Linda Russo.

Walking along the soggy banks of the Palouse River near Pullman, Washington, Linda Russo an assistant professor of English, listened to the squish of mud under her feet and felt the cool wetness seep into her shoes. As the water rose around her heels and toes, her mind was flooded with thoughts about the past, present and future of the riverfront and other “wild edge” spaces.

“Almost 11 years ago, I went down to the muddy Palouse riverbank and my feet sunk in, setting a course,” Russo said about the genesis of EcoArts on the Palouse, her newest community project which brings together environmental history, ecology and creative expression.

“EcoArts on the Palouse invites the community to engage in exploration, discussion and discovery of the Palouse’s wild edge spaces by calling out the details in the languages of environmental science and different creative and healing arts to see what image of the landscape emerges and what new connections might arise,” she said.

A similarly collaborative, cross-disciplinary current runs through Russo’s other teaching and outreach activities. The projects allow her to reach students inside and outside the humanities and to help them engage with complex, challenging ideas.

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