Jordan Fisher Smith - Eccles Visiting Scholar

Jordan Fisher Smith

March 18, 2021
The Great Hall

Reflection | Podcast | VideoPhotos

Eccles Visiting Scholar George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation
SUU and A.P.E.X. Events is most grateful for the support from The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation which made this event possible.


Jordan Fisher Smith spent 21 years as a park and wilderness ranger for the Forest Service, National Park Service, and California State parks in California, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska. He is the author of the ranger memoir Nature Noir, which was a Wall Street Journal summer reading selection, San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2005 pick, and an Audubon Magazine Editor’s Choice. His second book Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature, won the Silver Medal for nonfiction in the 2017 California Book Awards and was longlisted for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. Jordan has also written for The New Yorker, Men’s Journal, Aeon, Discover, and Orion, and his magazine work has been nominated for awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Jordan is a principal cast member and narrator of the film “Under Our Skin,” which was shortlisted for the 2010 Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. He lectures, teaches writing workshops, and coaches writers on their projects from his base in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains.


Reflection

As part of our university’s great Eccles Visiting Scholar program, A.P.E.X. Events was happy to welcome to Southern Utah University, author and former National Park Ranger, Jordan Fisher Smith. Smith spent 21 years as a park and wilderness ranger for the Forest Service, National Park Service, and California State parks in California, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska. He is the author of the ranger memoir Nature Noir, which was a Wall Street Journal summer reading selection, San Francisco Chronicle Best Books of 2005 pick, and an Audubon Magazine Editor’s Choice. His second book Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature, won the Silver Medal for nonfiction in the 2017 California Book Awards and was longlisted for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. Smith has also written for The New Yorker, Men’s Journal, Aeon, Discover, and Orion, and his magazine work has been nominated for awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was introduced to the stage by SUU’s own Dr. Kelly Goonan, Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation in Parks and Tourism.

Following an acknowledgement of those who had invited him to the university, Smith began reading to the audience excerpts from his book, Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature. In the excerpts, he describes through his masterful storytelling, the journey and death of Harry Eugene Walker, a hitchhiker who met his untimely demise at Yellowstone National Park at the hands of an endangered grizzly bear - bringing up the issues of human involvement with nature.

After reading from his book, Smith was joined onstage by A.P.E.X. Events director, Dr. Lynn Vartan for a brief interview session. They discussed topics such as Smith’s superb and immersive storytelling and how his writing style brings his characters to life, as well as showing some notes and drawings he had gathered that became an integral part of his incredible storytelling.

By Emily Sexton


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