OF THE MIND
TECH INSTRUMENT CENTER
TO BLACK MOUNTAIN
MAY UNLOCK MAD COW DISEASE
SPEECH WASN'T FREE
Voices rising in the West
By KATE CYWINSKI
Named for the flowering bulb inherent in the culture of the Salish and Kootenai tribes, Camas magazine is a growing voice of the West.
While many magazines fold as quickly as they begin, Camas, an environmental journal published by UM's environmental studies graduate students, has survived more than a decade.
Camas began as the brainchild of a group of students in the program with an interest in writing. Funding and support from the Environmental Studies Program (EVST) transformed their idea into the first issue.
Professor Tom Roy, EVST director, says the journal "is still here and getting stronger because of student interest. It's a real tribute to the students who have been involved."
Camas began as a venue for students with an interest in environmental writing to flex their creativity and publish their work.
It then progressed into a more substantial journal, combining the work of students and emerging writers with writings by established environmental authors such as Rick Bass, William Kittredge and Annick Smith.
"One of my first published pieces appeared in Camas," says EVST graduate student Ryan Newhouse. "One of Camas' strengths is that first-time writers appear in print beside well-established ones."
Camas also developed themes. In 1997 the Teller theme began with each fall issue featuring the two best essays produced through the Environmental Writing Institute at Teller Wildlife Refuge. Spring themes have included restoration, recreation, big sky and, most recently, spirituality in the environment.
"The theme or tone reflects what is happening politically in the region and in the program," says Tami Brunk, editor of the spring 2004 issue.
to journalistic or creative feature articles, Camas includes essays,
interviews and profiles, book reviews,
Camas has survived not only because its quality has continued to improve but also because "it has been successful in maintaining enthusiasm and support," says Phil Condon, EVST assistant professor and Camas faculty adviser.
Camas always has been primarily a student-driven journal. Thus, maintaining continuity with frequently changing editors is a struggle.
But just as Salish natives congregated to gather camas, people from a variety of backgrounds and interests play a role in Camas publications. While some people contribute writing, others offer photography and artwork, as well as editing and advertising skills.
editor Katharine Hyzy says, "One of the things I loved most
about being editor was the sense of intimacy I developed with each
essay, those stories and words centered my soul, stirred my passion
and inspired me to seek the
In the past two years, with support from Condon, students have taken steps to enhance Camas' visibility through a Web site and to make it self-sustaining.
Northern Lights Magazine stopped publishing, EVST purchased its mailing
list. More than
According to western author Terry Tempest Williams, "Camas is a testimonial to the raw, on-the-ground power that continues to rise out of Montana. I find the words of these students and other writers deeply inspiring. They carry our imagination forward in both idealism and longing, what all readers yearn to find."