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PLAYA ALUMNI

Heida diefenderfer

Heida diefenderfer

Heida Diefenderfer is a restoration ecologist who studies the ecohydrology and geomorphology of river floodplains and estuaries. She is active in working groups across the U.S. West Coast, mainly studying Northeast Pacific Coastal Temperate Rainforests (for example, Bidlack et al. 2021, BioScience) and the “blue carbon” sequestered by coastal wetlands (for example, Kauffman et al. 2020, Global Change Biology). She is privileged to have helped develop and continue adaptive management of the Columbia Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program, which since 2003 reconnects river floodplain areas to improve habitat for juvenile salmon and other organisms. She has also contributed to investigations of the Net Ecological Gain concept by the Washington State Academy of Sciences, and the Cumulative Effects of Restoration following the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the U.S. Gulf Coast, by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. A member of the Washington Natural Heritage Advisory Council as an appointee of the State Commissioner of Public Lands since 2013, advising state resource agencies, she most recently serves as Chair. Heida’s work is published in peer-reviewed journals associated with scientific professional societies including Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (Ecological Society of America), Geophysical Research Letters (American Geophysical Union), and Restoration Ecology (Society for Ecological Restoration). Her professional roles are Senior Earth Scientist, U.S. Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Laboratory-Coastal Sciences Division, and Faculty Fellow, University of Washington (UW)-College of the Environment. She earned her BA (biology/forest ecology) from Reed College and her doctorate from UW College of Forest Resources.

MEGHAN ROBINS TEETER

MEGHAN ROBINS TEETER

Meghan Robins was born and raised in Tahoe City, California, and currently resides in Bend, Oregon. She earned her MFA from Sierra Nevada College. Her short fiction and creative essays have appeared in Beyond Words, VoiceCatcher, Powder Magazine, Kokanee Review, and the literary anthology Tahoe Blues. Her essay “Being a Woman Is Like Making French Onion Soup” won first place in the WOW! Women on Writing nonfiction writing contest. Meghan is currently writing a historical novel set in a Lake Tahoe logging camp in 1859. When not writing and working as a freelance marketing & communications specialist, she’s most often found baking, drinking tea, and exploring the mountains (sometimes all at the same time). You can read more of her work at meghanrobins.com.

mEGAN kRUSE

mEGAN kRUSE

Megan Kruse grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently lives in Olympia. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and earned her MFA at the University of Montana. Her debut novel, Call Me Home, was published by Hawthorne Books in 2015; she was the recipient of a 2016 Pacific Northwest Book Award and named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” She currently teaches for Eastern Oregon University’s Low Residency MFA program and Gotham Writers Workshop. She is at work on a new novel about oysters, queer family, and how we make meaning in the face of climate disaster.

LIZ ASCH GREENHILL

LIZ ASCH GREENHILL

Liz Asch is an author, acupuncturist, visual artist, and educator. Liz created and hosts the embodied surrealist art project, Body Land: Metaphor Medicine, which helps listeners relax and practice self-regulation of the nervous system while engaging the mind’s creativity. Body Land is free wherever you get your podcasts. Her collection of short fiction, Your Salt on My Lips (Cleis Press, 2021), was lauded for “reinventing the genre of erotica.” Liz holds a BA from Vassar, an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Eastern Oregon University, and a Masters in Chinese Medicine. Her 16 mm animated short, “The Loveseat,” showed in LGBTQ film festivals across the US and in Canada. Liz’s essays, stories, reviews, interviews, and poetry have been published in The Rumpus, The Collagist, Gertrude Press, Phoebe, Sinister Wisdom, Atticus Review, Entropy, BUST, Oregon East, and Mutha Magazine, among others; and in the anthologies: Wild Gods, Step Lightly, The Dream Closet, and The Untold Gaze. Liz has been honored to be an Art/Lab Jewish fellow, a Pushcart nominee, and winner of the Phoebe Creative Nonfiction Contest and the Willamette Writers Kay Snow Award. A guest educator at Corporeal Writing, various MFA programs, and the Portland Underground Graduate School, Liz is a cherished workshop leader, assistant, and editor to many artists. She practices hands-on healthcare at Night Sky Acupuncture + Ideaphoria in Portland, Oregon. You can read more about her at www.LizAsch.com

DAVID CARMACK LEWIS

DAVID CARMACK LEWIS

David Carmack Lewis is a contemporary American painter and muralist based in Portland, Oregon exploring ideas of myth and imagination in relation to the natural world. Though born and raised in Virginia, his fine art career began after moving to Arizona in the 1990s. He has also lived briefly in Wales, New York City, Maine and Namibia, but for the past two decades has called Oregon home. His work has won numerous awards and support from arts organizations including The Ford Family Foundation, The Oregon Arts Commission and The Regional Arts & Culture Council.

DANIEL SOUTHARD

DANIEL SOUTHARD

Daniel Southard is an interdisciplinary artist, photographer, and writer living in San Francisco. Combining found materials with installation, sculpture, cartography, walking, sound art, and publications, his research-based works investigate the meanings of materials to create individual pieces, installations, or experiences that try to bring clarity to the often overwhelming issues which confront us, while at the same time raising new questions. The results reflect his deep concern with humanity’s evolving relationship to the land as well as meanings held within the land itself. He is currently an affiliate artist in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts.

