February 2005

Is Nature Calling?
Terry Tempest Williams

The 2005 Dempsey Environmental Lecture was delivered by Terry Tempest Williams. Ms. Williams is perhaps best known for her book, "Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place," where she chronicles the epic rise of Great Salt Lake and the flooding of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in 1983, alongside her mother's diagnosis with ovarian cancer, believed to be caused by radioactive fallout from the nuclear tests in the Nevada desert in the 1950's and 1960's. This book is now regarded as a classic in American Nature Writing a testament to loss and the earth's healing grace. Her most recent book, "Red: Patience and Passion in the Desert" traces her lifelong love of and commitment to the desert and the spiritual and political commitment of preserving the fragile redrock wilderness of southern Utah. Ms. Williams has testified before the U.S. Congress twice regarding the environmental links associated with cancer, and has been a strong advocate for America's Redrock Wilderness Act. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship in creative nonfiction, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lila Wallace - Readers Digest Community Grant.

In conjunction with Ms.Williams lecture, the Dempsey Environmental Conference was also held. It explored connections between the professional lives and broader motivations, meanings, and implications of the life's work of an array of exceptional individuals working for the environment. Conference panelists included: Ed Begley, Jr., Robin Morris Collin, Dave Foreman, Dale Jamieson, Jane Lubchenko, Carolyn Merchant, George Miller, Andrew Revkin, and Elizabeth Woody

Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams