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  Home > Outreach > Arts & Humanities > Template page for Writer's Pages

Special Events and Other Activities
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Long-Term Ecological Reflections

Field Symposia Gatherings Networking and Consultations Professional meeting activities Public Events Planning Activities


Field Symposia

"New Metaphors of Restoration of Forests and Watersheds." September 20-22, 2002, Andrews Forest and Corvallis, Oregon. A three-day, three-stage event in which a small (16) invited gathering of writers and scientists examined the language and metaphors we use to describe forest and watershed restoration; shared the ideas with a (100+) public audience in a performance that included music, readings, and lectures; and then discussed their ideas with a sizeable (90) group of restoration practitioners. The event was co-sponsored by the Forest Service and the Spring Creek Project. Click here to see photos of this event.

Destruction and renewal in geological, ecological and human dimensions in a volcanic bioregion." Metaforay - Mount St. Helens field retreat, July 21-24, 2005. Twenty writers and scientists gathered on a ridge within the blast area northeast of Mount St. Helens for a four-day retreat to consider lessons from human and ecological responses to 1980 volcanic eruption. The retreat closed with an afternoon discussion with two dozen additional people with deep knowledge of that landscape. An anthology of essays, poems and photographs is in preparation. For a written description and audio/video remarks by Kathleen Dean Moore, Ursula LeGuin, Robert Michael Pyle and Fred Swanson visit the Spring 2006 edition of Terra A world of research & creativity at Oregon State University. Click here to see photos of this event.

"Exploring the Meaning of Watershed 'Health'." Spring Creek's and Reflections' third field symposium, October 19-21, 2006 at the Andrews Forest. The symposium brought together twenty distinguished creative writers, thinkers, artists, and ecologists to engage a critical question in this time of destruction and restoration: What is a healthy watershed? Are there analogies between watershed health and human health? What is illness in a watershed? What is thriving? By bringing together people of theory and practice, we hope to create a community of appreciation and common purpose across different disciplines and discourses. The final event of the symposium was held on the OSU campus and included a larger group of people who are in a position to use these ideas for practical purposes-watershed council members, health practitioners, environmental activists, legislative leaders. Click here to see photos of this event.

Columbia River Quorum: Bringing the Climate Home. March 5-8, 2009. This gathering explores the possible synergy between the world of the environmental sciences and the moral world as it is expressed in a culture's literature and its moral philosophy. Held at the Menucha Conference Center in the Columbia River Gorge, Corbett, OR. Discussions resulted in the publication The Four Cultures: New Synergies for Engaging Society on Climate Change (2010. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment [pub 4630]). (Participant List).

Dragonfly Eyes. Andrews Forest April 30-May 2, 2010. Twenty participants gathered for a weekend field workshop, Dragonfly Eyes: Multiple Ways of Envisioning the Future of Landscape Changes, to explore what might happen when people with expertise in many ways of seeing and communicating poets, novelists, visual artists, philosophers, architects, teachers, environmental historians, scientists, land managers began composing a multi-faceted view of future landscape changes. (from the dragonfly's compound eyes, each with its own lens and point of view, come together multiple signals to create a vision that is particularly acute) This exploratory work also involves parallel activities with supplemental LTER funding to four sites: Andrews Forest (OR), Bonanza Creek (AK), Harvard Forest (MA), and North Temperate Lakes (WI). (Participant List). Links to other site webpages for the NSF-sponsored Future Scenarios project:

Destruction and renewal in geological, ecological and human dimensions in a volcanic bioregion - II. Mount St. Helens Field Pulse, July 18-24, 2010. A dozen writers from around the country gathered with about 110 scientists and staff for a week of camping and field work at Mount St. Helens to consider lessons from human and ecological responses to 1980 volcanic eruption. The retreat closed with a reading of early stages of the writersrs38 works. Click here to see an account of the adventure at the on-line journal (Participant List).

Gatherings on alternating years of writers and environmental philosophers organized by Spring Creek and convened at Andrews Forest.

