Press Release | November 1, 2011

17th Annual Nature Writing Contest Now Underway

SELC welcomes three outstanding conservationists to judges panel

The Southern Environmental Law Center is now accepting submissions for the annual Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment.  The award seeks to enhance public awareness of the value and vulnerability of the region’s natural heritage by giving special recognition to writers who most effectively tell the stories about the South’s environment.

SELC is delighted to welcome three outstanding conservationists to the judges panel this year. Bruz Clark is president and treasurer of the Chattanooga-based Lyndhurst Foundation and has been a leading environmental philanthropist in the South for many years.  Silas House is an award-winning author of such books as The Coal Tattoo and co-author of Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal, and is associate professor of Appalachian Studies at Berea College. Paul Sloan is former Deputy Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and a  founding board member of Cumberland Region Tomorrow.

SELC’s annual Reed Environmental Writing Award has two categories: Book, for non-fiction books (not self-published), and Journalism, for newspaper, magazine writing, and online writing that is published by a recognized institution (e.g., newspaper, university or non-profit organization) and is journalistic in nature.  Prizes of $1,000 are awarded to the winner in each category; winners will be publicly announced at SELC’s special event during the Virginia Festival of the Book on March 24, 2012.

  • All submissions must have been published during calendar year 2011, and  must be received by January 13, 2012.  Nominations can be made by anyone, including the author or publisher.
  • Submissions must relate to the natural environment in at least one of the following states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia.
  • Send 16 copies to Reed Award, SELC, 201 W. Main Street, Ste. 14, Charlottesville, VA  22902. Submissions cannot be returned.  Include at least one copy in original format for proof of publication. Journalism entries must be at least 3,000 words; please provide a CD or email the text to [email protected] to verify word length.
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  • Please forward and post this announcement (pdf version)

We wish to thank our esteemed panel of judges for this year’s contest:

Joel K. Bourne, Jr. – Contributing writer and former Senior Editor for the Environment at National Geographic; winner of Outstanding Explanatory Journalism award from Society of Environmental Journalists.

Bruz Clark – President and treasurer of the Chattanooga-based Lyndhurst Foundation, Director of its Environmental Grantmaking Program; member of the Society for Conservation Biology, Consultative Group on Biological Diversity, Land Trust Alliance, Southeastern Council of Foundations, and Timber Frame Guild.

Jim Detjen – Director, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, Michigan State University; founding president of Society of Environmental Journalists; former award-winning reporter for Philadelphia Inquirer.

Hannah Fries – Associate Editor and Poetry Editor of Orion magazine, winner of the 2010 Independent Press Award for General Excellence; board member of The Frost Place (New Hampshire); her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals.

Nikki Giovanni – Grammy-nominated poet, activist and author of more than two dozen books including essay collections, illustrated children’s books, and poetry, most recently Bicycles: Love Poems; University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.

Silas House – Author of The Coal Tattoo and Eli the Good, co-author of Something’s Rising; contributor to numerous publications including Oxford American and New York Times; multiple award winner including Kentucky Novel of the Year and Chaffin Prize for Literature; Interim Director, Loyal Jones Appalachian Center; Associate Professor of Appalachian Studies, Berea College.

Janet Lembke – Author of Because the Cat Purrs: How We Relate to Other Species and Why It Matters, and almost 20 other nature books; poems and essays have appeared in Audubon, Southern Review, and The New York Times Book Review.

Bill McKibben – Author of Deep Economy, The End of Nature and several other books, most recently Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet; contributor to The New Yorker, Orion, The Atlantic Monthly and other publications; co-founder “,” an international climate campaign; scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College.

Deaderick Montague – Civic leader, teacher and writer; guiding inspiration behind creation of the Reed Environmental Writing Award; Vice President of SELC Board of Trustees.

Janisse Ray – Poet, activist, teacher and award-winning author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and three other books of literary non-fiction, including the 2011 Drifting into Darien: A Personal & Natural History of the Altamaha River, and a book of poems, House of Branches; founding board member of Altamaha Riverkeeper; Reed Award winner in 2000.

Charles Seabrook – Former veteran environmental reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; author of Cumberland Island and The World of the Salt Marsh, forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press in April 2010; Reed Award winner in 1998.

Paul Sloan – Former Deputy Commissioner Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; founder Partners in Conservation; co-founder Little Planet Publishing; founding board member Cumberland Region Tomorrow.

Donovan Webster – Author of several books, including most recently Ship of Death: The Voyage that Changed the Course of the World; former senior editor of Outside magazine; a contributor to New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, National Geographic and Smithsonian.

The award is named in memory of SELC founding trustee Phillip D. Reed, a talented attorney and committed environmental activist who helped guide our organization through the early years before his untimely death in 1993.

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.