Living Forests : The Team  

Newton Harrison Co-Director, Center for the Study of Force Majeure

Helen Harrison Director Emerita, Center for the Study of Force Majeure

Joshua Harrison Co-Director, Center for the Study of Force Majeure - Contact

Ruby (Ruthanna) Barnett Studio Director, Center for the Study of Force Majeure

Kelly Skye Graphic Design, Center for the Study of Force Majeure

Matthew Jamieson GIS Analyst, Center for the Study of Force Majeure

Jeff Brown Director, UC Berkeley - Central Sierra Field Research Stations (Sagehen)

Faerthen Felix Asst. Manager, UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station

Benny Fillmore P’isew ‘Mangal

Laura Fillmore P’isew ‘Mangal

Don Hittenmiller Co-Founder, Alpine Biomass Committee, Amador Calaveras Consensus Group

Amy Horne JD, PhD, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies - Contact

Vance RussellWildlands Climate Change Consultant

Two of the team at work

Others at work forthcoming..


Washoe Tribe Leaders and Teachers, Laura and Benny Fillmore

Laura and Benny Fillmore, Washoe Tribal Leaders based in the Tahoe Region

Laura and Benny Fillmore, Washoe Tribal Leaders based in the Tahoe Region

I'm working in my classroom with 8th graders to build a relatively large scale model of a forest watershed on a 4' x 8' in two parts x 10"-15" high terrain platform. It will have a portable bio-diesel plant and a logging crew of 10 with a low-impact camping set-up so they can work in the wilderness and leave nothing but footprints behind. We're using natural materials and recyclables to build it.

I planned this to generate their creativity around renewables and wood products and forest health, but also because these are students who are very active, who like working with their hands--they love our little "maker space" classroom and more of a challenge. If they can build something, they're engaged. One of my standards is meaning-making, so I am trying to frame this for them in a larger context.  It started out abysmally--I very nearly gave this up--and then I showed them this clip and instead of arguing about the idiocy of global climate change denial we looked at photographic evidence of the tree die-off and I got them going. This little video is worth a look, though, because they all wanted to know what climate change has to do with art. After they watched the video I asked, "Is that art?" and they literally, in unison, shouted, "Yes!"

Coolest part? Two of the brighter kids asked if they could apologize to me and it set the tone for us delving in! I can't wait to show them the link you sent yesterday on the wooden building today!

Here are some some artists at UNR that reflect our concerns:
Peter Goin's photography--he's UNR professor of photography, and an energetic and engaged teacher. He often collaborates with other scientists and writers-(check out his books page?):
There is also Winter Carrera, a Paiute video producer, who collaborated with UNR video instructor and cinematographer Mark Gandolfo, to make this film with red camera technology; very beautiful--at one point you realize that you can see the stars at dawn with this camera, when you definitely can't see that in real life. Their work can be seen here:

We might try to bring in my daughter Helen's students from last summer with their photography to do a critique: we have those images and there could be some reciprocity but mostly we make introductions to build communication and support for youth, art + education in student leaders.


Jeff Brown and Faerthen Felix have managed the UC Berkeley Sagehen Creek Field Station in partnership with the US Forest Service since 2001. Their work envisioning and coordinating the Sagehen Forest Project began shortly after their arrival, and expanded from pure research to ecology to management. Jeff also serves as the Director of the Central Sierra Field Research Stations, a suite of research properties that straddle the crest of the central Sierra Nevada. 

Vance Russell was the California Director for the National Forest Foundation. He has 30 year's experience working in community-based conservation, restoration, and biodiversity conservation projects. Prior to NFF, he was Director of Audubon California's Landowner Stewardship Program that restored habitat on farms and ranches in a manner compatible with existing agricultural operations. He is one of the founding members of the Wild Farm Alliance and currently serves on the organization's board of directors. Vance serves as the vice-chair on the board of Groundswell International. He co-authored Wild Harvest: Farming for Wildlife and Profitability, a publication that details the importance of conservation incentives for landowners. Vance also was a program officer at the Biodiversity Support Program at the World Wildlife. He received his Master's Degree in Natural Resources Management and Forest Science with a minor in Conservation and Sustainable Development from Cornell University in 1996 and Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the College of Wooster in 1987.

