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Wunderman Thompson's City Guide to Inspiration in Nature: Austin, TX


Anne Pratt, group creative director at Wunderman Thompson Austin on how she finds inspiration in nature, Auditorium Shores and Austin's four summer seasons

Wunderman Thompson's City Guide to Inspiration in Nature: Austin, TX

As the world’s leading researcher on inspiration, Wunderman Thompson knows a thing or two about the psychological link between people’s value systems and their sources of inspiration to predict how humanity will be inspired. In Wunderman Thompson’s Inspire InFocus report, being outdoors in nature ranked number one as the top of source of inspiration globally. Even though life is starting to 'get back to normal', many of our new habits formed during the pandemic, such as taking walks during work breaks or exploring nature in our own backyard, have endured.

As we yearn to move, connect, and get off a plane and stretch our legs, out of a conference hall into fresh air, leave the confines of a hotel room, or even take a walking meeting or lunch in a park vs. a restaurant, here are some ideas for the next time you find yourself in some of the most inspirational cities around the world, for business or pleasure.


Name: Anne Pratt

Title: group creative director    

City: Austin, TX

Hello, I’m Anne Pratt, group creative director at the WT Austin office. I’ve lived in Austin for the past 16 years - the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. That says something about how much I love this city. There are two main reasons. One, the appreciation for creativity - from our famous music scene to dozens of visual artists, actors, writers, stand-up comedians and more. Second, the outdoorsy activity and love of nature. It’s built into the DNA of our city with the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail, which is pretty much the crown jewel of Austin. The city constantly reinvests money into the trail, adding greater accessibility, connection points, and conservation efforts. Our town is a dream for cyclists, with over 50 miles of protected bike lanes and countless off-road trails with plenty of places to pull over and relax, reflect and feel inspired. And there are lots of green belts throughout town to feel like you’re away from it all, even if you’re really in the middle of the city.

Q> When do you find you crave inspiration in nature and where do you find it?

Anne> If I’m working on a particularly difficult project, I love to take a walk on the Boggy Creek Trail behind my house to clear my head and find some inspiration. The trail has been widened and improved over the past five years we’ve lived in the neighbourhood. One of my favourite parts is the St. David’s Foundation Community Garden at the head of the trail. I’m impressed with how our neighbours are able to grow vegetables in the scorching summer sun! This is a skill I do not have.

Q> Where is the best place to people watch in Austin?

Anne> My favourite place to people watch is also my favourite place to dog watch: Auditorium Shores. This is a part of the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail where we have concerts and festivals. There’s an area nearby where dogs can run around off leash. On a nice Spring day, it feels like the whole town is here lying on blankets in the grass, kicking balls around and riding bikes. I like to grab a blanket and a book and chill out here sometimes.

Q> What’s your favourite hike or walk? 

Anne> Mt. Bonnell is in West Austin and is a great place to hike. Once you get to the top, you get a great view of the Pennybacker Bridge. On an off-day, it’s quiet and beautiful up there.

Q> What kind of weather do you get that’s unique to your area and when does it inspire you?

Anne> There’s a joke here that Austin has four seasons: Almost Summer, Summer, Still Summer, and the Holidays. In other words, it’s hot hot hot! But the upside of that is we have very short, mild winters. With the right winter wear, you can hike or ride your bike year-round.

Q> What’s your favourite park/botanical garden/body of water and why? 

Anne> In Austin, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centre is gorgeous in spring and only a quick Uber from downtown Austin.

Q> Anything else to add that might involve wildlife, especially critters or birds or a specific example of when you were inspired by nature?

Anne> Most people know about Austin’s bats, but what folks may not know is that we get a lovely influx of butterflies that migrate through here on their way to Mexico in the fall. You can literally be surrounded by butterflies at certain times of the year. Very cool.

Q> And how about quick day trip or weekend trip to somewhere near your location?

Anne> Jacob’s Well is a submerged cave in the Hill Country and is only a 45-minute drive from Austin. It’s 140 feet deep, which creates this amazing blue colour when you view it from the surface. I’ve never been brave enough to jump inside, but it’s a beautiful place to visit!

Q> Best place for a run/swim or other form of exercise outside?

Anne> I have twin step-sons that love to play frisbee golf. We often play as a family at a course in Zilker Park. It’s a great course because it’s lovely and isn’t too difficult - some of us aren’t that skilled (myself).

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Wunderman Thompson USA, Tue, 07 Mar 2023 14:06:34 GMT