Author Archives: Thinking Wilderness

About Thinking Wilderness

Thinking Wilderness is an online thinkers in residency program and year-long event series in Questa, New Mexico, featuring diverse voices and creative works on Wilderness.

42nd Featured Thinker: Todd Wynward

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Seventh Graders Trekking in the Pecos Wilderness, Roots & Wings Community School, Image: Todd Wynward

This week our featured Wilderness Thinker is Todd Wynward an author, public school founder, small-scale farmer, and wilderness educator who has spent more than a thousand nights outdoors. Todd’s insightful essay offers an introduction to ‘rewilding’ Christianity, drawing religious teachings back to the earth through a spiritual, passionate, at times challenging yet  intimate relationship with wilderness.  Todd’s writing is within the wilderness tradition of those such as John the Baptist or Celtic Christianity, where the presence of God was intimately felt in the natural world. Wilderness features in the bible both as a metaphor and a physical environment of transformation and drawing on the philosophy of  Kurt Hahn, Todd offers an opportunity to discover the potential of who we can become.   Read more…

41st Featured Thinkers: Rewilding Britain

Hesperia Comma By Svdmolen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Hesperia Comma By Svdmolen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

This week our featured Wilderness Thinkers is a signpost to a collaborative encouragement to Think Wilderness and consolidate action. Throughout the year, we have taken the opportunity to signpost work and people that are engaged in Thinking Wilderness. This week to coincide with the launch of a new charity we are featuring Rewilding Britain. Born out of two years consultation Rewilding Britain seeks to consolidate the ongoing work of individuals and organisations that are rewilding Britain, encourage discussion and debate and to re-position us within healthy ecosystems. Read more…

40th Featured Thinkers: Siena Sanderson and Annette Lisa

SienaAnnettefeatureThis week our featured Wilderness Thinkers are Siena Sanderson and Annette Lisa,  artists and art educators who passionately advocate for art and its potential to inspire hope through their work with the Neighbourhood Arts Project, Taos, New Mexico.

Where do you  go to connect with nature and the outdoors, where is your wilderness?

Siena and Annette present a wilderness ‘getaway’  and invite you to do the same,  sharing your personal wilderness ‘getaways’;  where’ and ‘why ‘ , here in the comments section and on the Thinking Wilderness Facebook page.

Gently guided by R.W. Service’s poem, The Call of the Wild a route-map is offered, provoking us to step away from our busy 21st Century lives for a moment and think wilderness. We hope you join them in building a digital wilderness tour. Read More…

39th Featured Thinker: Jim O’Donnell

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This week our featured Wilderness Thinker is Jim O’Donnell. Jim is an award-winning author and photographer and currently the Jack Williamson Endowed Chair for Literature at Eastern New Mexico University. Jim’s travels have taken him to over 40 countries and this week his feature presents his travels from the heart of European Wilderness, the Tatra Mountains, the natural border between Slovakia and Poland.

Jim reflects on the concept of American wilderness and its nascent European counterpart and the challenges it faces.   Jim’s stunning photography and thoughtful text  are reminders that for many the physical world is viewed simply as a resource with destruction never far away.  In the face of such challenges, people like Vlado and Gudrun are part of the international commitment to sensitive conservation. Read More….

38th Featured Thinker: Jeff Baldwin

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This week’s featured wilderness thinker is Jeff Baldwin, Associate Professor of Geography at Sonoma State University. Jeff’s paper reminds us that non-human actors have shaped wilderness for millennia and that we should consider them as important partners in the ecosystem we share. Jeff proposes a thought experiment; to reflect and reconsider our position and move away from an anthropocentric perspective reminding us of the potential of the constant “processes of organization, self-organization, and decay in hybrid human-nature combinations” (Radkau, 1978: 308-325)

The article is in part a response to recent calls in the environmental history literature both to engage more fully with social theory and to re-invigorate an examination of human-environment dialectics. Through a re-visitation of Marx’s work on material historicity in light of recent research on animal behavior, the article provides a theoretical framework through which non-human beings can be understood as historic actors, in and of themselves. That argument provides a theoretical framework to support practical projects which seek to ‘partner’ with non-human actors in efforts to modify and/or restore landscapes and ecosystem services.  Read More….

