CORVALLIS - An unusual "jam session" that combines music, science poetry, ecology and some good old-fashioned debating will explore new ideas about restoring forests, wetlands and rivers.

The free public event, called "New Metaphors of Restoration," will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, at Starker Arts Park in Corvallis. Oregon State University's Spring Creek Project in the OSU Department of Philosophy and the U.S. Forest Service are coordinating the event.

Fifteen authors, ecologists and artists will be on stage for the event, which opens with a performance by Alaskan singer and songwriter Libby Roderick. A free-form panel discussion will follow, with artists and scientists thinking together about restoring the land.

"To have wonderful writers and fine restoration biologists all in the same place at the same time - all riffing on what it means to restore a valley or a vacant lot - it will be a festival of new ideas," said Kathleen Dean Moore, an OSU philosopher and co-organizer of the event.

"Imagine," Moore added, "a conversation among Janisse Ray, who wrote 'Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,' Jim Lichotawich, author of 'Salmon Without Rivers,' John Daniel, a poet and author of 'Winter Creek' and Jerry Franklin, an old-growth forest ecologist. And that is just the beginning."

In addition to Ray and Daniel, participating writers include Freeman House, author of "Totem Salmon"; Stephanie Mills, "In Service of the Wild"; and Moore, "Riverwalking."

Scientists in addition to Lichotawich and Franklin include Don Despain, a fire ecologist at Yellowstone; Ann Bartuska, president-elect of the Ecological Society of America; Stan Gregory, an OSU aquatic ecologist; Robin Kimmerer, an ecologist and member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi; and Jim Sedell and Fred Swanson of the U.S. Forest Service.

Also participating will be Rita Cantu, an interpreter and performing artist with the U.S. Forest Service; John Bliss, an OSU professor of forestry with a sociology background; and Leslie Sauer, a landscape architect and restoration project leader.

"It is going to be an amazing evening," said Swanson, a U.S. Forest Service geologist and co-organizer of the event. "We are entering the 'Age of Restoration.' So it's important to know what that means and how we can communicate the value of restoration efforts."

The panel discussion will focus on the meanings of restoration, the metaphorical language used to describe various efforts, and how that language may subtly or overtly influence people's perspectives. "One goal of the session is to find new ways to understand and communicate the importance of restoration work," Moore said.

The evening event will be held at Starker Arts Park, located at Country Club Drive and 45th Street in Corvallis. The park is an outdoor amphitheater, Moore said, so people should bring blankets or low chairs to sit on.

A follow-up workshop will be held on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Peavy Lodge in the Peavy Arboretum off Hwy. 99 north of Corvallis. The public is invited to participate in conversations about restoration with the authors, ecologists and others. The workshop is limited to the first 100 people to enroll and pre-registration is required.

To pre-register, or learn more about the Saturday night discussion, contact Tony Vogt of the Spring Creek Project at 541-737-6198, or by e-mail at:

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Kathleen Dean Moore, 541-737-5652