Fishtrap’s Governing Board of Directors is composed of Wallowa County residents and others who have collectively contributed thousands of hours of volunteer time to make Fishtrap work. They meet six times a year as a whole board; each board member serves on two committees as well. We also have an Advisory Board that consults as needed and meets once a year.
I began my career with rivers at the age of eight, hopping from boulder to boulder over the headwater currents of the Colorado that ran behind my mother’s cabin. At the age of nine I cast a caddis fly into the tail-out of a pool on the Encampment River with my father, hooking a small rainbow trout. College found me paddling a canoe on the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers of Montana.
After following the western slope of the Continental Divide to Idaho, Eastern Oregon and Alaska, I settled in the Rogue Basin for graduate school. While attending Southern Oregon University I came to understand the issues of salmon, population growth, water shortages and the competing interests for the life of rivers. However, it really wasn’t until I began to explore the Upper Klamath Basin, the Deschutes and now the Grande Ronde that I realized I was drifting in currents I had always been meant to follow.
From the start, I have recognized and mostly accepted a dichotomy of passion stirring both personal and professional matters of my life- namely an attraction to both the poetry of place, people and possibilities, as well as a resident faith in the logic of science and biological inquiry. While every good scientist should read poetry and every poet be versed in the laws of nature such that the confluence of the two explains the unexplainable while revealing new, unexplored currents of mystery, it is not yet a confluence that I have fully nor successfully negotiated.
For all intents and purposes, I moved to Wallowa County in 2012 to pursue my career in natural resources and to work with The Freshwater Trust on water related issues. There is a science to this work, sometimes as simple as acknowledging that water, when acted upon by gravity, flows downhill. Yet what I discover more each day, is that without poetry it is impossible to completely comprehend what is meant by observations such as “the Chinook return when the snows fall in July.” One cannot possibly be tasked with restoring broken landscapes and successfully navigate the intricacies of that task holding only a single oar of science. We must balance our logic and laws with compassion and interconnection, discovering that seam between the two that will carry us downstream towards deeper, more generative and creative understandings.
I am happy to reside in a habitat that nurtures both science and poetry. I believe that Fishtrap is very much a part of that habitat.
Pat Wade – Secretary
Wallowa Lake became part of Pat’s life at an early age. Her grandparents, who lived in Lewiston, Idaho where she also was born, bought a cabin at the lake when she was six. Growing up she enjoyed horseback riding, hiking, swimming and water skiing at the lake, and roller-skating at the old dance hall in the evenings. At the University of Oregon she met her husband, Tom, who was born in Enterprise with similar
historical roots. In 1973 during the “back to the land movement,” she and Tom came back to the County to construct a cabin on part of Tom’s grandfather’s homestead. They lived there for five years, raising two children in the cabin.
They spent twenty-five years in Forest Grove where they both had teaching careers. During that time they adopted an infant son from India. Upon retirement they moved back to Wallowa County.
Today Pat works part time with the County Library delivering to seniors and those that cannot easily access library materials. She finds contentment and renewal working in the garden. Flowers are her favorite but planting vegetables and processing the harvest are also satisfying. She enjoys taking hikes with her dogs up mountain trails and studying voice with a former opera singer, performing with the valley chorale.
Pat came to Fishtrap through the book club that meets there monthly. “Books like Omnivores Dilemma have enlightened my understanding of how we get our food and the importance of healthy eating.” As she looks to this summer’s gathering she is “excited to be the newest member on the board discovering the rich history Fishtrap has established as one of the great treasures of the Wallowas.”
Pat would like to commune with others who grew up on peanut butter, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches.
Rose Caslar grew up in Wallowa County and in Fishtrap. It was her two summer workshops with Kim Stafford that led her to Lewis and Clark College, in Portland, OR, where she majored in English.
During her college summers, she worked for the Forest Service and various outfitters in Hell’s Canyon and the Eagle Cap Wilderness. After college, she indulged her dream to see autumn in the Rockies and moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She spent six years as a free-lance riding instructor, horse trainer, sleigh driver, packer, and skier.
During Colorado’s “mud season,” she spent time in Kansas foxhunting, and converted to English riding, also known as “those flat pancake saddles.” In 2009, she returned to Wallowa County to be closer to her family and began working for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a sportsmen’s nonprofit focused on conservation of quality habitat, wild lands, and traditional hunting opportunities. She still rides and trains, specializing in Iberian horses and classical dressage. She is also an avid yogi and teaches Pilates. She is very happy to be part of Fishtrap again, an organization that gave her so much as a teenager. Rose just completed a one year program in the art of dressage in Pennsylvania. She returned to Wallowa County and to Fishtrap in August 2014.
