The Idea of Vermont

February 22, 2018 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
One World Conservation Center
413 US Rt. 7S

2/22: The Idea of Vermont (Laird Christensen, Green Mountain College)

“The Idea of Vermont” explores the way that Vermont has evolved—socially and even physically—based on the ideas that people have about it, both within the state and beyond. Through the presentation, attendees will get a history lesson that illustrates the succession of various “ideas of Vermont” over the last 12,000 years. Christensen’s presentation will also look at how the idea of Vermont will likely change by the end of the current century.


Laird Christensen, PhD, Professor of English Literature and Environmental Studies, and Director of the Master of Science in Resilient and Sustainable Communities at Green Mountain College

Born and raised in western Oregon, Laird Christensen is a writer, teacher and activist focusing on the search for balance between the human and the wild. He teaches course in English Literature and Environmental Studies at Green Mountain College, where he directs the graduate program in Resilient and Sustainable Communities. His poems and essays have appeared in a variety of books and journals, including Northwest Review, Wild Earth, Northern Woodlands, and Studies in American Indian Literature.  His books include Teaching about Place: Learning from the Land and Teaching North American Environmental Literature.

Christensen’s teaching and writing are informed by a wide range of environmental experience, from grading lumber in Oregon to working as a ranger for the state of New Hampshire.  In 1999 the University of Oregon awarded him a Ph.D. for his dissertation, Spirit Astir in the World: Sacred Poetry in the Age of Ecology. Christensen has taught literature and writing at the Universities of Illinois and Oregon, as well as at Keene State, Franklin Pierce, and Alma Colleges. He served as the founding director of Green Mountain College’s Master of Science in Environmental Studies, and his teaching interests include American literature, creative writing, bioregionalism, and natural history writing.


In 2009 Christensen was invited to the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, to lead a workshop on place-based teaching for professors from as far away as India, Turkey, and Bulgaria. While he continues to write about environmental issues in his native Northwest, Laird is increasingly focused on Vermont, exploring how one comes to feel at home in a place through exercises in environmental perception and learning the local natural history. As a part of this reinhabitory work, he weaves local landmarks through the songs he writes for Spruce Knob Uprising, a bluegrass band that plays at concerts and rallies throughout the region. Laird became a new father in October of 2009, and is thrilled to be introducing his son, Addison, to the forests and hills around Poultney.


Register Here

  • RSS
  • Facebook