Q&A with April Pulley Sayre

Our April 16, 2019 blog post shared a great children’s book, Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet, by April Pulley Sayre. Sayer is a photo-illustrator and award-winning author of over 65 books. Learn more about her and her writing process in this Q & A Eco Partners shared with Sayre.

Which came first for you, the photography or the poetry?
The language for Thank You, Earth definitely came first, an offshoot of a larger project I was working on. It was a heartfelt thank you letter. The photos were chosen from many of my favorite photos over the years, plus a long cross-country road trip that allowed us to stop at some amazing national parks.

Was there someone in your childhood who inspired your love of nature?
My mom and grandmother created the gardens and yards in which I grew up. There, on my own, I explored and found my love of nature. We had a bird book and a field guide to wildflowers. Having field guides on hand to spark curious minds is important. My elementary school teacher, Mrs. Ottewell, also loved plants and was very knowledgeable.

Traveling for speaking engagements would seem to place a different set of demands upon you than writing and photography. Which activity is more natural for you?
Being quiet in nature is my comfort place. Photography restores my heart and mind. Speaking takes energy. It is exciting and revs me up, but I have to spend a long time afterwards calming down enough to feel the flow of nature and words.

Outside of work entirely, what does a perfect day look like for you?
On a perfect day, I would rise early enough to see the sunrise and hear the dawn songs of birds. Then I would have time for exercise, drawing or painting, and being with people I love to share what I have seen and to hear and experience what they love. That perfect day would close with noticing the sunset and then hearing the sounds of frogs and toads at night. But, if I am honest, I could probably only handle about two so-called “perfect” days before I’d be antsy and feel unfulfilled. Then I’d need to do some of my work — writing and photographing — because I find it engaging and energizing, too!

Photo by Jeff Sayre

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