My name is Belen, and my rather eclectic lifestyle has delivered me on the doorstep of becoming an amateur naturalist.
I’m a photographer. I’m a writer. I’m a teacher. I’m a geek. I live on Anderson Island, WA – the southernmost island in the Puget Sound and yes…we take a ferry to the mainland. Seasonally, I am in Austin, TX, and quite a few spots in between, living my own migration cycle that is oddly aligned with that of the Cedar Waxwing.
For a “hobby,” this area of my life has taken on a life of its own. It is filled to the brim with new knowledge and discovery, and my passion has become sharing my journey of observation and learning. If you are curious about how all this came to be, my evolution story is over here.
So what falls into my “naturalist” activities?
Most spare moments are dedicated to having my camera in hand, looking for wildlife. I share my wildlife photography around our island at art shows and sell photography-based products at the General Store and the Historical Society gift shop. The collection of 30,000+ “keepers” (while only keeping 2% of shots) has allowed me to create and give several interactive presentations on birds, wildlife and photography. In 2018, I joined the Board of the Anderson Island Park & Recreation District, offering a whole new path of learning and community engagement. I am a regular contributor to eBird, the Macaulay Library, and various birding groups. I volunteer with wildlife rehabilitation and often serve as a first point of contact to take in injured or orphaned wildlife.
It might look – on first glance at the blog – like I’m just a bird nerd, but my interests in wildlife expand as opportunities arise. What I see, you’ll see – orcas, humpbacks, seals, raccoons, deer, bunnies. No species is off the table if there is a story to tell.
By trade, I’m a creative director, instructional designer and coach in the Learning & Performance industry. The meandering path of my career track is another story entirely, but it is to blame for my current condition…making me a Jack of All Trades, unafraid to forge new skills, learn independently, and treat every new challenge as an opportunity to expand my areas of expertise.
I love to cook. I practice Ashtanga Yoga. I don’t have kids. My three cats travel across the country every year with us.