Blue River Writers Gathering. September 29-October 2, 2006, H.J.Andrews Experimental Forest. Spring Creek inaugurated a biannual Blue River Writers Gathering for Northwest nature writers. The weekend gathering was an opportunity for support, inspiration and restoration for 30 invited writers from Arcata to Anchorage to Fort Collins who are engaged in this loving but sometimes lonesome occupation. Nature writers have been holding regional gatherings for a number of years in New England and in the Colorado Rockies, but until now Northwest writers have not had any such opportunity. (Participant List)

Blue River Environmental Philosophers Gathering. Sept 28-30, 2007, at the Andrews Forest. This field symposium brought environmental ethicists and philosophers from throughout the bioregion to the Andrews Forest. The goal was to think hard and collaboratively about what is our work in a 'wounded world.' To answer the questions: What does the world need from us as environmental philosophers? How can we provide it? The seed of an idea planted at this gathering grew to become the book Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril (K.D.Moore and M.P. Nelson (eds) Trinity 2010). (Participant List)

Blue River Writers Gathering. September 26-28, 2008. The second biennial Blue River Writers Gathering for Northwest nature writers featured special guest Ursula K. LeGuin. The Gathering provides support, inspiration and restoration for 30 invited writers.(Participant List)

Environmental Humanities Initiative Gathering. September, 2009. A weekend retreat for brainstorming a possible future environmental humanities program at Oregon State University. This has now evolved into the Environmental Humanities Initiative which supports classes that encourage students to explore the intersection of the sciences and humanities.(Participant List)

Blue River Writers Gathering. September, 2010. The third bi-annual Blue River Writers Gathering at the Andrews Forest. (Participant List)

Blue River Environmental Philosophers Gathering Re-Imagining Ethics for a Changing Planet. September 30-October 2, 2011. This Blue River Symposium will gather some of the nation's most creative moral thinkers -- philosophers, activists, theologians, writers, poets, and scientists -- to think collaboratively about the moral 'pinch-points' we will face and to imagine what a resilient ethic might look like. Our goal is to prepare and publish a "to do list" for a vigorous artistic, academic, and public discourse about new ethics that are equal to the challenges that will come. (Participant List)

Networking and Consultations with other Reflections-like Sites and Programs

Workshop on Arts and Humanities at LTER Sites. September 22, 2006. LTER All-Scientists Meeting, Estes Park, CO. Representatives from 11 LTER sites discussed the value and potential of the work and made plans for further development of site programs. (Workshop Report and Participant List)

Bonanza Creek and Caribou-Poker Experimental Forest and LTER site, Fairbanks, Alaska. Sept 16-17, 2007. Kathy Moore and Fred Swanson joined with writers, dancers, and scientists to help plan LTEReflections-like activities there. Outcome: a public performance with 300 attendees.

Sagehen Experimental Forest, Tahoe National Forest, east slope of the Sierras, California. October 17, 2007. Charles Goodrich and Scott Slovic (University Nevada-Reno) visited the site and discussed possible programs.

Sitka Center for Art and Ecology; Cascade Head Experimental Forest, near Lincoln City, OR. On the Oregon coast near Lincoln City. November 5, 2008. Charles Goodrich and Fred Swanson teamed with Sarah Greene and Sitka Center staff and residents to brainstorm how Reflections-like activities could be developed at that site.

Workshop on Arts and Humanities at LTER Sites.September 15, 2009. LTER All-Scientists Meeting, Estes Park, CO. Representatives from 13 LTER sites discussed the value and potential of the work and made plans for further development of site programs. (Workshop Report and Participant List)

Workshop on Engaging Arts/Humanities at LTER Sites and Related Programs. May 6-8, 2011. Andrews Forest. Many recent events indicate strong and growing interest both within and beyond the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) community in developing programs that encourage interactions among the humanities, arts, and sciences in the long-term, place-based work to understand ecosystems and our place within them. Representatives from a dozen LTER sites and two arts/education/outreach centers gathered at the Andrews Forest to advance this work. This workshop was sponsored by the LTER Network Office and hosted by the Andrews Forest LTER program and the Spring Creek Project. Everyone returned home with renewed commitment to advancing the work at their site and the group is committed to developing network capacity for sharing methods and outcomes of this work. (Workshop Report and Participant List)

Professional meeting activities

Roundtable Discussion. June 21, 2005. A roundtable of discussion and readings was held at the Association for Study of Literature and Environment at the University of Oregon, Eugene. Writers in residence Robert Michael Pyle, Robin Kimmerer, and Scott Slovic read from writings during their time at the Andrews Forest. Kathleen Dean Moore and Fred Swanson commented on the idea of the Reflections program in a discussion hosted by Charles Goodrich. (link to ASLE proposal)

Field Trip. "The Long View of the Forest." June 25, 2005. An essential element of communications in field sciences is "the field trip," a technique that can be effectively adapted to collaborations of scientists and creative writers. In this adventure, environmental writers and scholars of environmental writing from the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment national meeting in Eugene, Oregon, traipsed through the ancient forests and new burns of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections plots at the Andrews Forest, learning about the long-term ecological research and writing reflections on their experience.

