Anahkwet Reiter

Anahkwet is the Executive Director for the grassroots community organization Menikahnaehkem, whose initiatives include energy and food sovereignty, a women’s leadership cohort, and Protectors of the Menominee River. A traditional Menominee who resides on the Menominee Reservation, Anahkwet is a community organizer, activist, author, and amateur archaeologist who works to uplift the human condition and to demonstrate the enriching value of Menominee culture. In 2022, Anahkwet submitted a Rights of Nature Resolution for consideration to the National Congress of American Indians. Co-developed with the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, the resolution reflects growing efforts by tribes across the United States to protect the rights of nature and to affirm the ancient, indigenous worldview that nature is our relative and provider. The resolution was adopted by the National Congress of American Indians in June. Learn more at Menomineere Builders.

Presentation: Anahkwet will speak about the Rights of Nature Resolution as well as about his work with Menikahnaehkem and tribal environmental issues more generally.

Anahkwet Reiter
Anahkwet Reiter

Rocky Barker

A graduate of Northland College, Rocky Barker arrived on campus the day of the 1971 conference that inspired Robert Matteson to propose creation of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. As a student, Rocky served on the Institute’s Student-Faculty Advisory Committee and was in attendance for Sigurd Olson’s Johnson Lecture in the fall of 1972. Rocky went on to a distinguished career as an environmental journalist and recently retired from the Idaho Statesmen. He is author of Saving All the Parts: Reconciling Economics and the Endangered Species Act and Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America. With Ken Retallic, he authored Flyfishers Guide to Idaho and Wingshooter’s Guide to Idaho. Rocky received the National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, the Aldo Leopold Award from the Wilderness Society, and the Communications Professional Award from Trout Unlimited for his work on Pacific Salmon. Learn more at RockyBarker.com.

Presentation: Rocky will share stories from the early years of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute and reflect on a career immersed in issues that have been central to the Institute’s work and mission.

Rocky Barker presents
Rocky Barker

Florence Williams

A fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature, Florence Williams is a journalist, author, and podcaster whose work focuses on connections between people, health, and nature. A contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Florence also writes for the New York Times, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books, Slate, Mother Jones, and High Country News. Her books include BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History; The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative; and Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey. Florence has also written and hosted two Gracie-Award-Winning Audible Original series and provided keynote addresses for Google, the Smithsonian, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. She was a Scripps Fellow at the Center of Environmental Journalism and has received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, two National Magazine Award nominations, six magazine awards from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the John Hersey Prize at Yale. Learn more at FlorenceWilliams.com.

Keynote: Florence will provide the keynote address for our conference, sharing research that informed her book The Nature Fix and reflecting on connections between people, health, and nature.

Florence Williams
Florence Williams

Kendra Atleework

Author of Miracle Country: A Memoir of a Family and a Landscape, Kendra Atleework is winner of the 2020 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award and of the Women Writing the West WILLA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction. As a writer, Kendra creates vivid pictures of her personal experiences and of the historical misappropriation of land, water, and culture near her home town of Bishop, California—a place she left behind and has now returned to. She also shows her readers the value of “filing a flight plan” and “maintaining three points of contact” as we navigate the complexities for our lives and work to heal ourselves, our communities, and the Earth. Atleework earned an MFA from the University of Minnesota and has been awarded fellowships and residencies form the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Anderson Center, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her writing has appeared in Best American Essays, The Atlantic, and The Los Angeles Times. Learn more at Atleework.com.

Presentation: Kendra will respond to questions about Miracle Country and the experiences and issues it explores in an interactive session with conference attendees.

Kendra Atleework
Kendra Atleework

Stacy Bare

A veteran of the Iraq war, Stacy Bare found post-service salvation in the outdoors and has dedicated his life to helping others discover the health benefits of outdoor recreation. To that end, he co-founded the Great Outdoors Lab (GO Lab) with Dr. Dacher Keltner in 2014 to put scientifically defensible data behind the use of time outdoors in healthcare. He has also served as a director of Sierra Club Outdoors, launched Adventure Not War (ANW), contributed to the production of several award-winning documentary and adventure films, and shared his story in numerous presentations and talks, including a TedX talk and a keynote address for the Association of Outdoor Recreation Educators National Conference. A 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and the 2015 SHIFT Conservation Athlete of the Year, Stacy has established new climbing routes with Alex Hannold in Angola, completed a first ski descent of Mt. Halgurd in Iraq, and led numerous skiing, dogsledding, climbing, and paddling expeditions focused on the therapeutic benefits of the outdoors. Currently, Stacy is serving as the executive director for Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, an organization that empowers people to cultivate vibrant parks, trees, and green spaces.

Presentation: Stacy will share stories and experiences that affirm the importance of access to and experiences in the natural world—both on the grand scale of mountains and wild rivers and on the more intimate scale of local parks and city greenways.

 

Stacy Bare
Stacy Bare

Rick St. Germaine

In May of 1981, Rick St. Germaine was a featured speaker at the dedication ceremony for the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute’s new building on the Northland College campus. As part of his talk in 1981, Rick challenged the audience to “acknowledge the commonality by which we work together to restore peace and harmony in our world.” A dedicated educator at all levels, Rick has founded, taught at, administered, and consulted for numerous schools throughout the country, including the LCO Ojibwa School and, most recently, the Anya Itpak Elementary School in Arizona. He has held faculty appointments in Native American Studies, Education, and History at the University of California-Berkeley, Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he retired as Professor Emeritus in 2012. Rick also helped to found the Skills Center for Leadership and annually conducts youth leadership seminars with the Nation Building for Native Youth organization. In addition to regular consulting, Rick is now helping to raise a young grandson, which, he observes, requires a bit of time fishing, swimming, skiing, and sledding.

Presentation: Rick will share memories of his experiences with the Institute, reflect on the environmental movement and education more broadly, and offer thoughts about how the Institute might focus its work in the future.

Rick St. Germaine
Rick St. Germaine