Past Special Events
The Nature of Writing Fall 2013
The Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11 Street, Bellingham FREE!
As the days grow shorter and nights longer, head into winter with new books that explore and celebrate the natural wonders of the world! Join Village Books and North Cascades Institute in welcoming Institute instructors to Bellingham to share their latest literary works. From wildlife in the city to foraging for mushrooms, birds of the Pacific Northwest to poetry inspired by our land- and waterscapes, you'll learn more about our wondrous planet through the voices of America's most gifted nature interpreters.
|Sun, Nov 3, 4 pm||Wed, Nov 13, 7 pm|
|Lyanda Lynn Haupt, The Urban Bestiary||Langdon Cook, The Mushroom Hunters|
|Sun, Nov 17, 7pm||Fri, Nov 22, 7pm|
|Maria Mudd Ruth, Rare Bird||Tim McNulty, Ascendance|
More information at www.villagebooks.com/event.
Travel to the Arctic with Debbie Miller
Multimedia presentation & book release party
Oct 17: Mt Baker Theatre, Bellingham
Wednesday, 7 pm
Oct 18: Skagit Transit Hub, Mt Vernon
Thursday, 7 pm
|Join North Cascades Institute October 17 and 18 in welcoming Alaska author Debbie Miller when she presents a multimedia program about her explorations in the Arctic for her new book, On Arctic Ground: Tracking Time Through Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve. In this important new conservation book published by Seattle’s Braided River, Debbie collaborates with a team of photographers and scientists to create the first book of stunning images and essays about the wildlife, landscapes and cultural history of the Reserve.
Join Debbie’s journey as she paddles 600 miles through the Reserve, the largest single unit of public lands in the nation, full of special areas in need of lasting protection. Miller has explored and studied the wilderness and wildlife of the Arctic for more than three decades. Her new book describes the grandest expanse of wild lands remaining in America, with its rich diversity of Arctic wolves, caribou, grizzly bears, Dall sheep, wolverine, dinosaurs fossils and a host of migratory birds from all corners of the world.
“Seeing the beauty and wonder of Alaska has inspired me as a writer to share my journeys with adults and children nationwide,” said Debbie Miller. “This year is a critical one for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The Department of Interior is in the process of developing its first comprehensive management plan for the Reserve. Now is the time to tell the Obama Administration to protect special areas within the Reserve, safeguarding key habitats and wildlife for the Arctic’s future.”
Former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt wrote the book’s preface, drawing on his years of experience managing both the economic and biological resources of the Reserve. It also features essays and insight from Alaskan writers and science authorities–including wildlife biologist Jeff Fair, senior Audubon Alaska scientist John Schoen and noted author and soundscape artist Richard Nelson. Paleontologists Jack Horner and Patrick Druckenmiller share the most recent research and remarkable discoveries associated with dinosaur studies in the Alaskan Arctic.
The acclaimed author of 15 nature books for children and adults, Debbie is the author of Midnight Wilderness: Journeys in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a co-author of Arctic Wings: Birds of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She is a founding board member of the Alaska Wilderness League, an organization whose mission is to protect Alaska's extraordinary wilderness.
No advanced tickets required; donations accepted at door.
Co-sponsored by Braided River and Conservation Northwest.
Cheryl Strayed in the Skagit Valley: A Fundraiser for North Cascades Institute
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Public reading of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail at the Conway Muse, 1-3 pm, $10 tickets available http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/268909.
North Cascades Institute is excited to welcome author Cheryl Strayed to the Skagit Valley on Saturday, September 29, for two fundraisers for Institute youth programs. Strayed will read from the best-selling book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, her powerful, blazingly honest memoir that was recently chosen as the first book in Oprah Winfrey's Book Club 2.0.
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Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey up the Pacific Crest.
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she'd lost everything when her mother died young of cancer. Her family scattered in their grief, her marriage was soon destroyed and slowly her life spun out of control. Four years after her mother's death, with nothing more to lose, Strayed made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone.
She had no experience as a long-distance hiker – indeed, she'd never gone backpacking before her first night on the trail. Her trek was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and intense loneliness of the trail.
“The Fire Inside”
Documentary screening & discussion with Saul Weisberg
On Tuesday, August 28, at 7 pm, North Cascades Institute co-presents a screening of the documentary film “The Fire Inside: Place, Passion and Primacy of Nature” at Village Books (1200 11th St, Bellingham). The showing will be followed by a discussion led by Saul Weisberg, executive director of North Cascades Institute, and film producers Phil Walker and Dr. Rebecca Gould. “The Fire Inside” is a 30 minute documentary that asks provocative questions and offers thoughtful perspectives on our relationship to the natural world and the ecological crises we face today. What is nature? And what is the human experience of that world? In the everyday push of our modern lives , what connections have been lost and what remain? This film, set in the San Juan Island, follows a small, diverse group on a contemplative retreat as they explore the wildness about them and the passion for place within.
