We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Weaver and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Leading programs with The PETAL Project, we want to help share creative environmental education opportunities that help grow our community’s environmental literacy. You can imagine environmental education in 3 tiers: environmental awareness – noticing something about the environment or our impacts on the environment; environmental education – learning general concepts and ideas about environmental issues; and environmental literacy – a comprehensive understanding of environmental issues and what we can do about them. Major principles and values that guide us are Field Environmental Philosophy, Intersectional Environmentalism, Queer Ecology, Participatory Virtues, and Teaching Community democratically (everyone is a teacher and a learner, and we can all share our strengths and skills). These values help us have a strong foundation for education and community building to uplift ecological and environmental education.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
PETAL project stands for “Participatory Environmentalism Through Art & Learning”. We wanted to cultivate spaces where people can connect and participate in environmental issues and solutions – and we wanted this process to involve creative and artistic learning opportunities. I found my way to this because I am also an environmentalist and artist, and I was seeing so much crossover between these communities. We often think of environmental issues, then solutions with science, technology, policy, etc. But in my experience, artists and creatives are at the forefront of helping their communities understand the impact and reality of environmental issues. Artists tap into our environmental imaginations and help us to develop care and concern for the environment.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Our local Nature Centers offer a lot of great green spaces and protected areas. Even when these are located near developed areas, animals and plants will thrive in a portion that is protected green space. I enjoy Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center in Denton, the Ft. Worth Nature Center & Refuge, and the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve. After hiking, the Dallas Museum of Art and dallas contemporary museum have great exhibits to cool down and view.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The group of fellow environmentalists, artists, ecologists, naturalists, educators, and activists that support and help at PETAL Project deserve recognition. I knew there was a group in my friends and extended community that is passionate about environmental issues like I am, and has a wealth of knowledge and approaches to environmentalism. I wanted the PETAL project to be a space where we can share our passions while helping our community at the same time. I know that in time, people will contribute their individual skills and help grow the PETAL project in amazing ways I can’t anticipate yet.

Website: https://www.txpetalproject.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/txpetalproject/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrDWvt7HWwg

Other: We just started a Patreon to support our projects! https://www.patreon.com/txpetalproject

Image Credits
Ellie Alonzo

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.