Joan Root Ericksen grew up surrounded by wild roses and prairies in Roseland, Illinois. She and her husband, Bob, started the Sun Foundation in an effort to help children develop a deeper connection with nature. The couple also brought the Suzuki School of Music to central Illinois.

Root Ericksen is a professional painter and poet, and co-producer and writer of films and exhibits on the Blackfeet tribe of Native Americans. She has authored a book about Buckminster Fuller as well as a book of original poetry.

  1. Most impulsive thing I’ve ever done…Jumping off a rock ledge in the Apostle Islands, 20 feet into Lake Superior. Shocking cold, but refreshing.
  2. Secret ambition…To raise billions of dollars to create green spaces for children and conserve habitat for wildlife.
  3. Favorite artist…Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Dutch painter.My life is…challenging, beautiful and rewarding… 
  4. Who are your heroes in real life? The oceanographer, Dr. Sylvia Earle; Doctors Without Borders; Studs Terkel; Dr. Henry Bieler. 
  5. What is the one word friends use to describe you? Open.
  6. Childhood dream job…Archeologist. 
  7. What’s some of the best advice you’ve been given? “You can accomplish anything in life if you put your mind to it and work hard.” My father, H.J. Root. 
  8. Favorite smell…Sweet pine in the mountains of Montana. 
  9. What’s one thing you’d rather pay somebody to do than do yourself? Database maintenance. a&s