Nathanael Card is a talented writer, creative, and environmental advocate whose inspiring professional past gives us diverse lenses through which to explore the topic of collaboration. Enjoy our Q+A with Nate below, and be sure to check out his spotlight feature in this month's issue of En Root!
This month's theme is all about collaboration. Tell us how this theme has played a role in your personal or professional life. I guess you could say I've adopted collaboration as a way of life. I was first introduced to the concept as a way of business as an intern-turned-company-member with a non-profit theatre company in Chicago called Collaboraction. From its inception, the company ditched the traditional dictatorial model of production in favor of ensemble-driven creation where every player's input holds weight at the table. With that roundtable model of theatre-making, Collaboraction is now one of a very short list of theatre companies with Emmy awards, which they, with NBC, won for "The Lost Story of Emmett Till: Trial in the Delta" in 2022. I left the company when I moved to California in 2014, but that way of engagement has stayed with me in almost every way. Most personally, adopting a collaborative mindset in my relationships has led me to greater and richer love that I ever knew before. The principals are the same: drop the ego, listen with respect, speak and act authentically. Imagine what's possible if we build our society and economy around these principles.
At OutGrowth, we believe in designing the space and time to reimagine the path forward. How do you believe collaboration can impact our perspective and influence our future decisions? There is an inherent sort of awe one can experience when a collaborative project begins to take shape, becoming greater than the sum of its parts. Witnessing a breakthrough like this as a participant is inspiring every time.
What is one hard lesson you learned in this past year that contributed to your growth? Sometimes all the care in the world can't save a tree that was planted in the wrong place to begin with. And that's okay.
What is one competency or skill you hope to develop in 2023?
In fact, I'll be starting grad school for ecological landscape design in the fall. I'm looking forward to discovering the answer to this question when it happens; for now, I'm just excited for the opportunity to learn the trade in a focused environment with others who share similar passions.
What inspires you?
Opportunities for growth.
At OutGrowth, we believe in preparing the next generation of leaders. What is one resource you'd recommend to those looking to carve out the time for growth in the next year?
Dirt! I'm not kidding. Spend time taking care of some plants, especially if you're willing to fail, learn, and try again. But in terms of media, check out "Forest Forensics: A Field Guide to Reading the Forested Landscape" by Tom Wessels. He's on YouTube as well. You'll never look at the forest the same way again.
What's next? What are you excited about in the coming year?
I'll be moving to Massachusetts for school. I've lived many places, but this will be my first time making home in the Northeast. I'm especially stoked on tracking down some old growth trees in the forests there.
Nate Card enjoys bringing people together, and holding space for them in a way that brings them closer to the natural world, and in the process, each other. He holds a BFA in Performing Arts from Stephens College (2006), and is enrolled at The Conway School to earn an MS in Ecological Design, (2024). He intends to use these combined credentials to help tell the stories of the landscape and the life within it.