ttwgroupphotoThe Environmental Studies Program was delighted to have Terry Tempest Williams in residence this fall from October 1- October 3.   Terry visited our classes, attending student presentations, shared many meals with students faculty and staff, was interviewed by two of our seniors, gave a reading to a packed house at the Colby Museum of Art, and closed with a meditation hike and writing workshop in the Belgrade Lakes.

ttwtake2“Meeting Terry was an experience unlike any other. We felt like we knew her after just a single hour of dinner and conversation; her genuine and warmhearted nature immediately put us at ease and she conversed with us like peers. She exudes love and her interest in the concerns and stories of other people is astounding. Terry is such a strong, powerful, yet humble, woman, and it was an honor to spend time with her.”

                       —— Leah Powley ’15 and Noma Moyo ’15

Terry Tempest Williams’ Background

Terry Tempest Williams credit Marion Ettlinger_Hi ResConservationist, Advocate for Free Speech, Author of Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family & Place and Finding Beauty in a Broken World

Terry Tempest Williams has been called “a citizen writer,” a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A natural­ist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. “So here is my question,” she asks, “what might a different kind of power look like, feel like, and can power be redistributed equitably even beyond our own species?”

Williams, like her writing, cannot be categorized. She has testified before Congress on women’s health issues, been a guest at the White House, has camped in the remote regions of Utah and Alaska wildernesses and worked as “a barefoot artist” in Rwanda.

Known for her impassioned and lyrical prose, Terry Tempest Williams is the author of the envi­ronmental literature classic, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place; An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field; Desert Quartet; Leap; Red: Passion and Patience in the DesertThe Open Space of Democracy; and Finding Beauty in a Broken World. Her next book, When Women Were Birds, was published in Spring 2012 by Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is also a columnist for the magazine The Progressive. Williams is currently working on a new book titled My God Has Feet of Earth: Seven Pilgrimages in Seven National Parks (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux – Fall 2015).

In 2006, Williams received the Robert Marshall Award from The Wilderness Society, their highest honor given to an American citizen. She also received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western American Literature Association and the Wallace Stegner Award given by The Center for the American West. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in creative nonfiction.

Terry Tempest Williams is currently the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah and Provostial Scholar at Dartmouth College. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change. She and her husband, Brooke Williams live in the desert and mountains of the American West.


The Mellon Fellowship

The Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Fellowship in Environmental Studies provides an opportunity to bring world-recognized environmental scholars, activists, writers, and leaders to Colby College to engage the campus and community in lectures and discussions around important environment themes. Each year, the Environmental Studies Program at Colby honors one Distinguished Fellow, whose work bridges science and policy to make substantial advances in environmental conservation and sustainability.