37th Featured Thinker: Zoé Strecker

Digital image still from featured video work, Down, Up, Down: Pine Mountain Breathing (2014)

Digital image still from featured video work, Down, Up, Down: Pine Mountain Breathing (2014)

This week’s featured wilderness thinker is Zoé Strecker, artist, writer and art professorZoé’s ‘multi-modal thinking’ is consolidated through her durational exploration of  Pine Mountain, a ridge in the Appalachian Mountains that runs through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. Pine Mountain represents the last great contiguous stretch of unfragmented forest in Kentucky, breached only by six roads in 110 miles and  is also a significant unprotected wilderness area.

Zoé’s engagement develops a  mindful ecology around Pine Mountain extending her wilderness thinking into other communities through the students and volunteers with whom she works and collaborates, which includes SITE, an arts-led interdisciplinary educational collaboration with philosopher, Prof. Peter S. Fosl at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. This exploration of Pine Mountain generates creative and scholarly responses along with Zoé’s personal arts practice, which celebrates the exceptional biodiversity of Pine Mountain in southeastern Kentucky.  Read More….

36th Featured Thinker: Marybeth Holleman

sundews, prince william sound. by marybeth holleman

Sundews, Prince William Sound. Image: Marybeth Holleman

This weeks featured thinker, writer and teacher Marybeth Holleman grew up in North Carolina’s Appalachian mountains and transplanted to Alaska’s Chugach mountains after falling head over heels for Prince William Sound.  “As a writer,” she says, “I owe it all to natural places.” It’s there that we meet the real world unmediated by daily distractions, and rediscover our proper scale in the greater scheme of life. Art, in all its forms, can help lead the way, and wilderness, as this week’s featured thinker reminds us, is an inspiration. Read more….

35th Featured Thinker: Ian Sanderson

Wilderness Research, Ian Sanderson 2015

Wilderness Research, Ian Sanderson and Nathan Wooldridge, 2015

This week’s featured thinker is Ian Sanderson, a recent high school graduate, living in Taos, New Mexico. Ian’s recent research for a high  school environmental science class took him winter camping with Nathan Wooldridge to William’s Lake to study the relationship between snow pack and its importance in the planning and safety of snow sports. William’s Lake is an alpine lake in Taos, New Mexico located high in the Sangre de Christo mountains below Wheeler Peak in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness of Carson National Forest. Read more….

34th Featured Thinker: John Bailey

BLM Flikr gallery, 2010BLM Flikr gallery, 2010

This week’s featured thinker is  John Bailey, BLM manager of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. As Senators Udall and Heinrich introduce a bill to protect special areas as wilderness within the northern New Mexico national monument it seemed timely to feature John’s presentation from the Thinking Wilderness Pecha Kucha event in partnership with Pecha Kucha Taos.  Read more……

33rd Featured Thinker: Nan Shepherd

View over Northern part of the Lairig Ghru. Image: Nigel Brown, 1996 Geograph.org.uk

View over Northern part of the Lairig Ghru. Image: Nigel Brown, 1996 Geograph.org.uk

This week’s feature takes a slightly different format as we wanted to introduce you to a wilderness thinker we have selected in memoriam, Nan Shepherd (1893 – 1981). We introduce her work, The Living Mountain, through a re-reading and link to a radio broadcast by Robert Macfarlane, an english scholar who writes about landscape, place, travel and nature. The broadcast  includes extracts from Shepherd’s work alongside Robert Macfarlane’s narration of his ‘poetic pilgrimage’ to her beloved Cairngorms. Read more……