As someone who has always been outdoorsy, it's no surprise I looked to nature when naming my two children. We chose my daughter's name, Marlow, in great part because it means "driftwood." Similarly, my son's name, Bowen, comes straight from an island just off the coast of our hometown. So I'm clearly a fan of gender neutral baby names for parents who are into nature — seeing as, you know, I am one of those parents.
Above and beyond my own personal preferences though, I'm simply a firm believer in the transformative power of nature. I think that is something that comes across in nature-inspired names. They can make a person feel strong or tranquil or complex. They can conjure up images of breathtaking vistas and lush locales. They can elicit the same kind of awe with a mere utterance as one might feel actually looking upon the natural namesake IRL. Is there anything more organic than naming your child after the natural elements? As far a baby names go, you can't really go wrong when you look to Mother Nature for inspiration. In my humble opinion, anyway.
So in the spirit of celebrating all of the baby name ideas nature has to offer, let's take a look at 14 gender neutral options.
I'm a big fan of names that sound like nicknames, seeing that I generally give everyone a nickname anyway. So I love the brevity of the name Ash, which comes from the ash tree.
It seems a safe assumption to me that any kid named Everest — after the world's tallest mountain, obviously — is destined to become a total badass. Plus, George Lucas named his baby girl this, so it's got that going for it, too.
This name can elicit duplicitous feelings of calm and tranquility, like the glassy surface of a slow-flowing river, or of wildness and rage, like white water. And since it reminds me of River Phoenix, it will forever be a favorite in my book.
While the meaning of Roan is listed as "little red-head" (making it an ideal choice for ginger babies), it is also a term used to describe the coats of horses and other animals that are white mottled with a red tone like chestnut.
If you're looking for a fierce name for your little one, look no further — thanks to its wildcat namesake, Lynx has a bit of bite to it. It's short, which is cool, and it is still relatively uncommon.
Paging surfers! Ollie is a name you might dig. As you may know, an ollie is a move a surfer pulls by which the surfer and board leap into the air without the surfer using his or her hands. It also hearkens Ollie's Point, a popular surf spot in Costa Rica. And if you really want to get technical, Ollie is a derivative of "olive."
In Ireland, Kelby means "place by the flowing water." In England, it similarly means "dweller at the farm by the stream." Either way, this adorable name draws its inspiration from one of the greatest sources of life: water.
A name that is highly evocative of the rich, blue-purple dye produced by plants native to India, Indigo has a hip, earthy vibe. And while it has dipped in popularity a bit recently, it still ranks within the Top 1000 names on Nameberry.
Like Ash, the name Cedar is derived from a tree. This particular tree is a nice alternative to standard Biblical names, as it is referenced numerous times in the Great Book.
Still water runs deep when it comes to this agua-inspired name — Lake has steadily been growing in popularity for girls and boys. Celebrity Lake Bell brought it mainstream and Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady give it to their daughter Vivian as a middle moniker.
If you're not afraid of a name with some bravado, Stormy (or the shortened Storm) may be for you. It's a little dark and brooding, don't you think?
True story: I'm borderline obsessed with this name, which is the term for an American falcon. It's extremely unique, for starters, but mostly it just sounds like the name of someone who is interesting AF.
If Everest is too mainstream for you, Rainier — after majestic Mount Rainier — may be more in your wheelhouse. The iconic Washington mountain makes for a great, not-overused namesake.
As a writer, I'm definitely drawn to poetic terms, and Vale just so happens to be one which refers to a type of valley. Savannah Guthrie recently chose the name for her daughter, but it definitely works for boys too. Bonus? It causes the mountain town Vail to spring to mind.