How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?
I joined Second Life after rewatching The Office during the pandemic, during a time when I was feeling a little lost. I figured if Dwight Schrute could live his best life not once, but twice, then so could I and here I am!
What does nature in Second Life represent or offer to you personally and how does it connect or resonate with physical world nature experiences?
Nature to me is a very spiritual thing. I feel like we can learn so many lessons from it like how to slow down and be present in our lives. It can teach us that things end, but there is also rebirth and new beginnings. I’ve always felt that we are connected to all living things and nature has always been a huge part of my life. It’s where I can be still and truly feel at peace with myself.
Nature in SL gives me that same sort of solace and peace but in a different way. It offers a place where I can do things that I can no longer do in my physical first world life such as biking, horseback riding, hiking, etc. It also offers an outlet for my creativity by giving me a blank canvas with which to create.
The Coffeehouse at The Nature Collective
Tell us more about The Nature Collective, what inspired you to create it, and have you seen any positive impacts TNC has had on the Second Life community?
I was inspired to create the Nature Collective after exploring so many beautiful places in my early days of SL. It was obvious that there were so many talented nature creators here and I wanted to find a way to help showcase these areas, make it easier for people to find these locations and get people out exploring them. I also wanted to inspire people to stop and look at the world around them, virtual and real, and maybe get inspired to help with local, national and international nature-related causes.
At its core, The Nature Collective is a group, or a collective if you will, of nature-based sims and locations in Second Life – but we are so much more than that. We encourage exploration of our member locations through our various group events. Many of our locations are focused on real environmental issues and are working to educate people and make an impact. Whether we are nature creators, nature explorers, or both, we care about nature in all its forms and are doing what we can to make a difference and help people connect with nature both in Second Life and in our day-to-day lives.
I feel like The Nature Collective has helped inspire people to create more nature spaces in SL. People get excited about creating and sharing their spaces. It’s also helped people connect. Our little community now has over 2100 members and is continually growing. TNC offers group events aimed at getting people out exploring in SL while meeting new people. We’ve seen friendships blossom over common interests in nature. It’s been truly heartwarming to see our little group into this beautiful community.
TNC has implemented an Explorer HUD, can you tell us how that works exactly, and how has it enhanced the exploration of nature experiences in Second Life?
Our Explorer HUD has over 160 different Nature Collective member locations. Nature Explorers attach the HUD, click on the arrows to either page forward or backward through locations with each one having their own text-based image and SLurl. People can then click on the HUD and it will open up the world map and allow them to teleport directly to that location. There is also a search option available that lets people type in the name of the location they’re looking for, if they don't want to page through every one.
Our Explorer HUD has made exploration in SL easier and more fun. Using our HUD means there’s no need to keep 160+ different landmarks in your inventory. The HUD also auto-updates when new locations are added, meaning that our members have the most-up-to-date list available at all times.
TNC Coffee Collective at The Dancing Rabbit Cafe
What are some of the events and activities that TNC runs? Can anyone attend and join? Where can Residents learn more about them?
We have several group events such as our Coffee Collective, Shutterbug Club, Trails ‘n Tails, Come Sail Away and our Book Club! Most events happen at different Nature Collective member locations as a way for people to visit and explore more of our locations. We have some laid back events like our Coffee Collective, where we meet up twice a month at different TNC member coffee houses and cafes to chat, mingle and just enjoy talking and getting to know people. Our Shutterbug Club is a once-a-month event where we visit different TNC member locations and take photos. Trails ‘n Tails happens once a month and is one of my favorites; we grab our SL pets and walk and hike as a group throughout different locations and explore, chat and try to take in as much of our surroundings as we can.
Anyone can join in these events, and we welcome everyone! You don’t need to be a Nature Collective member, but it helps to be in the SL group and in our Discord server so you can easily get event info, reminders, and updates. Event info and our event calendar can also be found at the Nature Collective headquarters in SL as well as on our website.
What can we expect from TNC in the future? Are there any new upcoming features, events, or goals you have for its future development that you can share with us?
We are always looking ahead at the different ways that we can get people involved and out exploring. We are working on our first publication, which will launch in the first quarter of next year, as well as revamping our Explorer HUD to make it more interactive and easier to use. We will also be adding more group events for our members and some different educational and informational events aimed at helping people make the most out of their Second Life. And last but not least, we are working on a new immersive mainland experience for the TNC headquarters with more informative content showcased and shared in fun and inventive ways.
We are also looking for ways to bridge our two worlds by working with various nature conservation organizations to promote fundraising efforts as well as showcasing what a Second Life presence can offer to these organizations. We are always looking for ways to inspire people to form a deeper connection with the world around them.
Tilheyra by Teagan Tunwarm
In what ways has building and managing The Nature Collective and being a part of the Second Life community impacted your life?
Without meaning to sound dramatic, it kind of saved me. I was more than a little bit lost after a life-changing health diagnosis. Second Life and creating The Nature Collective has opened new ways for me to dream and create and allowed me to do things that I can’t do anymore in my first life. It’s given me a sense of community and belonging and a sense of purpose when I needed it most. I’ve met so many wonderful and beautiful people from all walks of life and from all over the world that I wouldn’t have otherwise met and learned so much from them and from Second Life in the process. Second Life truly is a remarkable place.
Big Sky Over Florence by Meycy Bailey
Evergarden Equestrian by Teagan Lefevre
Thank you Emm, for being not only a promoter of nature's beauty and importance, but also for building such a thriving community where others can share in this appreciation.
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