President’s Update

Sixty years ago, in June of 1955, the Wenner-Gren Foundation convened an international symposium in Princeton, New Jersey, in honor of George Perkins Marsh’s 1864 book Man and Nature. The Princeton symposium, co-chaired by the geographer Carl O. Sauer, the zoologist Marston Bates, and the literary and cultural historian Lewis Mumford, brought together seventy participants from a range of academic fields. As the symposium unfolded, Bates reports in the published proceedings, “less and less was said in defense or in support of a particular disciplinary perspective” as the participants addressed the challenge of envisioning a response to environmental change.

In the next few weeks we will be launching a new web site conceived to address this enduring challenge. Our new digital home enhances the visibility of ASLE by featuring the most recent intellectual developments in the environmental humanities. The web site is also designed as a resource for scholars, writers, and artists from a range of academic fields, as well as for graduate and undergraduate students, environmental educators and activists, journalists, and environmentally concerned citizens.

Many people in the ASLE community deserve our gratitude for their work on this initiative. Most especially, members of the ASLE digital strategies committee, Amy McIntyre, Allison Carruth, Anthony Lioi, and Catherine Meeks, and the web development team, Bixler Communications Group, have made a difficult project a professional pleasure. Over the past year of designing and building the site we have also been blessed with the enthusiasm, time, and energy of many ASLE members who responded to our requests for materials.

We hope that the web site will inspire you to share your work with the members of ASLE. Contribute your voice to the field-defining positions on ecocriticism and the environmental humanities. Propose a member profile or a research spotlight. Or help us continue building out our resource pages and archives. We welcome your suggestions for new features as well. We are especially interested in profiles and features that effectively convey the story of our scholarship, writing, and teaching to external audiences–from journalists to other members of the public.

In addition to our new web site, the ASLE leadership team continues to bring people together in interesting and useful ways:

  • We have endorsed ASLE Interest Groups and welcome the formation of new groups. More information will be available on the Interest Groups page of the new web site;
  • We are finalizing a review and revision of the ASLE Strategic Plan to guide our projects and initiatives for the next five years;
  • We are recognizing the contributions of ASLE members and friends with three new honorary members: Janisse Ray, independent writer, Robin Wall Kimmerer, writer and Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; and Kathleen Dean Moore, writer and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University Corvallis.

Won’t you join us by contributing your expertise and energies to ASLE? Consider standing for elected office, inquire about becoming a program officer or, if your resources permit, support the work of ASLE by becoming a sustaining, patron, or lifetime member, or by contributing a one-time gift to ASLE on the “Donate” page of our new web site.

Let me close by saying how grateful I am to have been given the opportunity to further the ongoing work of our association. I look forward to productive collaborations with many of you in the years to come.
Mark C. Long, Keene State College