Richard Louv

Recipient of the Audubon Medal

Author of the International Bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

© 2016 Richard Louv

Original website by Juxtaprose | Developed by Hop Studios | author photo by Eric B. Dynowski

From the Blog

The Eye of the Tree: Who's Looking at You, Kid?


oday, in a feature on Orion magazine's Web site, the editors ask this question: "Does technology merely distract us from the natural world—or can it help us gaze more intently at its varied forms? Richard Louv, author of the new book The Nature Principle, discussed this and more during Orion’s live web event in June, “Reimagining Nature Literacy.” Listen to a recording of the conversation here."  My article, answering that question, is here. In the piece, I described how, these days, I spend more time carrying a camera than a fishing rod. And I wrote:

I find that the camera makes me slow down and look more intently than I normally would. After one hike, I was sitting at my computer, reviewing photos of rock patterns and tree bark. I was suddenly startled by something I had not seen when I took the picture. Hidden in the bark was an eye, looking back at me.

When I posted the address to the Orion article on my Facebook page, one reader asked me to post the actual photograph. A wonderful conversation ensued. People posed their theories as to just who's eye that was, if it was an eye. One mother showed it to her son, and he concluded that the eye belonged to a dragon. I went with her son's theory. What do you think? Here's the photo.

The eye is slightly to the right of center and up a bit.


Richard Louv is founding chairman of the Children and Nature Network. His newest book is THE NATURE PRINCIPLE: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder. He is also the author of LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS, which includes a Field Guide of 100 Actions for families, teachers, and communities.

Next post: A Homegrown National Park

Prev post: Enough is Enough: Time for a National Conference on Children (and Adults), Nature and the Law


In the image above I see the eye as slightly left of center and down - opposite of what you described.  It is fun and feeds our creative instincts to pick patterns out of larger things that we encounter every day.  I love playing with the grandchildren on a cumulus cloudy day and identifying clouds that look like animals!!  I also personally love sitting next to allowing stream and what the dancing patterns of light and water!!  Thanks for your wonderful work -  I hope some day soon in my retirement to work with children in nature!!

Ha, nice put!! I appreciate your work which you did here. I don’t actually know. But I impressed by saw this eye picture. Thanks for sharing.

Antler Lamp

I used to imagine figures from clouds in my childhood. This article made me to think of those days. Nice article. Keep up the good work.

I see an eye. Where’s the other one. Lol. But anyways, the part is a bit blurry so I needed to look at it closer. I conclude, it’s an eye though.

Always surprises me how much detail I miss when taking a photo only to have it revealed once frozen.

Pretty mysterious picture!! I guess its animated picture but not sure. Please explain the secret of this picture. Thanks

This reminds me of the Lord of the Rings and the trees that acted out as living beings (and living beings they are!). I believe that the nature and the trees reflect the4 human consciousness. Perhaps this is a reminder for humans to remember that it is not really OK to destroy life. The trees are no exception either.

The eye is clearly visible, if you notice carefully. It is fun if you have a perfect camera and spare time to spend on these natural things. You will get so many unnoticed and rare things of nature around you.  Today, early morning, in my way to city, I took a snap of a riverside tree, I cannot believe, it turned so good. I never thought it will look so awesome. I’m planning to work it on some sites like or  It looks like a professional’s art.

With my experience in painting wild life as the subject, I can say that this pictures somehow looks like a cheetah or a tiger. But if this is really a tree, I guess the photographer was lucky to capture this mysterious scene.

You can take a 1000 photographs but it only takes one to be very special. Thanks for sharing your photograph!!

Yeh, the eye is very clear, and if you look at it more closely, you can see a head of a bird with the beak down slightly to the right of the eye.  I see birds all the time when I go fishing with my Daiwa Steez gear that’s why it caught my eye straight away.  Great picture lol

It is very rare that we see photos like this and this one with the “eyes” on the bark of the tree is rare and mysterious indeed!! When you see photos like these you tend to wonder whether it is some kind of a message that nature is trying to tell us – like even trees haves feelings and watching what is going on around them!! Or are they just trying to tell us to protect them if we need to survive!!

I always have my camera in my hand! I too feel that looking back at our photos allows us to see things and study nature in a way that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to with the naked eye!Very “in-tree-ing” Richard! I’d say it’s the “eye of nature” – nature keeping a watchful eye over the children…and rooting for them like we Bark Buddie Trees do everyday! Looks like it might be one of my relatives except most of us have green eyes. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Now I’m getting excited to have my new cam. I wonder if I can also capture something like this.

I see the eye on the head of a turtle looking to the right, with a shell above and legs peeking out left of the head and eye.  Thanks for the fun.

I’m going to agree with the kid, it’s a Dragon! Either that or is an Ent from Lord of the Rings like one of the other comments said!

This is incredible! I love how much passion is taken within this photograph and shared with other in the photography community. You have a very good eye for these types of things. Again,great composition.

Nice photo - great light!

I awoke from a dream. The words that I remember were the eye of the tree. I reached for a pen and wrote down the words the eye of the tree.Then I went back to sleep.I didn’t know that it existed.  Until I looked it up on the internet.

Add a new comment here


Email: (not shown)



Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below: