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Two SHHS Students Honored in Global Photography & Illustration Contest

Allana Appleby and Gabe MarusicAllana Appleby and Gabe Marusic


July 8, 2021— Rising Shaker Heights High School Junior Allana Appleby and rising senior Gabe Marusic were honored in the "Spirit of Reciprocity" Photography and Original Illustration Contest sponsored by the Global Oneness Project. 

Inspired by the writing of Robin Wall Kimmerer, the contest was an invitation for students to take a photograph or create an original illustration that reflects the spirit of reciprocity and kinship with the living world. A member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer’s work draws on the wisdom of plants. She asks, “How, in our modern world, can we find our way to understand the earth as a gift again, to make our relations with the world sacred again?”

Founded in 2006, the Global Oneness Project aims to plant seeds of empathy and resilience by connect, through stories reflecting global issues, such as climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, and sustainability.

You may view Allana's and Gabe's pieces below:

Girl in flowing skirt sitting with her back to the camera looking at a large tree trunk.
Winner: Allana Appleby, Look and Listen

Connecting with the world is really good for both humans and nature. There are many ways to listen to the living world with our whole selves. Simply sitting outside and taking it all in is a great way to connect yourself with the world. Doing research on native wildlife and plants, taking care of the planet by picking up trash, planting trees, and making sure that plants and animals have a good place to live and thrive are all great ways to take action. We must listen and take into consideration the living world. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been able to look and listen to the living world from a whole new perspective. Spending so much time at home by myself gave me the time to just sit outside and appreciate the animals and the scenery. My compassion towards the living world has increased tremendously. I now take into consideration that my actions and choices have consequences that will truly affect this world.

Sale pending sign sitting against the base of a tree among vines of ivy.
Finalist: Gabe Marusic, Bought and Sold

Reciprocity is a two way road, and yet we have treated our Earth like a one-way highway, one in which we take everything without giving back. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I began to go on more walks as I found being in nature one of the best ways to escape from the hustle and bustle of the world. On one of these walks I found this sign and felt a strange irony in finding it in a forested area and decided to capture the emotion I felt behind it. In my photo, Bought and Sold, I try to capture the idea of how people often find they have the right to buy and sell nature to other people. I find that the harsh black and white film I used captures the raw emotion behind the ideas of this photo, as well as the natural sunset lighting that was used. The sign reads “sale pending,” implying the sale has not even happened yet, and yet the land is still being reserved rather than enjoyed by people. If we as people want to remain on this planet, maintaining a true relationship of reciprocity with the Earth is essential. When we just take from the Earth and never give back, we slowly kill the Earth. I found the following quote from Kimmerer especially relevant, “Birds, bugs, and berries are spoken of with the same respectful grammar as humans are.” It relates to the idea of nature and humans all being interconnected as one rather than being the two separate entities we paint them as. People tend to cut up and sell this planet we all share, but this is not our job. It was simply one we convinced ourselves we had.

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