1. Where can people follow you online, and who are your followers?
Find me on Instagram as @azveronika. My followers tend to be plant and desert lovers from all over the world. They appreciate the desert’s raw beauty and how that beauty is the outgrowth of its harshness. They are drawn to sweeping vistas, outdoor adventures, tiny details, and scientific insights. I also have the occasional realtor follower hoping I’ll remember them when I sell my house.
2. How long have you been actively using social media to share content?
I’ve been sharing my window to the outdoors since 2015.
3. What led you to begin using social media as a platform, and how do your outdoor adventures fit that platform?
I began using social media because my camera’s memory card was bursting with the wonder and excitement of the Sonoran Desert. It’s my humble way of encouraging people to get out and experience it for themselves; a way of providing vicarious views and insights for those who may never make it to the desert because of distance or physical limitations. My adventures are primarily on foot because I like to take my time and savor the textures, colors, movements, sounds, and aromas of the desert.
4. What does nature and the outdoors mean to you?
Nature is the right thing for everyone: it is calming and exciting, renewing and reminiscing, mysterious and familiar. It is a precious gift that connects me with the generosity, creativity, and genius of the Creator. Nature is studied with the eyes of science as well as art and philosophy. The outdoors is an open canopy of infinity over my head that takes my breath away and puts me in my place.
5. How do you think social media and other communications can influence good stewardship of the outdoors?
Social media can influence for the good by expanding understanding of our connectedness to nature and the fragility of our desert environment. Beautiful and/or surprising photography with engaging captions is an honest way to draw curious minds. I’d like to be part of energizing people to act to protect the desert while exploring.
6. What else do you want people to know about you?
I’m always making things; I’m a maker. The last couple of years I’ve been obsessed with making hand-built ceramic cactus planters. On another year it might be sewing, photographic wall art, beaded jewelry or homemade bread. I volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix as another way to share my enthusiasm for the desert. I love photography and the challenge of making the camera see what my brain sees.It’s been a lifetime of being “outdoorsey” for me. In every decade it has looked a little different according to my situation and abilities. I’ve never been to Disneyland or Las Vegas or Paris but I have a bucket list of natural phenomena to visit, from the Atacama Desert to Uluru to Aurora Borealis over Alaska.