Participatory visual ethnography in Odisha. Image: Nihar Mishra
This week’s Featured Thinker, is Neera Singh, Assistant Professor of Geography within the Dept. of Geography and Planning, at the University of Toronto. Neera’s long-term engagement as an activist informs her research and pedagogical approach, raising questions around human-forest interactions and theoretical approaches to study these interactions. The featured article frames villagers’ caring work to conserve forests as “affective labour” and a work of art – transforming not only landscapes, but also people and communities. Neera’s work focuses on the much-neglected emotional and affective dimensions of people’s relationship with nature.
She has experimented with using participatory videos how people “become green” through their every day practices of taking care of their local forests. Neera’s research spotlights the potential for seeing conservation and conservation work as not only a burden but a life-affirming activity that can help us re-learn how to care for other species and other humans. Read more….
This week’s, Featured Thinker is Ilka Blue Nelson, a creative ecologist from Australia. Ilka is writing with Nudgee Beach, on the fringe of Brisbane City, Queensland, Australia. The beach is formed on the edge of a city by a canal entering Moreton Bay, a wetland of international importance and one of Australia’s largest sites listed under the Ramsar Convention.
Ilka’s letter considers our oft-times self-imposed separation from the physical world and is piece is dedicated to a friendship replete with the spirit that connects self and other. Read more….
This week’s Featured Thinker, Sarah Sexton, artist and teacher from Ireland, explores the concept of wilderness through her fascination with abandoned spaces. She says, “I regularly ‘escape’ into little pockets of wilderness when I engage in my art practice.” Join Sarah on her search via beautiful photographs of small, wild, tucked away places and abandoned spaces where nature and “wildness” is reclaiming ownership. Read more….
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….
Kevin Lehto is Assistant Recreation Ranger for the Forest Service in the Carson National Forest, Questa District. Based on 20 years with the Forest Service and his life-long love of the outdoors, Kevin mulls over his own reflections on Wilderness, protection and “management”. He skillfully delves into these large topic areas through a series of related evocative questions and answers. Read more….
This week, the work of our 26th Featured Wilderness Thinker, Irene Owsley, takes us to the far north, to remote Alaskan Wilderness that many of us dream of witnessing with our own eyes. Irene’s magnificent panoramic photographs are a close second. They make you feel like you are almost there with her, as she explores these beautiful places as an artist in residence with two Forest Service Rangers. And it’s not just me who thinks her work is amazing. Her piece “Glacial stream” was one of thirteen finalists chosen from over 5,000 entries for the Smithsonian’s 50th anniversary “Wilderness Forever” exhibition, at the National Museum of Natural History. Without further, ado enjoy Irene’s beautiful work and her insightful description of her experiences as a Voices of the Wilderness Artist in Residence: Read More…..
Anna Keleher, from Devon, England, develops ideas, techniques, processes, skills and participatory artworks to expand 21st century perspectives. As our 24th Wilderness Thinker, Anna brings characteristic creativity, dedication to turning a topic on its head and to quote her directly, “shifting our thinking.” Her essay, “The Wilderness Inside” turns the concept of wilderness “inside out.” Read more…
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!
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?
“Thinking Wilderness” kicked-off in spring 2014 with the interdisciplinary science and art education program and exhibition, “Seeds: Time Capsules of Wilderness.” The hands-on program explored the wild world of seeds as seen through young eyes and engaged over 270 students, preschool through sixth grade, from Questa Alta Vista Elementary, Rio Costilla Southwest Learning Academy, and Arroyos del Norte Elementary schools. Learn more about this program and see these young Wilderness Thinkers at work! Read More….