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, dozen species of conifer, the large and small swimmers 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 up 5 - 30 miles in all directions. Myself and brother may have even sighted a pack of wolves running together in the shallow snow towards the Kalmisopsis wilderness on one of the larger mountains near his home. Subsequently, 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 recieving 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 great instructor who cared deeply for the precautionary stewardship of the National Forest and for some of us this stuck. Soon, however, the Department of Forestry at Oregon State University orchestrated by their puppet masters soon dismantled the forestry degree programs at all community colleges in Oregon. They and their masters demanded complete control over what type of forestry was being taught and that nothing would create a counter force to the industrial destruction they taught 4 year forestry degree 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 subsequently 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 on the Executive Committee for the Many Rivers Group as well as the Federal Forests Committee of the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club until he was ousted for being publicly critical of destructive decisions made by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Peter DeFazio as well as other Democrat 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:
"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
"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