Shannon Wilson (tsuga [at] efn.org) grew up in southwest Oregon's Siskiyou mountains, one of the nation's most biodiverse ecosystems. As a shy kid whose nearest school friends lived 6 miles away, he wandered the thousands of acres of wild lands behind his house during sunny days and learned the birds, dozens of conifer species, the geology of the Klamath Siskiyou, and helped rescue the small swimmers (salmonids) in the creek but doing so not fearing any wild predator as long as he had his trusted dog or two near. After attending Selma elementary and Lorna Byrne Middle School in a rather uneventful way, he began learning about the extinction of the passenger pigeon, the dangers of nuclear fission, and vast wild lands that surrounded his home 5 - 30 miles in all directions. In the early 1970's myself and brother may have even sighted a pack of wolves running together in shallow snow towards the Kalmisopsis wilderness on a mountain near our home.
After dropping out of college with disgust over the second installment of Ronald Reagan and the subsequent war against the the natural world declared by his administration he worked as a mill worker and wildland firefighter in the Siskiyous in the late 1980's. After being struck in the back of the head by a 12 foot 2x6 and receiving about a dozen stitches while working at the mill he quickly decided to go back to college. He attended Rogue Community College and earned an Associate of Science Degree in Forestry in 1991. Phil Wickham, a former disgruntled and discharged District Ranger, was our instructor. He was very diligent about not portraying any specific bias for or against any specific agency agendas but he was a good instructor who cared deeply for the stewardship of the National Forest and for some of us this stuck. Soon, however, the Department of Forestry at Oregon State University orchestrated the dismantling all forestry degree programs at community colleges across Oregon. They and their timber extraction masters demanded complete control over what "forestry" principles were taught and control over future forestry candidates groomed to serve the timber industry.
In 1991, after working for the Umpqua National Forest as a Northern spotted owl surveyor for two seasons, he moved to Eugene. Starting in 1992 he performed surveys for the threatened marbled murrelet for the Eugene BLM up through 1994. He refused gainful employment with both agencies because of illegal and unethical practices occuring at and within both agency offices. However, before he could get started in an Energy Management career President Bill Clinton signed the Salvage Rider (Logging Without Laws Rider) into law in 1995. Shannon quickly resigned his position with Americorps in protest of this action by President Bill Clinton. From 1995 through 2003 he worked as a full time grassroots organizer and was arrested 3 times for civil disobedience in efforts to stop hundreds of ancient forest timber sales throughout Oregon. In 1998 he co-founded the Northwest Trails Project which later evolved into Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates (CEA) in 2001. In 2011 CEA became Ecosystem Advocates NW. From 1995 to 2010 he served as a Executive Committee Board Member for the Many Rivers Group Sierra Club as well as a Federal Forests Issues Chair for the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club. He was literally ousted from his Many Rivers Group Chairman position by national Serra Club leadership for being publicly critical of destructive policies proposed and enacted by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Congressman Peter DeFazio as well as other Democratic Party politicians. He continues to work unpaid as Director of Eco Advocates NW and as a board member of the League of Wilderness Defenders.
Some of Shannon's favorite quotes:
"We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation." - Martin Luther King Jr. April 4 1967
"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." George Bernard Shaw
"From nowhere we come, into nowhere we go. What is life? It is a flash of firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” ― Chief Crowfoot
“Wisdom comes from wrestling with despair but not allowing despair to have the last word.” - Cornel West
"You see things; and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" George Bernard Shaw
"For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal." - John F Kennedy June 1963
"Never doubt that a few thoughtful and dedicated people who commit acts of civil disobedient direct action can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Shannon Wilson
Josh Schlossberg, Biomass Accountability Project
Samantha Chirillo see www.forestryrestoration.org
Eco Advocates NW - tsuga(at)efn.org