Our Story

Our Story

purple lily flower

In 1987, economist and poet Franz Dolp purchased a 40-acre parcel of clear-cut land along Shotpouch Creek in Oregon’s Coast Range. “To love a place is not enough,” he wrote. “We must find ways to heal it.” And so he went about seeding trees to replant what he called a baby old-growth forest. Over the next 15 years, Dolp and his wife, Dawn, planted some 13,000 trees. He built a beautiful cedar cabin on the banks of the Shotpouch Creek where he dreamt of hosting writers and artists so they, too, could be inspired by the rehabilitated forest as they created work exploring the relationship of humans and the land.

Propelled by the embodied understanding of our responsibility to act in response to environmental devastation, Dolp sparked a friendship with environmental writer and OSU professor of philosophy Kathleen Dean Moore. In 2002, Dolp and Moore stood at the spring that fed Shotpouch Creek, toasted a glass of fresh water and founded the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word, meant to bring together thinkers from many disciplines and backgrounds to question what it means to be in relationship with the Earth.

Following Dolp’s untimely death in 2004, Moore continued directing the Spring Creek Project until she stepped down in 2010 to write full time about the moral urgency of the climate crisis. The organization was then led by Charles Goodrich, from 2010 until 2016, and since has been led by current director Carly Lettero.

Since its founding in 2002, the Spring Creek Project has designed programs that seek to envision and inspire just and joyous relationships with the planet and with each other. It has supported writers, artists, and other creative thinkers with more than a thousand residency experiences ranging from one night to one month. It has supported OSU students with campus programs, residencies, and fellowships. And it has hosted hundreds of public events and programs, including gatherings, lecture series, film screenings, author readings, a podcast and even an international human rights tribunal.

Among its many activities, Spring Creek Project continues to host residencies and other programs year-round at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek, helping to fulfill Dolp’s vision. 

The Spring Creek Project joined the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts in 2022. At this new home at OSU, we look forward to deepening our impact on campus, in the community, and in the world.

Shotpouch Cabin at Night

Spring Creek Project's First Gathering at Mount St. Helens

Spring Creek Project co-founder Franz Dolp at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek.

Spring Creek Project provides internship and residency opportunities for OSU graduate students. Here, our 2015 interns work on the Campus Wild program between classes.

During four residencies at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) composed the “Heart of the Forest” wind symphony.

Spring Creek Project hosts writing workshops in and around Corvallis.

Spring Creek Project hosts many kinds of events, including symposia. Carolyn Finney, Rob Nixon and Suzana Almanza were speakers at the symposium “Transformation without Apocalypse: How to Live Well on an Altered Planet.”

In 2018, Spring Creek Project co-hosted the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Human Rights and Fracking. Since 1979 the Tribunal has held nearly 50 sessions and this was the first time one was hosted online.

Annual Reports