Gore.Ramble pic.Oct2013

PHOTO: Marie Gore, “spiderweb and rain drops”

Photographer Cub Kahn and writer Jill Sisson were so smitten by last spring’s Campus Creature Census, they offered to do a satellite event, the Autumn Campus Creative Ramble. On Sunday, October 27, Spring Creek volunteer Marie Gore joined the Ramble and shared this account, as well as her beautiful photograph.

“Fourteen of us headed out to ramble around campus, armed with writing materials and cameras of all kinds. At each of the four stops, our leaders offered a nature-related quote to focus our creative juices, followed by ten minutes for taking photos and writing. Unpredicted rain arrived halfway through the Ramble, but that didn’t stop us hearty Oregonians, dressed for anything Mother Nature threw at us.” The Ramble participants gathered again ten days later to share their writings and photos. Many thanks to Cub and Jill, and everyone who joined in the fun.

Spring Creek will again sponsor the Campus Creature Census next spring. We encourage everyone to keep your senses tuned to discover the creature—plant, animal, or natural process—you will want to add to the Census.

Bill Yake, writer and ecologist, just completed his residency at the Andrews Forest. He writes “Nine days in contact with the forests, streams, people, smaller mammals, and above-and-below-ground fungi of the Oregon Cascades in the McKenzie-Blue River drainage. A stay capped off by a visit from a (my first) Northern Spotted Owl in the old growth up a nearby ridge.”
We wanted to share this link Bill sent us to his photo album. It includes some beautiful shots of the forest, a terrific pic of that Spotted Owl in flight, and a nifty video of a ‘flying’ squirrel.

Bill Yake’s Andrews Forest residency album

On October 18-19, 2013, the Spring Creek Project hosted a gathering at the Andrews Forest to celebrate the first 10 years of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program and to think about ways to further collaborations among scientists, writers, artists, and philosophers over the next 190 years.

Since its inception in 2002, Long-Term Ecological Reflections has hosted more than 40 writers-in-residence at HJ Andrews Forest and sponsored field symposia on challenging topics such as “The Meaning of Watershed Health” and “New Metaphors for Restoration.”  Writings produced by our writers-in-residence have appeared in prominent national publications such as The Atlantic, Orion, and OnEarth.  With funding from the PNW Research Station and programmatic leadership of the Spring Creek Project, Reflections has garnered attention from the leadership of the National Science Foundation, been the focus of an article in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, and helped inspire more than twenty other sites around the country to initiate Reflections-type programs.

From left to right: Kathleen Dean Moore, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Terry Chapin, Michael Nelson, Tom Spies, Mark Schulze, Chris Still, Leslie Ryan, Mark Harmon, Lissy Goralnik, Nathaniel Brodie, Julia Jones, Hannah Gosnell, Carly Lettero, Tom Titus, Robin Kimmerer, Charles Goodrich, and Fred Swanson.
From left to right: Kathleen Dean Moore, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Terry Chapin, Michael Nelson, Tom Spies, Mark Schulze, Chris Still, Leslie Ryan, Mark Harmon, Lissy Goralnik, Nathaniel Brodie, Julia Jones, Hannah Gosnell, Carly Lettero, Tom Titus, Robin Kimmerer, Charles Goodrich, and Fred Swanson.


One of the most promising trends in ecological awareness is a growing respect between analytically trained environmental scientists and advocates and practitioners of Traditional Ecological Knowledge or TEK. The Spring Creek Project has convened a number of gatherings that bring gather people with deep knowledge in one of the disciplines and a respect for the other. It’s especially fruitful when we can host one of those rare individuals who is adept in both Western science and TEK. Robin Kimmerer, mother, biologist, professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, is one of those rare individuals. Rarer still, she is a graceful and eloquent writer, and her new book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants is full of wisdom and beauty. Her elucidation of the “Honorable Harvest” and the ecological role of gratitude is a profound guide and challenge for mindful living. She writes, “The evolutionary advantage for cultures of gratitude is compelling. This human emotion has adaptive value, because it engenders practical outcomes for sustainability.”

Jane Goodall says about Braiding Sweetgrass, “Robin Kimmerer has written an extraordinary book, showing how the factual, objective approach of science can be enriched by the ancient knowledge of the indigenous people. It is the way she captures beauty that I love the most—the images of giant cedars and wild strawberries, a forest in the rain and a meadow of fragrant sweetgrass will stay with you long after you read the last page.”
Robin recently gave a moving talk in New York for the Center for Humans and Nature. You can read the text of her talk here: http://www.humansandnature.org/earth-ethic—robin-kimmerer-response-80.php
And, even better, you can hear Robin speak Saturday, October 19, 7:30 pm at LaSells Stewart Center, C&E Auditorium. She’ll be joined by poet Alison Hawthorne Deming for an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of Long-Term Ecological Reflections program. It’s free and open to all.

Welcome to Spring Creek’s new website! We invite you to poke around, read some stories about our people and programs, and see what interesting events we’re cooking up.
In the process of re-designing the website, we discovered that our interests and concerns have lead us to take on recurring topics at different times and from different angles. Having noticed these patterns among our programs and events, we decided to organize them according to themes. We suspect we’ll be re-visiting many of these topics in the future, bringing different ways of knowing to the most pressing issues of our time. Check out the “Themes” tab at the right, and let us know what you think.

The challenge of the Spring Creek Project is to bring together the practical wisdom of the environmental sciences, the clarity of philosophical analysis, and the creative, expressive power of the written word, to find new ways to understand and re-imagine our relation to the natural world.