You can find out more about the film at fireinsidefilm.com
Local visionaries in the video include:
Kurt Hoelting - Wilderness guide and author of Circumference of Home
Saul Weisberg, executive director and co-founder of North Cascades Institute. Saul is an ecologist, naturalist and writer who has explored the mountains and rivers of the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years. Saul worked throughout the Northwest as a field biologist, fire lookout, commercial fisherman and National Park Service climbing ranger before starting the Institute in 1986. He authored From the Mountains to the Sea, North Cascades: The Story behind the Scenery, Teaching for Wilderness, and Living with Mountains. Saul serves on the board of directors of the Association of Nature Center Administrators, the Natural History Network, and the Environmental Education Association of Washington. He is adjunct faculty at Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University. Saul and his family live near the shores of the Salish Sea in Bellingham, Washington.
Phil Walker is the owner and creative director of Jump\Cut Productions. His work has focused primarily on education, history, community, and the environment. During an 8-year tenure at the Georgia Tech, Phil worked on a variety projects including a series of global media campaigns for United Nations featuring world leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Al Gore, Jacques Cousteau and Prime Minister Gro Brundtland from Norway. He co-produced the documentary, D-Day: Down to Earth, which debuted on PBS in June of 2004 for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. He also worked as producer and editor on the critically acclaimed art documentary, General Orders No. 9, which screened at numerous festivals in the US, Canada and Europe and was honored with the Kodak Vision Award at Slamdance in 2010.Rebecca Kneale Gould is Associate Professor of Religion and Affiliate in Environmental Studies where she teaches courses in American Religious History, Religion and Nature, Religion and Social Change in America, and Simplicity in American culture. Her book, At Home in Nature: Modern Homesteading and Spiritual Practice in America, was published by The University of California Press (2005) and is an ethnographic and historical study of back-to-the-land experiments based on research she conducted while living and working at the homestead of Helen and Scott Nearing. She is currently engaged in a research project entitled "Religion on the Ground: The New Environmentalism of Religious Institutions," funded by the Louisville Institute. She is a fellow in the Young Scholars Program of the Center for American Religion at IU-IUPUI. She is a Board Member of two national non-profit initiatives: The Simplicity Forum and Take Back Your Time
Tom Fleischner & "The Way of Natural History"
July 8, 4 pm
"The simple, elegant practice of natural history -- which every person is wired to do, and which costs almost nothing -- helps us fall in love outwardly with the world."
In The Way of Natural History, scientists, nature writers, poets, and Zen practitioners show how mindful attention to the natural world can bring rewarding and surprising discoveries. They call for a renewal of natural history and provide models for personal interactions with nature. Attention to nature, the contributors argue, is a key pathway to nurturing our humanity, and it's more important than ever to connect with the natural world and the positive energy we can find there. Learn more about the book at http://www.wayofnaturalhistory.com.
Thomas Lowe Fleischner is a naturalist, conservation biologist, and teacher. The author of two books, Singing Stone: A Natural History of the Escalante Canyons and Desert Wetlands, and numerous articles, he has taught for more than two decades in the interdisciplinary environmental studies program at Prescott College in Arizona. Cofounder of the North Cascades Institute and founding president of the Natural History Network, he has served on the board of governors of the Society for Conservation Biology and as president of its Colorado Plateau Chapter.
Listen to Tom talk about the "intentional attentiveness" of natural history and other topics at http://naturalhistoriesproject.org/conversations/intentional-attentiveness.
Village Books and North Cascades Institute presents
The Nature of Writing Series
June 2012 in Bellingham, Washington
Start your summer of reading with new books that explore and celebrate the natural wonders of the world! Join Village Books and North Cascades Institute in welcoming a slate of authors and artists for presentations and book signings in Bellingham. From clever crows to Arctic Alaska, American history to environmental memoir, you'll learn more about our wondrous planet through the voices of our country's most gifted nature interpreters.
Mark Fiege, The Republic of Nature
Saturday, June 9, 7pm
Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham
In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred.
Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education.
By focusing on materials and processes intrinsic to all things and by highlighting the nature of the United States, Fiege recovers the forgotten and overlooked ground on which so much history has unfolded. In these pages, the nation's birth and development, pain and sorrow, ideals and enduring promise come to life as never before, calling on readers to reconnect with fundamental forces that shaped the American experience.
Mark Fiege is an associate professor of history and the William E. Morgan Chair of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. He is the author of Irrigated Eden: The Making of an Agricultural Landscape in the American West.
John Marzluff & Tony Angell, Gifts of the Crow
Monday, June 18, 7pm
Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham
In Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion, and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans, John Marzluff, the preeminent researcher on crows, teams up with artist Tony Angell to offer an astonishing look at the little-known and largely underappreciated intelligence of the birds of the amazing corvid family, which includes crows, ravens, and jays.
