Bay Nature magazineJanuary-March 2011

Art and Design

Geography of Hope Returns

January 1, 2011

After a one-year hiatus, the organizers behind the popular Geography of Hope conference in Point Reyes Station are back with a new topic. Event organizers honored Wallace Stegner at the inaugural conference in 2008 and celebrated sustainable farming in 2009. This year’s theme will be “Reflections on Water.”

The conference, from March 18 to 20, is co-chaired by poets Robert Hass and Brenda Hillman, both immersed in poetry and activism relating to water. While serving as U.S. poet laureate, Hass spearheaded a national watershed conference and cofounded River of Words, an arts and environmental education organization for schoolchildren. A line from the title poem of Hillman’s most recent book, Practical Water, could serve as a metaphor for this conference hosted by Point Reyes Books: “What happened to the creek/ is what happened/ to the sentence in the twentieth century/ It got social underground.”

In addition to the literary conversations, there will be outdoor interactive art installations curated by John Mueller, a board member of Black Rock Arts Foundation (sponsor of Burning Man). The installations, on display for about three months, will include a new piece by David Best, whose Burning Man temples have long been legendary. From February 25 to 27, Mueller will also codirect a water-themed film festival with Jane Sullivan, founder of the Santa Cruz Film Festival. Kicking off the weekend of films and interactive panel discussions will be a screening of The River Why, based on David James Duncan’s book of the same name.

Visit or call (415)663-1542 for tickets and more information.

While you’re in West Marin thinking about water and wind, don’t forget that registration for this year’s Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival, April 29 to May 2, should begin in mid-February. Last year, many events filled up quickly, so register early at

About the Author

Writer Aleta George trained as a Jepson Prairie docent in 2009. In addition to writing Bay Nature's Ear to the Ground column, she has written for Smithsonian, High Country News, and the Los Angeles Times.