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Beam to attend NAI conference


For a lot of people, the natural world holds a certain amount of magic for them. It can cast a spell that keeps them enthralled for a lifetime. They look at nature and see something magical.

For LaGrange County Naturalist Scott Beam, teaming up with Pete Stobie, longtime friend and fellow naturalist from Kalamazoo, Mich., sometimes there is a literal sense to the magic of nature. The pair took an interest in magic, combined it with their love and knowledge of nature, and created “Woodland Wizards,” a program that uses magic and sleight of hand to impart that sense of wonder about nature to their audiences.

Now the pair is heading for Perth, Ontario, Canada, for the 2013 National Association for Interpretation’s (NAI) regional conference, where they will present their program during a workshop to share their techniques with others from the region.

“Woodland Wizards encourages you to be amazed at the wonders of life all around you,” Beam said. “Science offers explanations, but it’s still amazing to witness.”

The program interprets the wonders of the natural world, such as photosynthesis, using magic to help the audience visualize what the natural world is doing.

“These gatherings are a tremendous opportunity to grow in skills and ideas,” Beam stated. He is also looking forward to giving back to the organization through the workshop. The idea of the Woodland Wizards started years earlier during a workshop at a similar conference, and Beam and Stobie are anxious to return the favor and show others what they’ve come up with. Then, other attendees can take the information back home and work it to fit their needs, according to Beam.

Beam is attending the conference in part due to being awarded a grant from the regional NAI to cover the cost of his registration. The 2013 regional conference is also being combined with the Northeast NAI Region.