Elizabeth grew up in Seattle but is a fourth generation Oregonian on her father’s side. She spent her childhood camping, scuba diving, mushroom hunting and birdwatching around Puget Sound. She graduated from the University of Washington and went on to earn a PhD in cultural anthropology at Stanford University.
Originally interested in researching pastoralism in East Africa, Elizabeth followed love to India and then the plains of Nepal where she married into a Brahman family and gave birth to her son. Inspired by her mother-in-law, she worked alongside village women as they organized for change.
She lived in Nepal for three years between 1987 and 1994 and then returned home to the Pacific Northwest. She’s worked as a teacher (high school and college), non-profit administrator and grantwriter. Since 2007, she’s devoted more time to writing, especially her memoir: While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal (Seal Press, Fall 2014). Her creative nonfiction and poetry appear in The Gettysburg Review, Crab Orchard Review, The High Desert Journal, The Raven Chronicles, Opium Magazine and In Posse Review. She has received an Honorable Mention for the Pushcart Prize and a Notable for Best American Essays and been awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the Oregon Arts Commission and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarship in Non-Fiction to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
She and her current partner, Jerry, fell in love with Wallowa County during a rained out backpacking trip in the Eagle Cap in the summer of 2006. The following year, they bought an old farm in the North End of the county. Since then, they’ve been living in a yurt while they build a straw bale house. They grow much of their own food and raise garlic and pastured red wattle pigs for local sale. They recently introduced three spoiled yak heifers to the farm and will probably spend many years figuring out what to do with them.
Elizabeth occasionally serves as a graduate mentor for Masters and PhD students in Prescott College’s low-residency programs in Arizona. She joined the Fishtrap Board in 2013 and is especially excited about being involved in programming.
Tom Hampson is the first Fishtrap board member to serve from out of the county, but he is no stranger. Tom and his wife Woesha first came to eastern Oregon in 1969 when Tom was a fire guard in the Blue Mountains. Tom is from southern Oregon, Woesha from northern California. They graduated from Stanford the following year and came back, this time to Halfway. Tom worked trails and fought fire in the Wallowas. Woesha worked at Pine Eagle High School.
From Halfway they hit all the big spots in eastern Oregon–Cove, La Grande, Umatilla Indian Reservation, Pilot Rock, and finally Pendleton before moving to Portland in 1988. Tom worked in planning, economic development, small business, and non-profit management. (Tom did early organizational development work for The Wallowa Band Homeland Project and Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts among many non-profit organizations.) Woesha has been an educator for more than 40 years and is retired.
Tom first found Fishtrap in 1998. “I discovered that not only could I write, but that I had something to say. I’ve seen that happen over and over with people who have found their way to Fishtrap.” Tom and Woesha, a Winnebago/Chippewa, a poet and photographer, have been regulars at the Imnaha Writers’ Retreat since it began. They brought their grandchildren to the Summerf Fishtrap Gathering of Writers in 2011 and 2012.
“Fishtrap, like the country and its people, embraces and challenges you–to measure yourself and to match and mix your experiences and spirit with the people and the country. Fishtrap inspires conversations and writing about our individual and collective search and celebration of identity. You come away enriched and you leave a little bit of yourself there.”
Tom writes non-fiction, poetry, essays; is a musician, and a songwriter. He is currently working on a novel, Casino Coyote. He wrote the scripts for the multi-media exhibits at Tamastslikt
Cultural Institute, and a film, Beyond the Impasse, for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He is the principle author of the Indianpreneurship® Starting and Growing a Business in Indian Country–a series of how-to business books for ONABEN, the non-profit Native business development organization he headed between 2000 in 2012. He is co-creator with Marv Ross and Thomas Morning Owl of the musical Ghosts of Celilo. His music is all mixed up. “Imagine John Prine in Havana, sitting on a bench smoking a cigar talking to John Lennon about Indians.”
Born in Portland, Oregon, Jennifer spent most family vacations in Wallowa County, where her parents (and one grandparent) grew up. The family moved to a small farm near Mt. Rainier in 1974; taking on long commutes to Seattle and Puyallup. The youngest of three children by several years, Jennifer spent her time reading, playing piano, dancing to a vast collection of vinyls, swinging in their big Locust tree and rambling fields, forest, and garden. She started writing nature poetry in the third grade and found her way to both the newsroom and green room in high school.