Laura Fillmore, M.ed., is an artist and activist from Kansas City, Missouri who currently teaches K-12 art and New Media at a rural public school in Smith Valley, Nevada. As a teaching artist, her recent performance work deals with the artists' response to the birth of nuclear technologies and the interstices between human beings and the landscape. She has been a community organizer on the east side of Kansas City, the southside of Chicago, and the flats in Oakland and Richmond. She founded and fundraised for four non-profit organizations in Nevada and California; including the Wilderness Arts Literacy Collaborative, Wa:šiw 'Itlu Gawgayay, Responsibility.Earth.Art.Learning, and P'isew Mangal. She's served on the boards of the Holland Project, the Great Basin Community Food Cooperative, and now The Force Majeure and P'isew Mangal.  She established Organic Paradise, a school-to-table lab garden, and helps with forest reclamation on allotment lands for ceremonies and fire reclamation. She's honored to be a student of the Wašiw elders who were speakers of the language, storytellers, botonists, and proud of her adult children and their families who are also speaking and teaching the language as young traditionals today.

Benny Fillmore was born in Placerville, California, and raised in Fallon, Nevada, born to a Nisenan father and Wa:šiw mother, he has always felt most at home at the top of the Sierras. He has been an elite firefighter as a Hobart Hot Shot, and made his living as a finish carpenter, well known for his "old world" craftsmanship. Benny served as a founder and board member of Wa:šiw 'itlu Gawgayay, 'In Washoe Speech, Speak', and is now, as a tribal member, was recently elected to the board of the Constitution Committee for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. He also serves on the boards of The Force Majeure and P'isew Mangal, 'Your Great-Grand-Relative's House', a non-profit dedicated to the renewal and sustainability of Wa:šiw culture and the homelands. He has, along with his eldest son, established three organic community gardens on two Wa:šiw reservations, including a raised-bed garden at the Dresslerville Senior Center for the Elders. A spiritual leader, Benny is called upon to assist The People often, and never hesitates. He is the proud parent of six children and grandfather to nine grandchildren.

Joshua Harrison is the co-director, with Newton and Helen Harrison of the Center for the Study of the Force Majeure.  Josh is an accomplished filmmaker, interactive producer and online educator. In 1977, he organized the first alternative energy fair in Southern California. He later served as policy director for the Ecology Center of Southern California, as well as serving as the youngest member of the California Democratic Central Committee. Josh was a Fulbright fellow in Argentina in 1995 and 1996, investigating the relationship between the author Jorge Luis Borges and the then emerging world-wide web. He is the co-founder and artistic director of the St Barth Film festival, which has been promoting Caribbean film and film culture since 1996. He currently directs the Learning and Performance division at Drury Design, designing and overseeing a broad range of learning programs for major corporate clients. A graduate of the University of California, San Diego, Josh has taught Media Literacy at Pratt Institute, The City University of New York and other institutions. 

Newton Harrison received his BFA and MFA from the Yale school of Art in 1965. He was a professor at UC San Diego from 1967-1993 when he took early retirement. He is presently a research professor at UC Santa Cruz and a founding director of the Center for the Study of the Force Majeure. He has collaborated with his wife Helen Mayer Harrison from 1970-2015 and is well recognized as one of the few generators of the genre called art and ecology or art and science. He has written extensively and been published in all major journals and many books. He has exhibited in museums and public venues in the United States and Europe, often being commissioned to do large-scale works by the European Union and diverse government agencies. Their work has shown at international venues such as the Venice Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennale and Documenta 8. For prizes, awards and commission see:

Kelly Skye received her MSc in Environmental Science form University of Oregon and her MFA in Digital Arts New Media from UC Santa Cruz. Previously she has worked professionally as a botanist and a landscape  ecologist with the Forest Service and Bureau of land Management (BLM). She is also a filmmaker and digital artist who has made several documentary films and interactive pieces focused on ecological issues and developing new forms of visual storytelling. To see her hybrid art-science work visit:

Amy Horne has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Juris Doctor degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has worked for Weyerhaeuser Corporation, the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, written a book about sustainable rural economic development, and served for 13 years as a Board Member of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Region.