Environmental Writing: Inspire, Observe, Inhabit

Saturday, April 29, 2017
9 AM – 5 PM

$90 for Burke members, $100 for general public

Burke Museum

An Environment Writers Workshop participant writes by the water.

Photo: Catherine Anstett

Class Description

Based at the Burke Museum, this one-day environmental writing program will include classroom and field-based sessions. Renowned authors Stokley Towles, Lynda Mapes, and Kathleen Acalá have written deeply and provocatively about wild and urban landscapes and provide unique and complementary perspectives as authors.


These authors have introduced new ways to view nature and develop deeper connections to place; plants and animals, human inhabitants, past and present who all dwell on the land.

Kathleen Alcalá is the author of The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, from the University of Washington Press, as well as five previous books on family, history and our relationship to the land of Mexico and the United States. Her work has been awarded the Western States Book Award, two Artist Trust Fellowships, the Governor’s Writers Award and others. A graduate of Stanford, the University of Washington and the University of New Orleans, she has lived in the northwest and taught creative writing for over 25 years. For more information, visit her website www.kathleenalcala.com.
Lynda Mapes
is a reporter at the Seattle Times, where she specializes in coverage of native cultures, natural history and the environment. Over the course of her career she has won numerous national and regional awards, including a 2012 award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest professional science association. She has written three previous books, including Elwha: a River Reborn about the largest dam removal project ever in history and the effort to revive a wilderness watershed in Washington’s Olympic National Park, and its once legendary salmon runs. From 2013 to 2014, Mapes was awarded a 9-month Knight Fellowship in Science Journalism at MIT. From 2014 to 2015, she was a Bullard Fellow at the Harvard Forest, exploring the human and natural history of a single, 100-year-old oak for her forthcoming book, Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century-Old Oak, due out from Bloomsbury Publishing in April2017. She is also an associate of the Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA, where she is researching a book about farming and landscape conservation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recognized her writing on the Elwha with its national biennial Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award in 2016. For more information, visit www.lyndavmapes.com.
For 15 years, Stokley Towles has explored municipal systems – the police, a water utility, sewers, garbage collection, the public library and bus drivers. He takes up residency within the system, looks closely at its environment and interviews the people who work there to learn about their work and interactions with the public. He then gathers this research into stories that are performed for the public at conventions, art spaces and construction trailers. His work has been presented locally at the Henry Art Gallery, Greg Kucera Gallery and Seattle Art Museum, and nationally at venues in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Towles teaches at Evergreen State College. For more information, visit: www.stokleytowles.com.


To sign up for this class, please email Burke Education at burked@uw.edu.


This event is made possible by the Rebecca S. and Robert M. Benton Endowed Fund.

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