ANGIE CARTER

ANGIE CARTER

Angie Carter (she/her) is a writer, sociologist, and scholar-activist living on the traditional, contemporary, and future homelands of the Anishinaabe in the Keweenaw Peninsula region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Originally from Iowa, she serves as a Women, Food and Agriculture Network board member and remains active in social change efforts in the US Corn Belt contesting extractive agricultural/energy practices. In her research, Angie studies the intersections of environmental justice, rural food justice, and social change in collaboration with community organizations and partners. Currently, she and co-author Ahna Kruzic are writing a book about rural women’s environmental activism. Angie’s creative nonfiction can be found in Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America (Ice Cube Press 2016), Black Warrior Review, The Gettysburg Review, and River Teeth: A Journal of Narrative Nonfiction. She works as an associate professor in Michigan Tech University’s Department of Social Sciences and has published her research and scholarly writing in numerous books and journals, including Community Development, Rural Sociology, Society & Natural Resources, Journal of Social Justice, Compelling Ground: Landscapes, Environments, and People of Iowa (Iowa State University Museums 2021), Handbook of Gender and Agriculture (Routledge 2020), Social Movements Contesting Natural Development (Routledge 2020), and Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food and the Commons in the United States (Food First 2017). She earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona and a PhD in sociology and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University.

Ahna Kruzic

Ahna Kruzic

Ahna Kruzic (she/her) focuses her writing and time on rural community-building, social movement support, and farm and racial justice advocacy. Ahna currently lives in rural Iowa and works as Associate Director of the Regenerative Agriculture Foundation. She holds a Master of Science in sustainable agriculture and sociology from Iowa State University, and has worked as community organizer, researcher, coalition-builder, publisher, and communicator.

Patrick Kikut

Patrick Kikut

In 1987 at the age of 21, Patrick Kikut was in Boulder, Colorado when he started thinking of himself as an artist. It was there where he developed an approach to his studio work which usually begins with a desire to learn (and experience) a particular landscape....

Nina Elder

Nina Elder

Artist and researcher Nina Elder creates projects that reveal humanity’s dependence on, and interruption of, the natural world. With a focus on changing cultures and ecologies, Nina advocates for collaboration, fostering relationships between institutions, artists,...

Daniel Duford

Daniel Duford

For 20 years, Daniel Duford has woven visual narratives — stories that flow through large paintings, graphic novels, installations and figurative sculpture. His work is born from the mythic and political history of North America. He is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow, a 2018...

Diane Jacobs

Diane Jacobs

Born in Southern California, Diane grew up surf fishing, creating potions, and drawing incessantly. At age 12, she and her family traveled to Japan, planting the seed for a lifelong interest in cross-cultural understanding. As an undergraduate at UCSC, she discovered...

Aaron Rabinowitz

Aaron Rabinowitz

Aaron Rabinowitz writes creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. He won PRISM International’s 2023 Creative Non-Fiction Contest, CANSCAIP’s Writing for Children Competition, and is a two-time finalist for Hunger Mountain’s Katherine Paterson Prize. He has earned...

Farnaz Fatemi

Farnaz Fatemi

Farnaz Fatemi is an Iranian American writer and editor in Santa Cruz, CA. She is a founding member of The Hive Poetry Collective, which presents a weekly radio show and podcast in Santa Cruz County and hosts readings and poetry-related events, and is Santa Cruz...

Paul Skenazy

Paul Skenazy

Paul Skenazy taught literature and writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz for thirty years before retiring to devote full time to his writing. He has published two novels. Temper CA (Miami UP, 2019), won the 2018 Miami University Press Novella Contest....

Kathryn Maxwell

Kathryn Maxwell

E. M Forster wrote, “only connect,” a quotation that Kathryn Maxwell (b. 1959, Centralia, IL) takes to heart in her artwork exploring the many forms of human connections to each other and the universe. Images from nature and the iconography of science and spirituality...

Perrin Kerns

Perrin Kerns

Perrin Kerns has been teaching literature and writing for over 30 years.She currently teaches at Portland State University, Literary Arts, and the Fishtrap Writers Conference. Her own creative work has taken her from lyric essay to digital storytelling to personal...

Katherine Vondy

Katherine Vondy

Katherine Vondy is a Los Angeles-based writer working in film, theater, and literature. A recipient of The Davey Foundation’s Theatre Grant, her plays have been developed with the Athena Project, Salt Lake Acting Company, Clamour Theatre Company, Fresh Ground Pepper,...

Jacinda Russell

Jacinda Russell

As a conceptual artist with a longstanding interest in edges, borders, and topographical extremes, Jacinda Russell has examined the impacts of human-accelerated climate change in the polar regions since 2017. She works primarily in the mediums of photography,...

Joe Minato

Joe Minato

Joe Minato grew up in beautiful Rockwood, Oregon, youngest of six children. He had a childhood of explorations in nature and investigations in science, a gift he wishes for every child. He was born to be a science teacher. He even started a school in his parents’...

Amy Minato

Amy Minato

Amy Minato is author of a memoir Siesta Lane, (Skyhorse Press, 2009) and two poetry collections: Hermit Thrush, (Inkwater Press, 2016) and The Wider Lens, (Ice River Press, 2004). Amy has been a recipient of both a Literary Arts Fellowship for her poetry and a Walden...

Deborah Miranda

Deborah Miranda

Deborah A. Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation in California, with Santa Ynez Chumash ancestry. Her hybrid collection Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir, won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award. In 2022, the 10th anniversary...

Lofanitani Aisea

Lofanitani Aisea

Lofanitani is a Black Indigenous actor, writer, filmmaker, influencer, and model based in Los Angeles, CA, and working everywhere. Lofanitani was raised in Oregon both rural on her Klamath reservation in Chiloquin and urban in Portland. From making movies on her flip...

Caroline Tracey

Caroline Tracey

Caroline Tracey is a writer whose work focuses on the US Southwest, Mexico, and the US-Mexico borderlands. As a reporter, Caroline's work appears in the New Yorker, n+1, the Guardian, the Nation, and elsewhere, and in Spanish she is a frequent contributor to Mexico's...