Her love of language, music, and biology eventually led her to University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, and then to a job at Microsoft, writing and speccing media elements for the physical science section of a multimedia encyclopedia in 1991. After working in content management for several years, she put her career on hold to take a yearlong trip around the world with her new husband. They volunteered on the restoration of a medieval village in France, hiked in the Himalayas, camped in Africa, dove the warm waters of Thailand, and fell in love with New Zealand along the way, coming home with a firm intent of finding a farm and a more balanced lifestyle.
A long search brought them back to the incredible light and beauty of Wallowa County in 1999, where they discovered a gently deteriorating place along the Lostine River that they are ever so slowly reclaiming. High-tech gradually yielded to a mix of renovation projects, trout farming, co-managing two businesses, raising three boys, and working in journalism on the side. Jennifer is currently writing her second adaptation and score for MidValley Theatre Company (the first was Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”), and started writing grants last year. She also enjoys cooking, photography, choreography, playing music, running, and dabbling in short films. Jennifer has participated in several Fishtrap events over the years, and attended her first Summer Workshop with her two oldest boys this year. She is strongly committed to keeping the arts alive and well in the community and delighted at the opportunity to work with Fishtrap.
Kathy was born in 1944 in Portland, and grew up in Beaverton, Oregon. Her Scottish great-grandfather was a pharmacist who built the stone building that is now the tavern in Lostine. After visits to Wallowa County as a child, Kathy left her heart here.
In 1975 she moved with her husband Duncan Hunter and two small children to Kodiak, Alaska and began a career in writing. She worked as a journalist, editor, teacher and advertising salesperson through moves to Fairbanks and finally Palmer, Alaska, where she pioneered a college course called Writing Your Life Story.
In Beaverton, she won a state acting award. In Kodiak she was women’s arm wrestling champ, and numerous awards followed for her writing and editing skills. Her stint as editor of Alaska Today magazine and a self-published book on a historical ship (Tracking the Bear) received both state and national awards from the National Federation of Press Women.
After the move back to her beloved Wallowa Valley in 1997 her husband commented, “I don’t think there will be enough culture for you here.” But there was Fishtrap. And so, still today, Kathy says, “Because of Fishtrap there is more culture in Wallowa County than one person can consume.”
With the encouragement of Fishtrap Education Programs Coordinator Amy Minato, Kathy discovered a new career in storytelling—the field a logical combination of her talents in music, theater, and writing. Amy was the impetus for her first CD, Why the Skunk Stinks, followed by ROWF! And Four Greek Tales. On Amy’s departure, Kathy inherited production of the radio show Fishtrap Storytime, airing weekly Nov-March on local radio station KWVR.
To recharge her batteries, she heads for the wild or serves as a den mom at the Fishtrap Imnaha Writers’ Retreat. It takes the solitude of the wilderness to turn off all those other voices in her head, so she can hear her own. Does she sound crazy? Well, maybe.
Culture, a new career, writing support, great friends. Crazy for all things Fishtrap!
“Almost a local,” Elizabeth was born down the road in La Grande and spent part of her growing-up summers in Wallowa County. During summer break from Oregon State in 1971, she worked here, cleaning the Wallowa Lake Lodge for $1/hour plus meals. College took her to U. of Alaska in Fairbanks, where she jumped out of an airplane “at midnight in day-and-moon light.” After teaching in Portland for awhile, she moved to Wallowa County, met her future husband Brian, had a daughter, Megan, and never looked back. Elizabeth taught English for 25 years in Enterprise and has recently retired.
“Retired” isn’t accurate, however, because she now gives her considerable energies fulltime to Fishtrap. Elizabeth has been a board member off-and-on for 20 years, has been The Big Read coordinator for five years, a past board president, chair of uncountable committees, champion envelope licker, and the one who always raises her hand to volunteer. She got started when Rich W. got her a summer job at Billy Meadows in 1972, and talked about his vision for a writer’s conference.
Elizabeth takes in as much music as possible—Brian plays in two bands—and she never misses the local Bronze, Blues & Brews Festival in August. She hopes to do some traveling soon, “maybe Africa”. Lately she’s been reading literature set in that continent: Cutting for Stone, Kaffir Boy and Little Bee, among others.
Her vision for Fishtrap? – “As a non-writer,” she says, “promoting good reading through our community events is essential. Fishtrap must continue its partnerships with local and regional schools. What else could a retired English teacher say?”