirea at Smith-Bybee wetland

name: Barbara Quinn

location: Portland, Oregon

education: BA, Graphic Design, Portland State University and recent Master of Divinity, Marylhurst University

community volunteer: chair of Friends of Cathedral Park Neighborhood Assoc. and Friends of Baltimore Woods

employment: communications, promotion and graphic design

what: community activist, organizer, writer, environmentally aware, design and communications professional

religious affiliation: undomesticated Catholic

blog theme: daily pilgrimage (or as close as possible) to urban wilderness locations while asking the question: how can the recovery of wilderness tradition of Judeo-Christianity inform modern environmental attitudes especially the destruction of nature?

blog goals: experience and observe nature; include the audience in the pilgrimage; engage in conversation; develop online community; ask the question, “is there a spiritual dimension in our relationship with the environment?”; and consider whether wilderness tradition of western spiritual heritage is still valid.

I will seek an encounter with urban wilderness over the next year in order to see if the symbolism of wilderness tradition from the Judeo-Christian spiritual record is still valid in urban natural areas. Wilderness is presented as place of independence, trust, and divine gift. I will seek areas close to my Portland, Oregon neighborhood daily or as close to it as possible in order to ‘be’ in nature for an unspecified time.

mode of travel
This site will offer observations, discussion, photos and reflection. I hope it will be more of an experience than an intellectual exercise.


  1. When the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly met in Portland two years ago, environmental issues seemed to be a common ground where many different religions came together. I wonder if expanding your question to include Islam might be interesting. More later.

    • Interesting thought especially since the wilderness of ancient Israel was specific to the dry high mountain areas of Palestine that is now a good deal Muslim.
      A quick survey of the internet shows Muslims grappling with many of the same environmental issues Christians are:

      “At the heart it is an issue of world view. How we view ourselves in relation to nature. Whether we’re part of it or a part from it…” How Islam Teaches Environmentalism

      “All things seen or unseen are God’s signs (ayat) and act as witnesses to His existence. All things in the universe are manifestations of Him, all are from Him.” Islam from Inside

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