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How the Swamp Inspired Me

Peyton Farnum, Creative Team Member

February 15, 2021

I love wildlife. I have ever since I was a child.

I grew up as a young girl living near the swamps of Savannah, Georgia. My dad and I would go for walks in the lush green forests that met with the wetlands of the coast. The nutria would swim down the bayous, making wakes with their tail as I watched them, crouched by the water’s edge. Tall cattail plants that seemed to reach as high as the sky would block my view until dad lifted me up onto his shoulders. The frogs would croak and form a rhythmic chorus that allowed the swamp to echo with life.

Dad would point at birds that swooped by and tell me the names of each species he recognized, encouraging me to mimic their calls alongside him. I’d look with awe and ponder how the swamp came to be so breathtaking. The wildlife of Savannah became my home, my childhood, and fostered my love for nature. Eventually, I grew taller than the cattails on the water’s edge, and circumstances led my family away from the swamps of Savannah.

After all this time, the swamp stuck with me. I remember the fondness I felt for the wildlife back then, and as I have grown, this fondness has found a home with another passion of mine: my love for art.

My dad, in our downtime away from the swamp, would hand me paint brushes or pencils and let me create whatever I wanted. The world became my blank canvas in these moments. I realized that creating was something so freeing, so sincere, so magical. Since then, I have held onto the feelings that those memories have given me: the intensity of discovering what I love so dearly.

Within these passions I have found happiness in combining these two parts of my identity. I incorporate animals and nature into my art at every opportunity possible, spending countless hours observing animals I see or read about. Every time I am struck with new inspiration, I fall in love with art and wildlife all over again.

As a college freshman, these passions still hold a special place in my heart, and I am certain that they are not going anywhere any time soon. Recently, I completed a portfolio project that focused entirely on endangered species, such as the pangolin, okapi, and Amur leopard. This project was not only intended to showcase my love for these animal subjects, but also to call attention to species that are in need in our world. It was one of my favorite projects of my artistic career so far, as I felt the message behind them was meaningful to a cause I feel strongly for. I think back to my younger self and I know that past me would be proud of all I have created.

I love wildlife, and I love art, and I owe it all to the inspiration that the swamp gave to me.


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