Dr. Patti Peeples
What is your HE-Artist talent or skill? Please describe.
I founded and ran an Outdoor Adventure Group for kids aged 9-14 called the JAGs: Jaguar’s Adventure Group (http://jaguarsadventuregroup.com/) in the North Florida area. The JAGs were an alternative to the Boy and Girl Scouts, and was open to both boys and girls, with no restrictions on membership based on religion, sexual orientation, etc. My intent was to get kids outdoors and address “Nature Deficit Disorder”, focusing on fun in the “wild”, survival skills, and friendship, and in the process, enabling them to develop a true love for nature. Maybe they’d learn a thing or two, also.
The JAGs became incredibly successful. Our membership grew from 7 kids to 20 in short order. Over the past 5 years, the JAGs have done many amazing outdoor adventures. Take a look at all them here, and enjoy pictures of the JAGs building wood rafts from reclaimed wood blown down in a hurricane; making a flashlight out of an Altoid tin and a battery; bee-keeping; devising animal snares; milking goats and making goat’s milk soap; and learning Falconry. They even had a storytelling workshop, because after all, good stories are essential fuel for any outdoor adventure, after propane and firewood.
A second “satellite” group of the JAGs was formed in the St. Augustine, Florida area. I was interviewed on NPR on Earth Day about the JAGs, and several newspaper and magazine stories were written about the group’s contributions to environmental causes, namely the North Florida Land Trust, a land conservation organization.
The JAGs have made a difference. Based on a Nature Photography expedition with a noted local nature photographer (Craig O’Neal), the JAGs created Nature Notecards of their photography of a local wildlife and nature reserve, made on recycled paper, and sold them. Through this project, the JAGs raised almost $1,000 for the North Florida Land Trust, used to preserve land for environmental protection. Read more about the JAGs activities here. If you’d like to buy some notecards and help the environment and a great group of kids, click here!
Do you have a website where we can learn more?
How long have you been doing this?
For my entire adult life, I have mentored kids in outdoor activities and nature “adventuring”! It is my true Happy Place. I adore being outside with kids who have that special childlike enthusiasm and wonder at simple things. In a more formal fashion, I started as a Cub Scout Leader in 2004, and began the JAGs in 2008. Also, in 2008, I began a 1-week Outdoor Adventure camp that takes place on my brother’s 30 acres of wildlife wonderland called Camp Five Ponds. Each June, my brother and I have 7 boys for the week, and they canoe, swim in the lakes, hike, do archery, fish with bows and arrows, build fires, eat many meals from the vast organic gardens and fruit orchards, and experience summertime like he and I used to, as kids: free, happy, barefooted, and with friends.
Why did you start doing this?
Simple: It makes my heart sing with happiness. And I’m pretty good at building fires, tying knots, making shelter out of natural materials and other things like that. I have a special secret wish to be stranded on a deserted island with just my Swiss Army Knife.
What makes you love doing this?
It’s simple. It’s beautiful. And it’s touching a child’s heart through the earth. Who could not love that?
What is your current job?
I’m a Health Economist, a pharmacist, and the President and Founder of HealthEconomics.Com. And I’m a mom to 13-year old twin boys who love getting dirty outside.
How long have you been working in the field of health economics and outcomes research?
Egad. A long time. Almost 25 years.
And now, a few questions just for fun!
- What was your favorite food when you were a child?
Sunflower seeds in the shell. And salad (iceberg lettuce, that’s all there was!) with Wish Bone Italian Dressing.
- What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod or musical device?
Halleluhiah, the Jeff Buckley version.
- What sound do you love?
The light snore of my kids when they are in a deep sleep.
- If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be like and what would it be for?
Oh, it’d be at the music festival, with my favorite camping friends (including Undine [who works for HealthEconomics.Com] and her family), guitars, sitting around the campfire, sipping microbrews.
- If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
Parker J. Palmer, founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, who has a beautiful, balanced view on life.
- If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
I would have loved to be part of the experience of those who participated in and were travelers on The Underground Railroad. I love this demonstration of humanity by so many strangers, in a time where our nation was pretty devoid of fairness and decency.
- If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
Dorothy Parker. She’s wickedly delicious in her humor.
- What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
A microwave. Seriously. My mother was terrified of it, and wouldn’t be in the kitchen when I cooked in it. My first dish was bar-b-que chicken in the microwave. It tasted terrible, as you might imagine. But WOW, it cooked quickly!