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Living Programs

STEAM/STEM and Literacy

Storytelling Naturalist

Coral Conant Gilles

Preschool Storytelling Howl_edited.jpg

Preschoolers are elbow deep in pond water and weeds trying to scoop up a damselfly nymph. 

Teens and adolescents listen to stories of trees, wind, and animals around them before creating their own stories.

A young girl scoops up a slug and a boy races to show Coral the bright red leaf he found on their discovery hike. 

Elementary kids stamp life size track replicas across a page while telling you the animal's story. 

Families trot, sing, wiggle, dance, and hunt along with Coral and the animals in her stories.

Elders snicker along with children then pass worms back and forth.

Adults laugh, wonder, smirk, reflect, and relax as Coral transports them across worlds, time, and place. 

Connection happens when Coral Conant Gilles shares nature activities and storytelling with the community. 


Photo Gallery - Click on Pictures for More Information

Oral Storytelling; Hands-on Nature Activities; Pond Critters; Inter-generational Programs; Literacy and Storytelling Activities; Discovery Hikes; Audience Engagement; Activities for All Ages

Upcoming Events
Gathering Tales for Winter: Storytelling and Games - Adults and Teens
Thu, Feb 20
Feb 20, 7:00 PM
Threshold, 2717 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Coral will share poignant and funny stories to stir us. Listen and play storytelling games to ignite laughter and connection. We’ll build community, not storytellers, so come as you are and leave delighted.
Mining Stories Workshop with DCAGS
Sat, Mar 14
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Mar 14, 12:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day, 4505 Regent St, Madison, WI 53705, USA
Learn to effectively draw personal stories from loved ones and from your own life while having fun and connecting deeply.
Gathering Tales for Winter: Storytelling and Handicrafts
Thu, Jan 30
Jan 30, 7:00 PM
Threshold, 2717 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Learn to make cordage from wild harvested nettles. I’ll tell my favorite winter stories, while you create cordage or a project of your own.

How'd you become a Storytelling Naturalist?

Quite by accident.

With my parents and sister being educators, I fled from the idea. It took me years to realize that every job I'd ever had was an educator position - from teaching swimming and backpacking to tutoring and environmental education. I eventually realized that education was my passion, but desks were not.  

During one of my jobs as an environmental educator, I was teaching 4th graders about the Missoula Floods.  I taught the same information day after day, and even though I knew the Missoula Floods were wildly fascinating, I watched 100s of kids' eyes gloss over every week when I threw big numbers like 10,000 years, 500 cubic miles, 60 miles per hour, and 300 feet at them.  One day, I had them close their eyes. Together we traveled to the ice age and built a fire along a creek.  Then they built a raft as a lake formed in front of them.  Pretty soon they were racing through the Columbia Gorge at 60 miles an hour as trees snapped like twigs and boulders crashed around them.  They were hooked and so was I.  

I combine my passions for storytelling and nature in my work. I tell folklore, original tales, and personal stories. My stories build connections with the natural world and between communities. My hands-on nature activities facilitate exploration and foster curiosity. 


Contact Me

Looking for a storyteller or a naturalist?  Want me to get emails about my public events? Got questions? Get in touch!