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