The 2018 Geography of Hope Conference explores the theme of “Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times” on Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18. During these fraught days of political upheaval, social turmoil, and environmental assaults, the conference shows ways to build emotional and spiritual resilience, using nature as a touchstone.

Since 2008, Geography of Hope conferences have become known for illuminating the relationship between people and the land, and for strengthening that bond through the compelling voices of writers, artists, and activists who offer both inspiration and calls to action.

Headlining the 2018 conference are: Peter Forbes, educator, writer, and cross-cultural facilitator in the fields of leadership development, conservation, and social justice. He is a former vice-president at the Trust for Public Land and founder of the Center for Whole Communities; Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro, the nation’s leading, cutting-edge network that celebrates and inspires African-American connections and leadership in nature; and Caleen Sisk, the Spiritual Leader and Tribal Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, who practice their traditional culture and ceremonies in their territory along the McCloud River watershed in Northern California.

On Saturday, March 17, the presenters will share their experience and perspectives on ways to find hope, healing, and strength in a troubled world. Attendees will have opportunities to exchange ideas, write, and reflect.  

On Saturday evening, David Worm, a founding member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra and a regular performer with McFerrin, leads conference goers in a post-dinner round of exuberant vocal improvisation.

On Sunday morning, March 18, participants take part in land-based restoration and an environmental service project. They will be joined by Peter Wohlleben, bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World.

Beginning March 3, The Atlas of Decivilization—a Toby’s Feed Barn Gallery show inspired by the Geography of Hope Conference—will feature the works of more than 20 contemporary artists. Additional installations will be sited throughout Point Reyes Station.

Purchase Tickets

$175/per person


• Saturday panels with Peter Forbes, Rue Mapp, and Caleen Sisk

• Saturday lunch & dinner featuring delicious locally sourced food & drink

• Saturday evening program with vocal improvisationalist David Worm

• Sunday morning restoration project with author Peter Wohlleben

Scholarships: We hope to encourage a conversation among people of diverse occupations, ages, experiences, races, and ethnicities. To assist those who otherwise could not afford to attend, we offer a limited number of partial scholarships for people from 18­­–30 years of age. These scholarships are available for young people ages 18–30 only. Please note: These are partial scholarships. All recipients are asked to contribute a minimum of $50. (Full cost of the conference is $175.) Applications will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis until February 19, 2018. To apply, please complete a scholarship application. If you are awarded a scholarship, you will be invited to complete a conference registration form.

Ticket Refund Policy: We offer a refund less $50 for cancellations made prior to and including March 1, 2018. No refunds will be given on cancellations made after March 1, 2018.

Volunteer All volunteer positions have been filled.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering. Due to an overwhelming response, all volunteer positions have now been filled. This conference always sells out, so be sure to purchase your ticket early if you still plan to attend.

West Marin Accommodations
There are many lodging options in coastal West Marin in nearby Inverness, Olema, Marshall, Point Reyes National Seashore, and in Point Reyes Station itself. Click here for a brief list of accommodations.

Our Sponsors
The Geography of Hope Conference is presented by Black Mountain Circle and co-sponsored by Point Reyes Books, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the U.S. Forest Service.


Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times  Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times         Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times              Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times



Media Sponsors:

 Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times     Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times     Finding Resilience in Nature in Perilous Times



Founded in 2008 as a literary conference inspired by the iconic Western writer Wallace Stegner, the six Geography of Hope (GOH) gatherings that followed explored profound relationships between people and the land as expressed in the voices and writings of the renowned poets, novelists, nonfiction authors, journalists, and activists who headlined the events.

GOH 2018 Throughout the Year

The 2018 Geography of Hope Conference begins a year-long exploration including events, field trips, and opportunities that engage with the topic of finding resilience in nature. Conference sponsor Black Mountain Circle is a nonprofit organization that cultivates resilience, community, and earth stewardship in challenging times.

Related Event

After the 2018 Geography of Hope Conference has concluded, Point Reyes Books will host Peter Wohlleben at 1 PM Sunday afternoon, March 18, at the Dance Palace Community Center in Point Reyes Station. Wohlleben will present his latest book, The Inner Life of Animals, which follows his hugely successful bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees. Please note: Tickets for this special afternoon event are $25 and must be purchased separately from conference tickets. Tickets are available at or in the bookstore. This is a benefit for Black Mountain Circle and is expected to sell out. 

