When we last spoke with Dr. Susan Eirich at Earthfire Institute, she shared with us her lifelong mission of Reconnection Ecology®, and our work on the Earthfire Bear Gardens had only just begun. This fall, we were fortunate to reconnect with her not just for updates on the new habitat, but for an exciting announcement: her new book, Whispers from the Wild: An Invitation, featuring stories from the rescued wild animals of Earthfire, had just been published.
The book weaves together a touching narrative of the way animals and humans can change each other’s lives across dozens of stories, held close by a common thread: Susan’s, and her partner, Jean’s, immense love for and dedication to the animals of Earthfire. Twelve years of hard work and lived experience cultivated this book, a moving piece that centers the potential we all have for “deep connections formed through play, love, and even in moments of passing” with all living things.
“I couldn’t rest without sharing who these animals are, for humans’ sake—to provide them with a glimpse at the wonder of these beings,” Susan explains. “These stories allow us to meet the animals with warmth and encounter the possibilities of who they are, which is not an encounter we can always provide in-person due to the restrictions of the sanctuary.”
“It will hopefully provide a shift in perspective on the beauty of life,” Susan adds. “We really are living in a miracle.”
The book features six stories about the bears—two of whom will be the new residents of the gardens that were only six weeks from completion when we spoke with Susan.
“It’s perfect timing,” she explained, “since the bears enter hibernation soon.” When they emerge, likely sometime around mid-March, they will have a beautiful new exhibit, designed with their well-being at the forefront. It will provide each bear the chance to do what bears do most naturally—from foraging for native plants and berries, to climbing to a high point to see the land around them, to cooling off and playing in their own freshwater pool before taking a rest in their sheltered den.
On what’s next after the incredible milestone of publishing her first book, Susan shared that she hopes to write another book solely focused on her principle of Reconnection Ecology®, a practice she describes as “awakening our bonds to nature in order to spur both individual and collective change.”
“Research tells us that meaningful experiences in nature can lead to profound changes in our worldview and behaviors,” Susan explains. “If we open ourselves to connecting deeply with the natural world, including with other species, those experiences can transform us—not just intellectually, but also emotionally, philosophically, even spiritually.”
Visionaries like Susan and her team at Earthfire make our work towards a brighter, kinder, more sustainable world for all even more impactful. We couldn’t be more grateful for Earthfire’s continued partnership, and feel lucky to share these exciting updates on the new Bear Gardens and to support and celebrate the release of Whispers of the Wild.
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy to support Earthfire Institute, you can do so here.
If you’re interested in working with us on your upcoming zoo project, reach out to us here.