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2009 News Releases

Janisse Ray to present Woodrow Wilson Lecture

March 27, 2009

Janisse Ray

Janisse Ray, a leading environmental activist, author, and poet, is Longwood University's 2009 Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She will present the annual Woodrow Wilson Lecture on Thursday, April 9 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of Hull Education Center at Longwood. The lecture, "Radical Sustainability and the Economics of a Sustainable Life," is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception.

The Wilson Visiting Fellow is a prestigious event that Longwood is proud to host annually. During the week of April 6-10, Ray will be meeting with students, faculty, and administrators to share information on a variety of topics including nature, community, organic agriculture, sustainability, and the politics of wholeness.

As an organizer and activist, Ray works to create sustainable communities, local food systems, a stable global climate, intact ecosystems, clean rivers, life-enhancing economies, and participatory democracy.

"No matter the [lecture] title, I basically keep coming back to the same themes in my work: how fragmentation affects us; local economics and our personal relationships to nature; climate disruption and how to live a sensible life; and what it means to be fully human," said Ray.

Ray attempts to live a sustainable life on a family farm in southern Georgia with her husband and son. She is a gardener, tender of farm animals, hospice and Red Cross volunteer, and slow-food cook. She is a founding board member of Altamaha Riverkeeper and is on the board of the Environmental Leadership Center of Warren Wilson College.

In 1999 Ray published "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood," which won the Southeastern Booksellers Award for Nonfiction in 1999 and the Southern Environmental Law Center Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, and the American Book Award in 2000.
Her works also include "Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home" (2003) and "Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land" (2005). Ray has published many poems and essays in such magazines and newspapers as Georgia Wildlife, National Geographic Wildlife, and Orion. A nature commentator for Georgia Public Radio and a founding board member of Altamaha Riverkeeper, Ray helped form the Georgia Nature-Based Tourism Association and continues working to preserve the 3,400-acre Moody Forest in Appling County, Georgia.

The 2009 Woodrow Wilson Lecture is the latest event in Longwood's continuing relationship with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The Wilson Foundation's mission is to "identify and develop the best minds for the nation's most important challenges. In these areas of challenge, the Foundation awards fellowships to enrich human resources, works to improve public policy, and assists organizations and institutions in enhancing practice in the U.S. and abroad."