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the Spring Creek Project for ideas, nature, and the written word

About Us


Charles Goodrich
Director of the Spring Creek Project


Charles Goodrich, Director of  the Spring Creek Project, is the author of two volumes of poems, Insects of South Corvallis and Going To Seed: Dispatches from the Garden, and a collection of essays about nature, parenting, and building his own house, The Practice of Home. He has also edited two anthologies, Let Us Drink to the River: Poems for the Willamette River, and T'cha teemanwi: Poems for Marys Peak. His essays and poetry have appeared in many magazines including Orion, Open Spaces, Willow Springs, Zyzzyva, The Sun, and Best Essays Northwest, and a number of his poems have been read frequently by Garrison Keillor on the National Public Radio program, "The Writer's Almanac."


Widely sought as a speaker and workshop leader, Goodrich worked for twenty-five years as a professional gardener, and in his writing and teaching he still looks to the garden as a model for interacting with nature. Goodrich has an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University. He lives with his family near the confluence of the Marys and Willamette Rivers in south Corvallis.  
FMI visit Charles' website  


Carly Lettero
Program Director

Bio coming soon.

Kathleen Dean Moore
Spring Creek Project Senior Fellow

Kathleen Dean Moore is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and co-founder and Senior Fellow of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word. An environmental philosopher, Moore writes about moral, spiritual, and cultural relationships to the natural world. Her recent award-winning edited volume, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, addresses the question, Do we have a moral obligation to the future to leave a world as rich in possibilities as the world we inherited? Her current work applies ecological concepts to the challenges of making a powerful moral response to our environmental emergencies: If we truly understood that we live in complete dependence on an Earth that is interconnected, interdependent, finite, and resilient, could we imagine a better set of ideas about our moral responsibilities to one another, to the Earth, and to the future?


Moore is especially interested in the role of narrative in the discourse of environmental ethics.  She is the author of books of nature essays -- Wild Comfort, Holdfast, Riverwalking, and The Pine Island Paradox, winner of the Oregon Book Award.  She is co-editor of How It Is: The Native American Philosophy of V. F. Cordova and Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge.

Deeply committed to engaged philosophy (which is to say, philosophy that contributes to the public discourse about critical issues of our time), Moore often writes beyond philosophical audiences in professional journals such as The Journal of Forestry, Frontiers in Ecology, and Environmental Ethics; and in popular journals such as Discover, Audubon, the North American Review, and Orion, where she serves on the Board of Directors. She speaks widely in public venues and on radio, including a recent conversation on climate ethics for NPR’s “Philosophy Talk.”  At Oregon State, Moore teaches philosophical and interdisciplinary courses about the place of humans in the natural world.  Several of these are field courses, taking students to the high Cascades for intensive study. Off-campus, in a variety of landscapes from interior Alaska to the Apostle Islands, Moore teaches the art of the nature essay.

FMI visit Kathleen's website 

Fred Swanson
Spring Creek Project Senior Fellow

Fred Swanson is an Emeritus Scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the US Forest Service and Professor (courtesy) in the Departments of Forest Ecosystems and Society and of Geosciences at Oregon State University.  As an earth scientist with long history of research on physical processes in forest and stream ecosystems he has been attentive to long-term changes in the land and our relationship with the land.  This work is built on interdisciplinary experience; first in collaborations of earth and life scientists, then with forest land managers, with social scientists in the context of shifting public engagement with public forest lands, and, for the past decade, with the humanities and creative writer communities.  Much of this has been place-based work at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in the Oregon Cascades and at Mount St. Helens.  The Andrews Forest’s charter membership in the Long-Term Ecological Research program sponsored by the National Science Foundation since 1980 has provided a blueprint for development of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program, which is a major component of the Spring Creek Project.

Swanson is especially interested in lessons from long-term attention to how the biophysical world works and how it changes over time in response to natural and human-imposed processes.  These changes range from abrupt transformation imposed by flood, fire, clearcut, or volcanic eruption to gradual growth of forests over centuries.  How do ecosystems and personal and societal values respond to these changes?

The scope and evolution of Swanson’s interests are reflected in title of books he has co-authored or co-edited: Sediment Budgets and Routing in Forested Catchments (1982. USDA Forest Service); Bioregional Assessments:  Science at the Crossroads of Management and Policy (1999, Island Press); Road Ecology: Science and Solutions(2002, Island Press); Ecological Responses to the Eruption of Mount St. Helens (2005, Springer); and In the Blast Zone (2008, Oregon State University Press). 

Swanson’s participation in the Spring Creek Project began with initiation of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program in 2002 when US Forest Service funding first supported writer residencies and field symposia at places of long-term inquiry on Forest Service lands.  Building on successful science-humanities-arts collaborations at Andrews Forest and Mount St. Helens, Swanson and the Spring Creek Project have encouraged programs at other sites to undertake this work (see:

Michael Nelson
Spring Creek Project Senior Fellow

Michael P. Nelson, ( is an environmental scholar, writer, teacher, speaker, consultant, and professor of environmental ethics and philosophy. He holds the Ruth H. Spaniol Chair in Natural Resources and serves as the Lead Principle Investigator for the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest Long-Term Ecological Research program at Oregon State University. He is the philosopher in residence of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project, the longest continuous study of a predator-prey system in the world. Michael is the co-founder/co-director of the Conservation Ethics Group, an award-winning environmental ethics consultancy group fusing ethics with social and ecological science.

He is the author of many articles, and the author or editor of a number of books, in and around the area of environmental ethics. Michael is called upon regularly by various government agencies and conservation organizations to assist with understanding the ethical implications of natural resource management decisions.

Alison Hawthorne Deming

Spring Creek Project Senior Fellow

Alison Hawthorne Deming is the author of Science and Other Poems, selected by Gerald Stern for the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets; three additional poetry books, The Monarchs: A Poem Sequence, Genius Loci, and Rope; and three nonfiction books, Temporary Homelands, The Edges of the Civilized World, finalist for the PEN Center West Award, and Writing the Sacred Into the Real. She has recently completed a new nonfiction book titled Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit.

She edited Poetry of the American West: A Columbia Anthology and coedited with Lauret E. Savoy The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity, and the Natural World. Deming received an MFA from Vermont College (1983), a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University (1987-88), two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1990, 1995), and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Tucson/Pima Arts Council, and a National Writer’s Voice Residency Award, the Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod, a Pushcart Prize, the Gertrude B. Claytor Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the Bayer Award in Science Writing from Creative Nonfiction for the essay “Poetry and Science: A View From the Divide.” She has held residencies at Yaddo, Cummington Community of the Arts, Djerassi Foundation, Mesa Refuge, The Island Institute in Alaska, Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers in Scotland, and the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon. 

Former Director of the University of Arizona Poetry (1990-2002), she currently is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona and also serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Orion magazine. She lives in Tucson, Arizona and Grand Manan, New Brunswick.



Spring Creek Project Mission

The challenge of the Spring Creek Project is to bring together the practical wisdom of the environmental sciences, the clarity of philosophical analysis, and the creative, expressive power of the written word, to find new ways to understand and re-imagine our relation to the natural world.



Writers’ Residency Programs

The Collaborative Retreat at Shotpouch: The Collaborative Retreat at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek is a two-week-long retreat for two participants who wish to pursue a collaborative project… learn more »

Andrews Forest Writers Residency: Creative writers whose work reflects a keen awareness of the natural world are invited to apply for one-week residencies at the H.J.Andrews Experimental Forest… learn more »

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