An Environmental History of Zena

In the spring and fall of 2012, students in the course "Environmental History of Zena" wrote the first comprehensive history of Willamette's Zena property and the surrounding landscape. The authors drew on original research and authoritative secondary sources to examine interactions between nature and culture at Zena. The result: fourteen stories about Zena’s past, stretching from the Pleistocene to the present and covering a remarkable range of topics, all focused on the theme “sense of place" and grouped here by theme.

The book produced by this class is available at the Willamette University bookstore and

Section One: Geological Origins and First Peoples

Examines geological and climatological forces at Zena and the history of the Kalapuya people in the area.

Section Two: The Transformation of Eden

Analyzes the beliefs that Euro-Americans brought to Zena and how Euro-American agricultural practices changed over time.

Section Three: Law, Ideology, and Stories at Zena

Explores efforts to rationalize and make sense of Zena through legal mechanisms and narratives.

Section Four: Conservation and Restoration at Zena

Assesses changing land use practices at Zena since the late twentieth century.

Willamette University

Willamette University Sustainability Institute


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