Project Wild Edges: Unveiling the Border Between Nature and Humanity

The Californian wilderness, with its untamed landscapes, harbors an intrinsic connection to the human spirit. In a groundbreaking initiative, Lisa Bruno Barker (aka Somatic-Recovery) and artist Jenny Hale, were awarded a $20,000 Humanities For All Project Grant from California Humanities for their innovative project titled, Project Wild Edges. This ambitious undertaking aimed to unravel the intricacies of the border between the wild and developed world, weaving a narrative deeply rooted in historical and cultural perspectives.

The Genesis of Project Wild Edges

Project Wild Edges transformed the Wolf Creek Trail in May 2022 into a captivating stage for an unprecedented theatrical immersive experience. Audience members were guided along the trail, accompanied by traveling musicians through a series of sites. Each site was stationed strategically to immerse spectators in theatrical scenes and thought-provoking art installations. These scenes delved into land practices informed by environmental science, contemporary land management, and indigenous traditions fostering a dialogue between the many voices that have had an impact on the land and showed  our interdependence with the natural world.

Creative Placemaking: Bringing Art to the Heart of the Community

Described as an example of creative placemaking, Project Wild Edges employed artmaking to shed light on local issues impacting a community threatened by wildfires. The extensive proposal encompassed public workshops, social media groups, community art sessions, outdoor performances, school-related workshops and theater chats. This multifaceted approach actively and successfully involved the public’s participation in the design and execution of this transformative humanities project.

Project Wild Edges is an example of creative placemaking, which uses art-making to share information on local issues that impact our community,” Barker explains. The open invitation to the public emphasized the collaborative nature of this endeavor, bringing our community together through shared experiences and creative art-making.

The Nature Within

Creative Director, Barker found her own fruitful and soulful somatic journey through the making of  Project Wild Edges. Barker reflects on this process:

“I found myself drawn to how nature heals my soul by simply spending time in nature with the silence of my mind and an open heart. This was during the height of the Pandemic and fear was a prominent force in our society, yet all around me in nature I saw signs of resilience: a tree having grown out of a rocky canyon wall and positioning itself for the best angle of light. Nature adapts and adjusts moment by moment and survives. I felt nature to be a force of instinctual knowledge greater than me and yet intrinsically entwined in the fabrics of my being. This awe of nature around and within me, is what served to inspire my ability to persevere in the making of Project Wild Edges during this unprecedented challenging  time.” 

In crafting the theatrical storyline of Project Wild Edges, it was evident that  “The Guide ” , an  actor who ushers the audience from site to site, would reference our innate dependence on nature. Standing above a verdant forest scene with a vibrant flowing stream, The Guide delivers these profound lines inspiring us to reach within:

                “Our bodies flow with river water, lungs expand with sky, earth minerals strengthen our bones. Are we a part of nature?”

Somatic-Recovery: Sensing into Your Own Wild Edge

Everyone has a wild side. Sometimes we reject it, disown it or hide it from ourselves. Sometimes aspects of our human nature can feel tainted when we value ourselves to be a spiritually evolved person. Where within you are your wild edges and your limits of comfort? Do you like things to be under your control, at all times? Do you fear a part of yourself that is untamed? Do you wish not to venture into any part of yourself that is too unknown, too foreign or too wild? Or perhaps you would venture forth with a trusted guide.

In Project Wild Edges, one of the central characters is the character “Nature” personafied. At a literal and figurative crossroads on the trail; Nature delivers these lines:

“We stand at a crossroads on this wild edge where our worlds intersect. When you build your future- will you remember me? I will survive without you, I will cleanse myself.  Will you survive without me?

When you ignore me, when you suppress even a part of me, a part of you is deadened. Because the wilderness in me is the bright life force inside of YOU!”

Schedule your Free Somatic-Recovery Session Today

Schedule a complimentary 30-minute session free so that we can begin to chart your inner territory together bringing forth your light to shine in the world. Typically we meet over the phone or via FaceTime. If you live in the Santa Barbara area, we can meet in person. Sessions are all treated with the utmost confidentiality.  I am here to support you in creating  your most authentic, purposeful, and  joyful life. Now, let’s work together!

Reverend Lisa Bruno Barker Text to 530-575-8588 or email-

[email protected]