“This really sparked my whole passion for advocacy art. The way the opportunity came about was so unexpected and organic. It gave me a unique perspective from the eyes of the people that live there and rely on everything that the forest provides."

– Leslie Espino

When not working as a Space Station Research Scientist with NASA, Leslie Espino creates sustainable art hand-stitched and layered paper art pieces out of recycled materials. Much of the focus of her artwork captures and portrays the botanical details and beauty of plants and macro details of our natural world. 
During the 2021 Roadless Rule commenting period, Leslie was inspired to create artwork to raise awareness on social media and recruit new advocates to voice their support for environmental protections on the Tongass.

In 2022, Sitka Conservation Society invited Leslie and her husband Victor, a musician, to come and visit us in Sitka and at our Sea Pony Farm Property to connect her firsthand to the old growth forests, understory plant life, and the communities of Southeast Alaska that she is passionately advocating for. 

Since her experience, Leslie has been continuing to create art pieces and share the story of the Tongass as a climate forest and its significance to local communities and the planet. She was recently featured on the podcast Insights of an Eco Artist, where Leslie recently shared her story, inspiration behind her art, and Tongass advocacy journey.

Check it out Leslie's amazing work on her website or on her Instagram, where she also shares some awesome videos of her process and some from her experiences in the Tongass! 

Above is the original piece she created, and below is a piece inspired by her time spent at Sea Pony Farm and the lovely late night sunsets entitled, Alaska Nights, available for purchase here.

Interested in supporting an artist at our creative retreat? You can donate here