Welcome to rugged mountains, lush temperate rainforest, icefields, rolling plains, high desert, fertile lowlands, and hundreds of miles of shoreline, highway, and trail that span international boundaries and homelands. Welcome to the home of Madrona, Geoduck, Giant Palouse Earthworm, and Cassia Crossbill. Welcome to a distinctive place beloved by current residents, many Ancestors, and visitors. And welcome to a new way of seeing: where poetry, art, and ecology might work together to envision not just a place, but a rich engagement with place.
Most traditional field guides help people identify plants and animals by describing their appearance, sounds, range, behavior, and, in some cases, relationships with people. In this guide, we honor that important information in the stories included with each being, and we counterbalance and amplify it with more subjective engagements: art and poems. A drawing or poem might not tell you the average life span of Steller’s Jay, but it tells you how you might feel to have Jay on a branch by your shoulder. A painting might not offer the identifying field marks of Eulachon, but it may give you a sense of what it means to shimmer up a river.
This special field guide grows out of our own bioregional sense of place. We know Cascadia as “a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects,” as cultural historian and self-described “geologian” Thomas Berry states and as many First People have always believed. In addition to bioregionalism and some key ecological thinking, Cascadia has also been influenced by The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide and A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia.Cascadia shares much with these other beautiful collections.
We want to celebrate both knowing and wondering. In our being stories, we have included many examples of our own sensory interactions. But don’t take our words for it! Please find your own sun-warmed duff, your own Ponderosa Pine. Lean in, touch, and smell.
Meet the Editors
Elizabeth Bradfieldgrew up in Tacoma, Washington, and holds degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Alaska. Her years on the Salish Sea and in Southeast Alaska formed her. She is the author of the poetry collections Once Removed, Approaching Ice, Interpretive Work, Toward Antarctica, and Theorem, a collaboration with artist Antonia Contro. With Miller Oberman and Alexandra Teague, she coedited Broadsided Press: Celebrating Fifteen Years of Poetic and Artistic Collaboration, 2005–2020. Her poems have been published in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Sun, andOrion, and her essays have appeared in National Parks Conservation Magazineand several anthologies. Bradfield’s honors include the Audre Lorde Prize and a Stegner fellowship. She runs Broadsided Press, a monthly publication of original collaborations between writers and artists; works as a naturalist; and teaches creative writing at Brandeis University. www.ebradfield.com
CMarie Fuhrmanwas born and grew up in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She was introduced to wild places and beings by parents who grew off the land—hunting, fishing, gardening—and passed their knowledge on to their daughters. Fuhrman has lived in westcentral Idaho since 2011 and the area, from the Frank Church Wilderness to the deep waters of the Salmon and Snake Rivers, has become more than home, more than character, but intrinsic to all that she is. With an undeniable understanding of the urgency that surrounds protecting these places, both wild and rural, Fuhrman works with organizations that defend beings such as Grizzly, rivers such as the South Fork of the Salmon, and the bodies of Native women—where destruction and erasure is mirrored in humans. Fuhrman is the author of Camped Beneath theDam and co-editor of Native Voices: Indigenous American Poetry, Craft and Conversations.Fuhrman has served as director of IKEEP (Indigenous Knowledge for Effective Education Program) at the University of Idaho and is the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Western Colorado University, where she directs the poetry program and teaches nature writing. Fuhrman is a regular columnist for the Inlander, translations editor for Broadsided Press, and director of the Elk River Writers Workshop.www.cmariefuhrman.com
Derek Sheffield was born in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and grew up there and on the shores of the Salish Sea. After spending eight years in Seattle and earning an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington, he lived briefly in Oregon’s high desert before moving to central Washington, near Leavenworth. Since 2003, he has worked as a professor of English at Wenatchee Valley College, where, in partnership with biologist Dr. Dan Stephens, he teaches Northwest Nature Writing, a learning community where the precision of poetry melds with the excitement of science. Thanks to support from the Spring Creek Project, he has been able to work alongside many devoted scientists and artists during field residencies at Loowit-Mount St. Helens and the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest. His experience of Cascadia is also significantly defined by his identity as hiker, birder, fisher, forest bather, and father. He takes much delight in the fact that his daughters know many of their fellow beings and are often making their own poems and paintings when they aren’t assembling twigs, leaves, and grasses into nests and boats for Fairies. Author of the poetry collections Through the Second Skin, finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and Not for Luck, selected by Mark Doty for the Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize, and coeditor of Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, he serves as poetry editor of Terrain.org, the world’s oldest online journal devoted to place-centered art and literature. www.dereksheffield.com
Cascadia Field Guide is published on chlorine free, recycled paper. The eco-audit for the book is shown to the left. This project was supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.