by Justin Glanville and Julia Kuo

Bioluminescence is the process by which certain animals and plants create their own light. This illuminated story explores how bioluminescence works — and contemplates how amazing it must feel to glow at will!

Some places we have seen these bioluminescent creatures for ourselves:
- Glowworms by boat in the Te Anau caves of New Zealand
- Dinoflagellates by kayak at Point Reyes National Seashore in California
- Bioluminescent water and sand in St. John in the US Virgin Islands
- Firefox in the mountains of Taroko National Park, Taiwan


by Julia Kuo

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© Julia Kuo

I spent my childhood reading storybooks about places where the snow never melts and where huge beasts rule the land. Narnia’s centaurs and talking foxes filled my days with magic, but they existed firmly between the ends of these books. It was hard to imagine these creatures inhabiting the same world as our suburban lap dogs and chubby squirrels.

And yet high speed internet arrived and I discovered David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series. I watched it over and over again, thrilled to realize that otherworldly places and extraordinary creatures do exist. One of these places was Alaska.

Alaska is home to glaciers the size of Rhode Island, some of the largest bears in the world, and a mountain that reaches almost 4 miles high. I read these facts and scrolled through countless pictures on my shiny laptop screen, but it was plain that there was no way to comprehend the magnitude of the Alaskan wilderness without standing there in person. So last summer, my family and I went to Alaska in the hopes of seeing this fantastically large and untouched landscape with our own eyes. …


by Emily Dove

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© Emily Dove

As a freelance illustrator, naturalist, and dog owner, escaping my home office and exploring beautiful (and dog-friendly) hiking trails is high on my list. I’m lucky to live in Oakland California, which is home to incredible, diverse landscapes that I can reach in under 20 minutes.

One of my favorites is the Serpentine Prairie Trail in the Redwood Regional Park. I love going an hour or two before sunset when the light is golden and the prairie practically glows.

So what is a Serpentine Prairie, exactly?

Naturally occurring serpentine rock creates soil that is very low in nutrients, giving rise to a unique set of plants that can tolerate the extreme soil condition. The soil has a light blue hue to it, which you can see in exposed areas of the trail. …


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The bison were airlifted via helicopter and shipping containers.

Emily and I arrived in Banff National Park on January 31, 2017, just one day before the bison were airlifted into the park. After more than a century of absence from Banff, 16 plains bison were reintroduced by Parks Canada into a small lot on the eastern edge. The possibility of coexisting with the largest land mammal in the Americas piqued our interest. We watched eagerly for news articles, twitter posts, and video clips as we imagined the arrival of these new neighbors.


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Nestled in a valley of the snow-capped Canadian Rockies is the small town of Banff, a place where humans and wildlife coexist. Early in February, Julia and I had the opportunity to document our travels during a stay at The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Below are my observations from our wintry explorations, and my humble attempt at sharing Banff’s natural beauty with the rest of the world.


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Welcome to Banff, Alberta / For two weeks, Emily and I lived out a fantasy winter life in the Canadian Rockies, hiking and drawing all day long, perpetually putting on all our winter gear, and sweating profusely whenever we got inside.


We have recorded three stories of our time at Banff National Park. We found that we couldn’t describe our experience in just one way, so we decided on a mix of nature observations, travel notes, and editorial — all with plenty of illustrations, of course!

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The first is a practical list of travel notes — a record of our activities over the two week period.

About

Meet Us in the Woods

Emily Dove and Julia Kuo are two freelance illustrators who want to share their love for the environment through drawing and writing.

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