2023 Environmental Writing Fellowship and Residency: Oregon's Climate Forests
The forests of the Oregon Coast Range are part of a vast ecosystem spanning from Northern California to the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. The Pacific temperate rainforest is, acre for acre, better than the Amazon Rainforest at absorbing and storing carbon. If left to grow, the majestic cedars, spruces, hemlocks, and firs can hold carbon for an astonishing 800 years or more.
These forests are climate forests. As we work toward stabilizing the climate, there is no technology that can sequester carbon at the scale of maturing and ancient forests. Yet less than 10% of Oregon’s old growth forest remains. Throughout the Oregon Coast Range, the patchwork scars of ongoing industrial clearcuts and wide-scale liquidation of ancient forests are visible reminders of our limited imaginations and understanding of the true value of these forests. We need to rethink our relationship with Oregon’s Climate Forests.
The Spring Creek Project, in partnership with the conservation nonprofit Oregon Wild, is inviting a writer to spend a year exploring, researching, and telling the story of these sacred and sacrificed forests. We’re seeking writers who can provide novel perspectives or reach new audiences—writers interested in telling stories that can change minds, hearts, and policy. We invite writers to help readers across the country and around the world imagine the importance of these forests in climate stabilization.
During the Environmental Writing Fellowship (May 2023 to May 2024), the selected writer will be supported in creating a portfolio of work about the critical relationship between climate change and Oregon’s forests. A “portfolio” may be defined broadly, and may include several pieces of the same genre, several pieces across genres, a body of research with one long-form piece of writing, etc.
Oregon Wild will provide the Fellow with background information, access to scientific and policy experts and people who live within Oregon’s forested landscape, and other resources to enrich the project. The Spring Creek Project will help connect the Fellow with scientists at Oregon State University, provide a residency at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek in the Oregon Coast Range for up to four weeks (this time could be split into multiple blocks, and family members are welcome), and host an event featuring the Fellow’s work at the conclusion of the year-long fellowship.
Writers will have full creative and editorial freedom during the fellowship and will retain the rights to all their work. The Spring Creek Project and Oregon Wild may invite the writer to share their work or excerpts with a public audience.
Funding and Residency Terms
The Fellow will receive a $3,000 honorarium at the beginning of their fellowship.
The Fellow will participate in quarterly Zoom check-ins with Spring Creek Project and Oregon Wild, complete two to four weeks in residence at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek, and participate in an in-person or virtual event at the conclusion of the fellowship.
All creative writers are welcome to apply, including writers of fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, long-form journalism, and graphic narrative.
Our intentions are to support a writer who is committed to telling compelling stories to new audiences or in new ways about the critical issue of forest conservation in Oregon and its impact on the climate emergency. The teams at Spring Creek Project and Oregon Wild will develop a collaborative, supportive relationship with the Fellow over the course of the year.
Application Deadline and Fee
Applications are due by April 1, 2023.
There is no cost to apply to this opportunity.
Selection and Notification
Applications, including a Letter of Interest and Project Proposal, will be reviewed by a Selection Committee. The Fellow will be selected and notified by April 26, 2023.
The Cabin at Shotpouch Creek is a comfortable two-bedroom cabin nestled in the Oregon Coast Range on a 70-acre nature reserve about 25 miles west of Corvallis. The house overlooks Shotpouch Creek, a tributary of the Marys River. From the cabin, miles of hiking trails climb into the forest- and fern-covered hills. Inside the cabin is a spacious living/meeting/writing area. A wall of windows looks out onto the creek and meadow. The furnished cabin has a simple kitchen, a heating/cooling unit, and a landline telephone. There is no cell phone service or internet at the cabin. The Fellow will need to bring their own computer and provide their own transportation and food/meals. Fellows are welcome to complete their residency with family. Shotpouch Cabin is a nature reserve, so we cannot allow dogs.
About the Co-sponsors
The 2023 Environmental Writing Fellowship is co-sponsored by:
- The Spring Creek Project, a convening organization at Oregon State University that sponsors residencies, readings, lectures, and other events on issues and themes of critical importance to the health of humans and the environment. The Spring Creek Project brings together the practical wisdom of environmental science, the clarity of philosophy, and the transformational power of the written word and the arts to envision and inspire just and joyous relations with the planet and with one another.
- Oregon Wild, a nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding Oregon’s forests, waterways, and wildlife. One of the organization’s current campaigns is bringing awareness to the incredible impact Oregon's forests have on climate change.