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Humans of Eugene, July 2020

An essential key in environmental preservation is understanding the connection among all living things. Alongside her sound and creative healing practices, Environmental Designer Ann Christensen explains the importance of our bond and presence with our environment through gardens.

Stepping off the backyard patio, the sunlight shines through the trees onto the gravel pathway that frames the yard. Christensen’s backyard is home to neighborhood cats, birds and deer. It is a very quiet and serene outdoor space. Even though Lorane highway is around the corner from her home, the tranquility of her ponds and fountains somehow drown out the sound traffic.

Growing up along the coast of Northern California in Eureka, Christensen was raised exploring the sights and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada and the Oregon Umpqua River. After studying fine arts and receiving her Masters in Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon, Christensen started her environmental consulting practice.

Christensen has always felt deeply connected to natural environments. Christensen sees the beauty and spirit in all living things reflected in her South-Eugene home, which is something of a plant haven.

“I’m very interested in spirit,” she says. “Spirit, as in what is the essence of the individual and the essence of place and the essence of all living things.”

Within this essence of spirit, Christensen finds that this is how she connects herself and how others can be connected to the planet. In this way, more than half of her design business has been centered around environmental planning and restoration projects.

Only in the last few years has she focused more closely on sustainable gardening and creating connections with people and their landscapes. An important aspect of her practice is being able to help her clients find joy and develop a strong bond with their outdoor spaces.

“Healthy soil creates healthy plants. Choose the right plant for the right place and create it.”

Christensen says

While Christensen expresses the additional importance of structure and technique of landscaping, reading more subjectively into areas such as the elements; water, soil, exposure and place, are the additional key factors in building a landscape.

This connection with the natural world is something Christensen seeks to inspire in others. In her practice, being connected to the natural world is fundamental and sacred.

“When we are connected with the planet, it is very hard to violate.” she says. “The more sensitive we become, the better we can read people and our landscapes.”

Whether Christensen is working to create beautiful and fruitful outdoor spaces or guiding clients through meditation, self-healing or art, she works to create an awareness of the mind. This awareness creates a deeper more involved relationship within oneself and in the surrounding natural world. 

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