Monday, May 31, 2010

Trevor Herriot: Saskatchewan Environmental Champion

Saskatchewan Environmental Champions

Trevor Herriot is best known to the Saskatchewan public for his encyclopedic knowledge of Saskatchewan birds on the popular monthly CBC radio phone in show, "Birdline". He is also a well-known naturalist, writer and illustrator.

Herriot has published two books, feature articles in Canadian Geographic and Nature Canada magazines as well as many other personal essays in anthologies that explore the landscape and the human relationship to the land. His first book about the Qu'Appelle River Valley, River in a Dry Land: a Prairie Passage was highly acclaimed by reviewers when it was first published in 2000 and went on to win four awards: the Writers' Trust Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, the Libris Award for Best First-Time Author, the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award, and the Regina Book Award. It was also shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-fiction.

Recently, he helped create the play "All My Relations - Wahkotowin", which toured over 50 communities throughout the province in 2005 and was showcased at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The production explored and celebrated the landscape and people of Saskatchewan.

By unifying the modern and the ancient in his own spiritual quest, Herriot illuminates a way forward, beyond dogma and fear of wildness. He reaches heavenward while holding himself fast to the nurturing earth and articulates a vision encompassing enough to hold the contradictions and questions he poses. Herriot is active in the natural history community of Saskatchewan and conducts birdwatching expeditions and birdwatching workshops for families in and around Regina for both adults and kids.

His most recent book, Jacob's Wound: A Search for the Spirit of Wildness has been described* as "a prayer for wholeness in the face of fragmentation and scattering: an appeal for spiritual unity, a lament for our threadbare connection to the wild, a steadfast assertion of the human need for the earth's blessings." The book places Herriot in the small but growing league of internationally prominent writers who have sought to explore an eco-theology, span the breach between religion and science and reshape our relation to nature.

Herriot explores humanity's loss of spiritual connection to the earth by examining the ancestral, pagan values, which lie hidden within the religious traditions of 'the Book' - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Herriot offers us a glimpse into his own struggle with faith and dogma and the legacy of a religious history that allowed domination to replace sensitive understanding. He honestly shares his own search to reconcile his return to the Roman Catholic Church with his broader sense of the land as his source of spiritual sustenance.

The book's title reflects the touchstone of the ancient wound that separated the Biblical Esau, hunter and wanderer, from his brother Jacob, farmer and "civilized" man. In walking "the boundary land where religion, Christianity in particular, has from time to time made contact with wildness," Herriot shows that religion and wildness are intertwined, that each ennobles and sanctifies the other.

By unifying the modern and the ancient in his own spiritual quest, Herriot illuminates a way forward, beyond dogma and fear of wildness. He reaches heavenward while holding himself fast to the nurturing earth and articulates a vision encompassing enough to hold the contradictions and questions he poses.

Jacob's Wound is a book for those seeking understanding about the place of humanity on the earth. In guiding us to the deeper questions "we might be privileged to brush up against that unity, feel the pull of the river, even hear something of its one true song… the single strain that contains all the others, forming music from the incomplete."

His integrated religious sentiment binds together, with sensitivity and insight, the threads of connection between hunter and farmer, Christian and pagan, human and humus.

*For full review see: http://www.rosslaird.info/archives/2004/10/30/jacobs_wound/

Trevor's most recent book is Grass, Sky, Song.














Visit Trevor Herriot's Grassnotes here.

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