We are sharing our favorite songs and podcasts that help us feel more connected to nature! 🎶 Check out our recommendations and read more about each choice below. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite song or podcast!
Are there any songs or podcasts that make YOU feel more connected to nature? Share them with us on social media!
“The Circle of Life” from The Lion King
“How Great Thou Art!” (hymn)
“Ragged Wood” by Fleet Foxes
“Where I’m From” by Digable Planets
“Rose on the Mountain” by the Flatlanders
“Become Ocean” by John Luther Adams
“Baba Yetu” by Christopher Tin
“Send Me on My Way” by Rusted Roots
“Smarty Plants” – Radiolab
“From Tree to Shining Tree” – Radiolab
Camp Monsters – REI Co-op Journal
Emily Stein, Youth Programs Coordinator
For my song, I would be remiss if I didn’t choose “The Circle of Life” (lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Elton John, vocals by Carmen Twillie and Lebo M.) from the 1994 classic, The Lion King. This was the first movie I saw in theaters as a tiny child, and experiencing a larger-than-life song about a larger-than-life concept filled me with wonder. Now, when I hear “The Circle of Life,” I am reminded of the power, fragility, connectedness, and beauty of the world around me.
Julie Brown, Registrar
So many times the song that has popped into my head when I’ve been hiking in the Smokies is the hymn “How Great Thou Art!” The beauty of nature is my church.
Caleb Carlton, Development Manager
My favorite song that sparks my connection to nature is “Ragged Wood” by the band Fleet Foxes. The lyrics and the mood of the song combine to call me back to the woods, back to the places that my spirit feels most alive within. I discovered this song, and the self-titled album that it is on, in 2008 when I worked at a residential outdoor school in California during the week and spent the weekends exploring the wildlands of the Golden State. Fleet Foxes was the soundtrack to my adventure.
My favorite podcast related to nature has to be a tie between two Radiolab episodes, “Smarty Plants” and “From Tree to Shining Tree.” “Smarty Plants” dives into the hidden intelligence of the plant world, while “From Tree to Shining Tree” sheds a whole new light on how trees function in community with one another, relying on a variety of symbiotic relationships. Both episodes are game-changers in deepening one’s sense of wonder for the green world around us.
Tyler Gonzales, Lead Teacher Naturalist
Podcast: Dirtbag Diaries
This podcast shares an amazing range of inspiring stories from outdoor adventurers.
Song: “Where I’m From” by Digable Planets
Rappers Butterfly, Ladybug Mecca, and Doodlebug make up the laid back hip-hop trio Digable Planets.
Logan Rosenberg, Youth Programs Manager
For me, songs can be deeply linked with the landscapes in which I heard them. When I listen to particular songs, my memory is awash with images and emotions. Certain songs can conjure a sense of place. Hearing “Rose on the Mountain” by The Flatlanders always brings me back to a summer spent in the north woods of Maine, driving supplies out to trail maintenance crews working on the Appalachian Trail. When I hear that ethereal slide guitar and Jimmy Dale Gilmore’s reedy voice, it brings me back to driving north through spruce-fir forest, Mount Katahdin looming up in the distance, and a summer spent living in its shadow.”
Aaron Thomas, Community Development Coordinator
“Become Ocean” by John Luther Adams connects me to nature by portraying the body of water that all of life’s beauty has emerged from. The song swells to triumphant crescendos and floats back to quiet depths, bringing with it a constant sense of danger as well as redemption.
David Reedy, Community Development Specialist
“Baba Yetu” by Christopher Tin – Although this song was originally written for a video game (Civilization IV), I have always found it connected to me to the natural world. My strongest memory of this song is driving along the windy mountain roads in the Green Mountains of Vermont, blasting this song, and marveling at an incredible sunset.
Luke Schutzman, Teacher Naturalist
“Send Me on My Way” by Rusted Root – This song is part of the travel montage in the film Ice Age and it has stuck with me to represent adventure in nature.
Podcast: Camp Monsters by REI Co-op Journal – This podcast does a great job with storytelling and atmospheric sounds to help you feel like you are there by a campfire listening to a story about encounters with folk monsters out in nature. I would say these are suitable for older kids to adults. I would recommend adults listen beforehand to get a sense if these are too scary for their kids.