Supportive homes and communities

The ‘father of Cascadia’ has mapped the woven depth and breadth of the bioregion

May 5th, 2015 | Posted by vimhsadmin in people first media

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pfr banner workingEvery place, as with every person, has its own story to tell. For “A place is a story that happens many times,” as the Oregon writer Kim Stafford reminds us. [Cascadia Institute]

David McCloskey is a long-time bioregionalist and the founder of the Cascadia Institute. He’s considered to be the “father of Cascadia” and was also the first to conceive of “Cascadia poetry.” David was in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, during the third Cascadia Poetry Festival, where he presented the latest version of his stunningly detailed and super-high resolution map of the Cascadia bioregion (see an earlier version below, right). In his presentation, McCloskey differentiated between what maps are and what they do — and said that great maps “see the face of the place in its fullness.” He spoke about how the house of Cascadia can become a home.

About the bioregion of Cascadia

The Cascadia Now website describes Cascadia as a unique coastal bioregion that defines the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, incorporating British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, parts of Idaho, southern Alaska and northern California. This area is in many ways geographically, culturally, economically and environmentally distinct from surrounding regions.

picture 621bCascadia is also a growing social and cultural movement. It is used to define a unique regional character found within the Pacific Northwest. The idea has since been adopted by a wide range of researchers who highlight the growing importance of regional growth management, environmental planning, economic cooperation, as well as disaster preparedness. Support for the idea also comes from institutions and businesses such as the Bullit Foundations ‘Cascadia Center’, the adoption of the Cascadia Megaregion by federal policy makers, and the tectonic Cascadia Subduction Zone. [Cascadia Now website]

A new map of Cascadia

David McCloskey writes the following on the website of Cascadia Institute: “For years I’ve dreamt of seeing our region as a whole. It’s taken years to get to know the land I love, thru direct immersion in the life of the larger place, as well as much research and study. But the long effort has been worth it!

“This new map shows a real place, not an abstract nor ideal space. The life of our bioregion has been obscured, split up by boundaries and separated into categories, the matrix dismembered. This map reveals something important that has long remained invisible—namely, the integrality of the bioregion we are calling “Cascadia.” This map provides a portrait of home….”

We “dive into the deep field” with David McCloskey.

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So, we begin with the place and its people—with the life of the place as a whole. Always start with the land! — David McCloskey

About Dr. David McCloskey, the “father of Cascadia”

David-McCloskey-e1403755855660Dr. David D. McCloskey is an Emeritus Professor of Seattle University. He taught in the Sociology/Anthropology Department as well as in the Ecological Studies program for over three decades (1971-2004). He served as chair of both departments, and co-founded Ecological Studies, having designed its curriculum. He created and taught more than one hundred different courses in ten different departments or programs throughout his tenure there.

A long-time bioregionalist who has spoken and written widely on the subject and Cascadia, he is the founder and director of the Cascadia Institute. He created the first maps of “The Ish River Country” (now officially the “Salish Sea”) and of Cascadia, the Ecoregions of Cascadia, as well as the soon to be published, “Bioregions of Western North America.” He is currently releasing new GIS-based small and large maps of the bioregion. He has been acknowledged as the “Father of Cascadia.” He delivered a keynote presentation on “Cascadia Geography: Place & Spirit” at the 2nd Cascadia Poetry Fest in Seattle recently.

Among other accomplishments, he is the first to conceive of “Cascadia Poetry” and to initiate a region-wide decades’ long search for its possibilities, editing an anthology, “Mountains, Rivers, Sea, and Sky.” David continues making new maps and is creating the new fields of “Bioregional Geography” and “Cascadia Geography.” Website:   Email:

The Cascadia Poetry Festival

The Cascadia Poetry Festival is an international event which seeks to bioregionally animate and culturally construct Cascadia by gathering writers, artists, scientists and activists to collaborate, discover and foster deeper connection between all inhabitants and the place itself. Over four days the fest features academic, democratic and performance components, late night readings, a small press fair and several workshops. Some of the best poetry minds in the bioregion gather, discuss this place and begin to better understand Cascadia and our role here. The festival was founded by SPLAB, a Seattle-based non-profit organization founded in 1993 and the first iteration happened in 2012. Cascadia III was held in Nanaimo, BC, in 2015.

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David McCloskey at Cascadia III in Nanaimo (Vancouver Island University) on Friday May 1, 2015

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