Reimagining a Place for the Wild


Reimagining a Place for the Wild contains a diverse collection of personal stories that describe encounters with the remaining wild creatures of the American West and critical essays that reveal wildlife’s essential place in western landscapes. Gleaned from historians, journalists, biologists, ranchers, artists, philosophers, teachers, and conservationists, these narratives expose the complex challenges faced by wild animals and those devoted to understanding them. Whether discussing keystone species like grizzly bears and gray wolves or microfauna swimming the thermal depths of geysers, these accounts reflect the authors’ expertise as well as their wonder and respect for wild nature. The writers do more than inform our sensibilities; their narratives examine both humanity’s conduct and its capacity for empathy toward other life. A selection of photos and paintings punctuates the volume.

This collection sprang from the Reimagine Western Landscapes Symposium held at the University of Utah’s Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center in Centennial Valley, Montana. These testaments join a chorus of voices seeking improved relations with the western wild in the twenty-first century.


Leslie Miller directs the Reimagine Western Landscapes Initiative. She was a leading advocate for open space preservation in Park City, Utah and has served on the University of Utah College of Humanities Partnership Board since 2003. She is a writer with feature stories in Park City Magazine, Salt Lake City Weekly, Carmel Magazine, and other publications.

Louise Excell is emeritus professor of English and humanities at Dixie State University. She now volunteers for environmental projects and serves on the boards of the Virgin River Land Preservation Association, the Mesa Retreat Center for Writers and Artists, and the Reimagine Western Landscapes Initiative.

Christopher Smart has been a Utah journalist since 1983. Formally educated in biology, he has long been interested in the wild and the meaning it holds for culture and people.


Praise and Reviews:
“Reading through this anthology, brought back childhood moments of discovery as well as the answers to questions that have lingered since then. Aside from the personal gift to people like myself with an abiding interest in the wild dwellers that preceded us on this land, Reimagining a Place for the Wild will be an invaluable resource in college courses. Congratulations to the authors for this outstanding anthology.”
—Florence R. Shepard, author with Susan Marsh of Saving Wyoming’s Hoback
 

“Leslie Miller believes we can use these stories and essays to ‘reimagine western landscapes.’ And she asks us to do so in ways that ‘contribute to the welfare of wild nature in the 21st century.’ This is a tall order. But the writers in her book map our path. Jeremy Schmidt reminds us that ‘Wildness is everywhere. It is part of us… the matrix in which we live.’ Erin Halcomb prays, ‘For restraint: To stop myself from taking, and doing.’ And Harvey Locke sums up our challenge: ‘to right the wrongs done to Nature, to native people and to ourselves in a place that we call home.’ So, what are you going to do?”
—Stephen Trimble, author of Bargaining for Eden: The Fight for the Last Open Spaces in the West