Ellen Waterston is a poet, author and literary arts advocate. She is the author of Vía Láctea: A Woman of a Certain Age Walks the Camino, Where the Crooked River Rises, and a memoir, Then There Was No Mountain, which was rated one of the top ten books of 2003 by the Oregonian and a WILLA finalist. After eleven years as founder/director of The Nature of Words, a literary arts nonprofit, she passed the baton in 2012 to focus on the Writing Ranch, the Waterston Desert Writing Prize and her writing. Founded by Waterston in 2000, the Writing Ranch offers writing workshops and retreats.
Thomas Titus left the Pacific Northwest to attend the University of Kansas, where he completed a Ph.D. in evolutionary genetics. Tom returned to Oregon and works as a research biologist and instructor at the University of Oregon. His book, Blackberries in July: A Forager’s Field Guide to Inner Peace, describes his return to Oregon. Tom is currently the president of the Eugene Natural History Society and writes a monthly column for their publication "Nature Trails".
Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, from the Tututni Band, and is also Cherokee. She earned a Doctorate from Oregon State University in Environmental Sciences focusing on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of Siletz Tribal Members, from Oregon State University. Dr. Chisholm Hatfield’s specializations include: Indigenous TEK, tribal adaptations due to climate change, and Native culture issues. She’s worked with Oregon Climate Change Research Institute and the Northwest Climate Science Center.
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.
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.