I often explore outside of city limits, being immersed in diverse natural settings along the coast or cascade mountain ranges. I am inspired when finding the remains of tree forms – whether I come across a tree clearing, and slash and burn pile, or an abandoned structure, these forms and environments exist because of the alterations made by our human kind. I understand it is my responsibility to convey and preserve a wooden object’s character, ecological history, and the relationship between the natural world and man’s adaptation of it, including my own.
Miller wrote Heart of the Forest after four artist residencies at the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in the Cascade Range. The artist residencies are part of the Spring Creek Project’s Long-Term Ecological Reflections program, which invites writers and artists to interact with environmental scientists, explore the forest, and write or create art. The program, in its twelfth year, is designed to collect reflections on the forest for the next two hundred years.
who identifies as Idaho writer, mother, biologist, visited the Andrews Forest in April 2009 to formulate ideas for a non-fiction book she'd been plotting. As so often happens, the experience nurtured and inspired so much more than she'd planned. Since the 2009 Andrew's visit, Rachel--a veteran science writer--has written her first nature/science-based novel, titled "The Blackfish Prophecy" (Booktrope 2016), Book 1 in a planned series: "Terra Incognita and the Great Transition." Rachel's time at Andrews directly fed the setting and scenes for her novel, which takes place in the Pacific Northwest and its magnificent Douglas-fir and cedar forests. The science and research community at Andrews likewise helped inspire the story line.