Category Archives: Writing

23rd Featured Thinker: Teri Shore


This week’s Wilderness Thinker in Residence, Teri Shore, a Sierra Club backpack leader, writer and journalist living in Sonoma, California, shares reflections and inspiration from what she calls “The Wilderness ‘Woodstock’” – the Wilderness 50 National Conference convened in October, 2014 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She feels it “was as pivotal a gathering to the wilderness movement as the rock concert was to the sixties.” For all of us who couldn’t make it, we’re happy to share in Teri’s insightful overview .

First published in the Green Fire Times in late 2014, we hope you’ll enjoy Teri’s article, updated for the Thinking Wilderness project, with links to featured speakers and audio from the conference, her beautiful photographs taken during the Sandia Wilderness Hike as well as a description of Teri’s own personal Wilderness 50 challenge: a solo through-hike of the 211-mile The John Muir Trail.  Read more…

21st Featured Thinker: Rachel Preston Prinz

RachelPRestonPrinzFeature3Rachel Preston Prinz established Archinia as a design co-op to develop project collaborations with architecture and design, ecology, natural building, archaeology, and landscape. Exploring boundaries between design and the natural world, planned and unplanned, managed and wild, are all approaches that Rachel has in her background that she is now integrating into her piece as a Featured Wilderness Thinker.

Rachel’s photographs represent a unique vision, one in which degenerating eyesight becomes an opportunity to look at the world differently and reconsider what we think we know; we felt this unique vision would bring something different to the Thinking Wilderness project. We were right. We could not have imagined the potential ripples Rachel’s invitation would set in motion. Her unique vision and commitment to collaboration have extended into her approach as a Wilderness Thinker in Residence. For her featured work, Rachel, has devised a project called “DesignGirl” to engage other designers to collaboratively “Think Wilderness” in a unique, year-long,  invitational project. We are excited to see where it leads! Read all about it….

19th Featured Thinker: Aldo Leopold (In Memoriam)

In celebration of his birthday, this week’s featured thinker is in memorium to Aldo Leopold, born in Burlington, Iowa on January 11, 1887.

In a break with our usual format, we wanted to start Thinking Wilderness in 2015 by honoring this key figure and instigator of the wilderness movement by directing you to a seminal text that acknowledges the importance of all organisms in an ecosystem, including predators.

Aldo Leopold coined the phrase “Thinking like a Mountain” with an essay by the same name in his book A Sand County Almanac. The essay poetically depicts the long-term ecological impacts of killing a wolf by presenting the concept of a trophic cascade. Leopold’s direct experience of this idea changed his understanding of Wilderness. Read his work and more about our choice to feature it HERE.

As we start the year, we look forward to diverse contributions to Thinking Wilderness and hope that the project continues to stimulate and add to the on-going conversations around Wilderness. We hope to hear from you!

Happy New Year!

– Anita and Claire

15th Featured Thinker: Alex Rykken

This week we welcome Alex Rykken as our 15th Wilderness Thinker with two essays from her recently published book, The Place Where Wilderness Dreams.

Alex describes her essays:

“In the Time of Rivers and Wolves” speaks to the intrinsic workings of the natural world as the core of who we are. Interrelationship, community, balance, spirit, are just words if we forget the ultimate value of the more than human world in our conversations.

“If You Go to the Mountain Take Only a Little of Yourself” honors the importance of gesture, of listening, being quiet; this essay honors the mystic, the private one within us all. This essay honors the mountain and her wild inhabitants; their words, their voices are our words, our voices uncovered.

Read More….

14th Featured Thinker: Adrian Harris

This week, we are joined by psychotherapist and researcher, Adrian Harris presenting his essay, “Where is Wilderness?

What do we mean by wilderness? Some claim that the notion is misleading romanticism or simply describes a kind of museum of nature (Talbot). Can we challenge such critiques or must we abandon the idea of wilderness altogether? An alternative is  to step sideways and instead of trying to answer the question posed by the current debate – i.e. what is wilderness? – we consider something altogether more puzzling: Where is wilderness?

To look into this question with Adrian,

10th Featured Thinker: Cindy Brown

CindyBrownFeature2Cindy Brown is the hiking columnist for The Taos News, the author of “Lessons from Nature in healing, strength and flexibility” and she works with girls and women encouraging confidence in the outdoors. According to Cindy, “The wilderness has the ability to wake us up and activate the sensations of the body, not just the mind.” Her featured piece is, “Feeling Wilderness.” Read more….

6th Featured Thinker: Annie Mattingley

For three years Annie Mattingley has been deeply involved in gathering and weaving into a book the experiences of 108 people who have had of what she calls “The Three Graces”—precognitive awareness before death or at-the-moment-of-death knowings or after-death communication with deceased beloveds. The subject relates to wilderness because she has found that so many of these experiences have come through nature. Her piece for Thinking Wilderness, “Our Best-Kept Secret” relates a single example of her own contact with a deceased friend.
Read more….