Roundtable Discussion. June 14, 2007. Charles Goodrich moderated a roundtable of discussion on "How to Start a Long-Term Ecological Reflections-type Program" was held at the Association for Study of Literature and Environment biennial conference at Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC. Writers in residence Vickie Graham and Scott Slovic read from writings and shared insights from their time at the Andrews Forest.

Symposium presentation. August 8, 2007. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in San Jose, CA. Fred Swanson co-organized (with Nalini Nadkarni) a half-day program on arts-humanities-science collaborations and presented a talk on the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program. The ten presenters included a poet, novelist, dancer/choreographer, painter, sketcher, sculptor, and several scientists speaking about the value of these collaborations.

Field Trip. June 20, 2008. Thinking through Nature Conference, University of Oregon, Eugene. Afternoon field trip to Andrews Forest and the log decomposition site on a creaky old yellow school bus. About 25 environmental philosophers, artists, activists, and writers took part.

Workshop. "Sharing Experiences with Humanities and Arts Programs and Discussing Networking", September 2011. At the meeting of the Organization of Biological Field Stations at Bodega Marine Reserve a working group including ca. 30 representatives met to share insights from ongoing and planned arts and humanities programs at biological field stations. (List of participating sites.)

Public Events

Public lecture. "Lessons from Cataclysms." May 18, 2005. On the 25th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, poet Gary Snyder and forest ecologist Jerry Franklin appeared on the stage together in Portland, Oregon, to discuss catastrophe and renewal on the mountain. As part of the Illahee lecture series in Portland, more than 1600 people gathered to hear Snyder and Franklin, who together have more than a century of personal experience in that landscape, which has given them guidance about finding hope in troubling times (Snyder 2004) and ideas about fresh approaches to forest ecology (Franklin et al. 2000). To prepare for the public event, Snyder, Franklin, and Spring Creek and Illahee folks visited Mount St. Helens on May 17 to discuss lessons and commune with the muse.

Lecture series. "Who Owns the Sky? The Tragedy or Triumph of the Commons". The 2008 Ideas Matter Lecture series, considers new ways to think about the common weal (thriving forests, rich soil, clean air, fresh water, bountiful oceans) and explores how people might come to accept both the gifts and the responsibility for the Commons. Speakers include historian Charles Wilkinson, speculative novelist Kim Stanley Robinson, legal scholars Eric Freyfogle and Mary Wood, environmental designer Ted Jojola (Pueblo), ethnoecologist Devon Pena, marine biologist Mark Hixon, and futurist David Korten, whose work urges "the great turning" from earth empire to earth community. The series was organized by the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, and the Department of Philosophy, Oregon State University.

Readings and book signings. For the book In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens. Oregon State University Press. Seven presentations in Portland (2), Eugene, Seattle, Corvallis, Olympia, and Bellingham in Spring and Summer 2008.

Public lecture. May 18, 2010. On the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, poet Gary Snyder, social critic/writer Ursula Le Guin, and forest ecologist Jerry Franklin appeared on the stage together in Portland, Oregon, to discuss catastrophe and renewal on the mountain. As part of the Illahee Lecture Series in Portland, more than 400 people gathered to hear Snyder, Le Guin, and Franklin, who together have more than 180 years of cumulative personal experience with that landscape, which has given them guidance about finding hope in troubling times (Snyder 2004. Danger on Peaks), the awe of witnessing the eruption and its immediate aftermath (Le Guin 1983. In the Red Zone), and ideas about fresh approaches to forest ecology (Franklin et al. 2000).

Reflections Planning Activities

Kick-off Brainstorming Session. October 13-14, 2003, Andrews Forest.

Five Year Celebration and Futuring Retreat. October 24-25, 2008, Andrews Forest. Alison Deming, Charles Goodrich, Robin Kimmerer, Kathleen Dean Moore, Scott Russell Sanders, Fred Swanson.