People of the Pacific Northwest have deep and complicated connections with forests. The OSU Libraries and Press Special Collections and Archives Research Center explores those connections in its latest exhibit: Heartwood: Inquiry and Engagement with Pacific Northwest Forests.
Two organizational threads run through the exhibit. One features the many terms of engagement with the forest – the forest as habitat, provider, sanctuary, studio, laboratory and classroom. The other shows how these engagements have evolved over time, as represented by a timeline of dominant forest systems, events, issues, and legislation.
Forests of the Pacific Northwest were terra incognita to European settlers until a succession of surveys from the late 19th to early 20th century gradually revealed the extent of forest composition and age classes. Early in U.S. history, the vast scale of the forests of the Oregon Country contributed to a belief in the boundlessness of nature and its infinite exploitability. Since European settlers arrived here in the mid-19th century, forest “management” in its broadest sense has taken many forms. Policy governing forest management is the product of legislation, litigation, forest planning, and other social processes and forces.
The exhibit features historic forest policy and management documents and maps, poetry by Alison Deming and Jane Hirschfield, artwork by Debbie Kaspari, photographs by Bob Keefer and Tom Iraci, materials from the Gerald W. Williams and James R. Sedell collections and much more.
When asked about the creation of the exhibit, Ruth Vondracek, OSU Natural Resources Archivist, said, “This has been a truly collaborative effort that allowed us to meld history, science and art into a meaningful display.”
The exhibit represents a joint effort of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center, the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word.
Poets & Writers
Alison Hawthorne Deming
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Robert Michael Pyle
Scott Russell Sanders
OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center Collections
Gerald W. Williams
James R. Sedell
Ruth Vondracek, Team Leader
OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center
With thanks to:
US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station
Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word
OSU Libraries and Press
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
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