Showing that these "bird brains" are actually quite sophisticated, Marzluff and Angell tell fascinating, true stories of surprising crow behavior, such as crows using tree bark to wind surf along ridge tops, jar tops to sled down steep roofs, tools to get food from hard-to-reach places that human babies can’t figure out, and, most surprising of all, giving gifts to people who help or feed them. Along with these and other amazing stories, the authors explain the engrossing, breakthrough science that accounts for this behavior, as well as arresting illustrations of the crow's antics and anatomy. Finally, Gifts of the Crow proves that crows are highly intelligent, undeniably emotional and much more similar to humans than we ever imagined.
In fact, Marzluff and Angell reveal, crows have taken on seven key human characteristics: language, delinquency, insight, frolic, passion & wrath, risk-taking, and awareness. Their unusually large and complex brains, long lives social lifestyles, and shared habitat with humans have led to crows evolving these human traits.
With surprises on every page, Marzluff and Angell recount mindboggling anecdotes of crows who, like humans, acknowledge their recently deceased, bestow gifts, seek revenge, warn of impending danger, recognize people’s and other's faces, commit murder, dream, play tricks, design and use tools, and work together to accomplish tasks. These riveting stories present a thrilling look at some of nature’s most wondrous creatures.
John Marzluff, Ph.D., is Professor of Wildlife Science at the University of Washington. The author of four books and over one hundred scientific papers on various aspects of bird behavior, his research has been the focus of articles in the New York Times, National Geographic, Audubon, Boys Life, The Seattle Times, and National Wildlife.
Tony Angell has authored and illustrated a dozen award-winning books related to natural history, including Ravens, Crows, Magpies and Jays, Marine Birds and Mammals of Puget Sound and In the Company of Crows and Ravens with Marzloff. His sculptural forms celebrating nature are found in public and private collections throughout the country. Tony has worked actively as a board member of Washington's chapter of The Nature Conservancy, is an elected Fellow of the National Sculpture Society, and retired in 2002 as Director of Environmental Education for the state of Washington after 30 years.
Subhankar Banerjee, Arctic Voices
Wednesday, June 20, 7pm
Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th Street, Bellingham
Largely uninhabited and long at the margins of global affairs, in the last decade Arctic Alaska has quickly become the most contested land in recent US history. Shell has spent more than $4 billion over five years in its quest to exploit the vast oil and natural gas resources believed to lie off the north coast of Alaska, and are pushing to begin exploratory drilling as soon as this summer.
World-renowned photographer, writer, and activist Subhankar Banerjee brings together first-person narratives from more than thirty prominent activists, writers, and researchers who address issues of climate change, resource war, and human rights with stunning urgency and groundbreaking research. Arctic Voices includes 32 pages of color photographs of this breathtaking region, Gwich'in activist Sarah James's impassioned appeal, "We Are the Ones Who Have Everything to Lose" from the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, an travelogue by acclaimed historian Dan O'Neill about his recent trips to the Yukon River fish camps and essay by Peter Matthiessen, a three-time National Book Award–winning novelist and environmental activist.
Subhankar Banerjee is an Indian born American photographer, writer, educator and activist on issues of arctic conservation, indigenous human rights, resource development and climate change. In 2003 Subhankar published Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land, a photo book of his fourteen-month long journey in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Through a Lannan Foundation grant, 10,000 copies of the book were donated to libraries and policy makers across the country. The accompanying exhibition at the Smithsonian was censored during the Bush administration. In 2010 Subhankar founded www.climatestorytellers.org and in 2011 he was appointed Director's Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
Thursday, June 21, 7pm
Bellingham High School
Twenty years ago, Terry Tempest Williams published her iconic book Refuge, a juxtaposition of natural history and haunting, personal tragedy. Written just five year after the death of Williams's mother, Refuge posits the seven deaths of women in her family from cancer (and nine mastectomies), all likely the result of exposure to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s, against the flooding of both the Great Salt Lake and a bird refuge. Refuge transformed tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace.
Before her death, Williams's mother gave Terry her journals. Later, when Williams went to read them, longing to hear her mother's voice again, she found each one was blank. Through When Women Were Birds, Williams meditates on why her mother might have left the journals unfilled. What did that signify to her mother? What was her mother telling her?
In fifty-four chapters that unfold like a series of yoga poses, each with its own logic and beauty, Williams creates a lyrical and caring meditation on voice and the strength found in silences. Williams says that she wrote Refuge from the point of view of a daughter; she wrote When Women Were Birds from the point of view of a woman. It is the book, she says, she was meant to write.
Terry Tempest Williams has been called "a citizen writer," a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Terry Tempest Williams is the author of the environmental literature classic, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Desert Quartet; Leap; Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert; and The Open Space of Democracy.