January 05, 2021

Deep Ecology Stories of the Wasatch Range Community

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Have you ever wondered the importance of storytelling, how they matter to our communities, and why these stories connect us to the lands around us? 

Let’s start by explaining what we mean by the Wasatch Mountain Range Community, which we refer to as a community in the broad ecological sense of diverse individuals and groups living within or around an environment, like the Wasatch Mountain Range. This sense of ecological regions and community gives appreciation to everyone connecting back to the land around us or those that influenced us. Save Our Canyons is dedicated to protecting the beauty and wildness of the Wasatch Mountains, canyons, and foothills. We want to show how Save Our Canyons is not alone and that we are a part of a larger ecological community with many diverse communities of different spiritualities and backgrounds that promote the preservation of the Wasatch Mountain Range and nature for all. This also helps us all realize that millions of people, thousands of plants, and animals depend upon this unique region for their survival. 

As an organization, we seek to represent the diverse population of people who enjoy the  Wasatch and those that connect their spiritual belief with these natural areas; which is why the Deep Ecology Photo Voices project was created. This project has been a platform for communities to engage in collective storytelling to celebrate and learn about one another’s perspectives about conservation and protection of the Wasatch Range; a landscape that provides clean water, outdoor recreation, immersion in nature, and interactions with our shared planet.

Moreover, these stories will show you the importance of how communities are built around their local environment and their interactions with the land. These communal stories are the voices to the diversity of beliefs, practices, memories, ideas, poems, and passions to be heard from within a diverse and ecological community, like the Wasatch Mountain Range. Storytelling is the spirit of the community to connect with others, the heart to intertwine us to our local environments, and they hope to maintain these natural areas and our community bonds into the present-future.

Over the past two months, Elliott Parkin, Save Our Canyons Fall Community Engagement and Outreach Intern has been exploring our diverse relationships with nature by contacting various religious and community groups to ask them to participate in Save Our Canyons Deep Ecology Photo Voices project. The goal of the Deep Ecology Photo Voices project was to show the power of communal storytelling and be a platform to share why many communities care for nature and the Wasatch Range. So, we hope you are inspired by these stories of the Wasatch Mountain Range Community, and may you enjoy them.

Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable By Zeynep Kariparduc

"Coyote Twisting alongside a Van" By Alex Bochner, Hillel for Utah

Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá By Iqan Fadaei

"Light" By Christopher Kakuyo Leibow, Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship 

"Tracking Post" By Elliott Parkin, Save Our Canyons 

"We" By Ren, Multi-Religious Polytheistic Community


Save Our Canyons wants to show our appreciation to Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, Salt Lake Buddhist Fellowship, Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Salt Lake City, Hillel for Utah, University of Utah’s Global Change and Sustainability Center, and Westminster College’s Master of Art in Community Leadership program, Outdoor Education & Leadership Program, and Office of Global Peace and Spirituality. These organizations and groups assisted in spreading the word about the Deep Ecology Photo Voices project and many contributed to the success of this project. A special thanks to Zeynep Kariparduc, Christopher Kakuyo Leibow, Dana Tumpowsky, Riley Finnegan, Iqan Fadaei, Brenda B. Bowen, Peggy Cain, Cassie Hemphill, Kellie Gerbers, Jan Saeed, Hollie, Carl Fisher, Alex Schmidt, Grace Tyler, and Ren for all your assistance with this project.

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