Speaker Series 2022

Thor Hanson

June 11, 1 pm

Shaw Island Community Building

In Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid, Thor Hanson explores the remarkable ways that plants and animals are responding to climate change: moving, adapting, and even evolving. A story of hope, resilience, and risk, sure to be remembered as the defining natural history of an unnatural time.

Hanson is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Switzer Environmental Fellow, and an independent conservation biologist. In addition to his writing, he consults for conservation groups and government agencies, and is a sought-after public speaker. Hanson co-hosted the PBS Nature series American Spring Live, and has appeared as a guest on programs ranging from NPR’s Fresh Air to On Point, Science Friday, The World, The Splendid Table, and Book Lust with Nancy Pearl. Hanson is the author of Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid, Buzz, The Triumph of Seeds, Feathers, and The Impenetrable Forest, as well as the illustrated children’s favorite, Bartholomew Quill.

Kristine Tompkins

July 23, 11 am – 1 pm

Shaw Island Library and Historical Society, Back Lawn

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins is the president and co-founder of Tompkins Conservation, an American conservationist, a UN Patron of Protected Areas and former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. For nearly thirty years, she has committed her career to protecting and restoring Chile and Argentina’s wild beauty and biodiversity by creating national parks, restoring wildlife, inspiring activism, and fostering economic vitality as a result of conservation. Having protected over 14 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina through Tompkins Conservation and its partners, Kristine and Douglas Tompkins, her late husband who died in 2015, are considered some of the most successful national park-oriented philanthropists in history. Kristine will speak about her foundations efforts to “re-wild” public lands in Patagonia.

Local Food Communities

An interactive conversation

August 13, 1 – 3 pm

Shaw Island Community Building

Gigi Berardi, Shaw resident and author of Food Wise, Branden Born (UW Professor, specialist in Food System Transformation), and Ken Meter, author of Building Community Food Webs, will each bring their passion and knowledge about creating healthy food systems in the tastiest event you’ll attend this year. The event will feature plenty of uber-local, sustainably-grown treats made from Old Copper Farm produce as well as three short talks and a panel discussion.


What Strange Paradise, by Omar El Akkad

Read the book and then come listen to the author in discussion with Louis Whitford, September 17, 4 pm,at Andy Thomas and Caryn Buck’s elegantly restored barn, 252 Shady Lane 

Praise for What Strange Paradise
One of the best books of the year for the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR — Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize; Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize

From the widely-acclaimed bestselling author of American War, this is a beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving novel that looks at the global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child.

“Told from the point of view of two children, on the ground and at sea, the story so astutely unpacks the us-versus-them dynamics of our divided world that it deserves to be an instant classic… This extraordinary book carries a message, not of a trite and clichéd hope, but of a greater universal humanism, the terrifying idea that, ultimately, there are no special distinctions among us, that in fact we are all very much in the same boat.” — New York Times Book Review

The library has two print copies of What Strange Paradise on its shelves, and the book is available — in ebook and audiobook formats — through the Washington Anytime Library.