About our logo

The Brown Pelican is a comically elegant bird with an oversized bill, sinuous neck, and big, dark body. They are fairly common today—an excellent example of a species’ recovery from pesticide pollution that once placed them at the brink of extinction. Squadrons glide above the surf along southern and western coasts, rising and falling in a graceful echo of the waves. They feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun small fish before scooping them up.                                          The Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Peter Forbes

Peter Forbes is an educator, writer, and cross-cultural facilitator whose work is influential in the fields of leadership development, conservation, and social justice. A vice-president of Trust for Public Land, and the founder of Center for Whole Communities, Peter helps people and organizations in need of reconciliation have conversations that matter and transform their relationships to each other and to place.


Peter has collaborated directly with hundreds of communities and organizations across our country, and he’s the author or photographer of seven books about people’s relationship to place. His books include: Healing And Repairing—Re-imagining Conservation From Where Our Lives IntersectA Man Apart: Bill Coperthwaite’s Radical Experiment in LivingComing to Land in a Troubled World (co-author); and The Great Remembering—Further Thoughts on Land, Soul and Society.

Read more about Peter

Rue Mapp

Rue Mapp is the Founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, a national nonprofit organization with offices in Oakland, CA, and Washington, D.C. Rue oversees a carefully selected and trained national volunteer leadership team of 62 men and women who represent 26 states around the US, and shares opportunities to build a broader community and leadership in nature. Her important work has generated widespread national recognition and support.


Since Outdoor Afro’s inception in 2009 as a blog, Rue has captured the attention and support of millions through a multi-media approach that is grounded in personal connections and community organizing. From its grassroots beginning, Outdoor Afro now enjoys national sponsorship and is recognized by major organizations for its role in addressing the ongoing need for greater diversity in the outdoors.


Rue’s work has also been recognized with numerous awards and distinctions, including: The Root 100 as one of the most influential African Americans in the country (2012 and 2016), Outdoor Industry Inspiration Award, National Wildlife Federation Communication award (received alongside President Bill Clinton) and Family Circle Magazine selected Rue as one of America’s 20 Most Influential Moms. She is proud to serve on the Outdoor Industry Association board. In 2014, Rue was appointed to the California State Parks Commission by Governor Jerry Brown.


A graduate of UC Berkeley (with a Degree in Art History), Rue’s skills and background make her a unique voice via the leadership and programs she has instituted through OA, enlightening a diverse community to the wonders and benefits of the outdoors. Rue resides in Oakland, CA and is the proud mother of three active teenage children.

Read more about Rue

Caleen Sisk

Caleen Sisk is the Spiritual Leader and Tribal Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, who practice their traditional culture and ceremonies in their territory along the McCloud River watershed in Northern California.

Since assuming leadership responsibilities in 2000, Caleen has focused on maintaining the cultural and religious traditions of the Tribe, and has led the revitalization of the Winnemem’s H’up Chonas (or War Dance) and BaLas Chonas (Puberty Ceremony), which had not been practiced for decades. She advocates for California salmon restoration; healthy, undammed watersheds, and the human right to water. She has received international honors as a tireless sacred site protector, and currently leads the tribe’s resistance against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s proposal to raise Shasta Dam 18-feet and inundate or damage more than 40 sacred sites.

She is also currently leading her Tribe’s efforts to work with Maori and federal fish biologists to return wild Chinook salmon from New Zealand to the McCloud River.  In doing so, she advocates for the inclusion of traditional ecological knowledge in federal, state and local environmental research and planning.

Caleen is an internationally known speaker on traditional tribal and spiritual issues, having spoken on diverse topics such as spiritual medicine ways, the spirit of water, global warming, sacred sites protection and the responsibility of tribal people to honor their tribal lifeway.

Read more about Caleen

Peter Wohlleben

Peter Wohlleben spent more than 20 years working for the forestry commission in Germany before leaving to put his ideas of ecology into practice. He now runs an environmentally friendly woodland in Germany, where he is working for the return of primeval forests. He also runs a Nature Academy, the Waldakademie Hümmel, where he leads guided tours and seminars. He is the author of numerous books about nature, including The Hidden Life of Trees, a New York Times Bestseller, and The Inner Life of Animals.

Read more about Peter

David Worm

A native of Oakland California, David Worm was a founding member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra and has remained a regular performer with McFerrin, featured on recordings, videos, and touring internationally. Most recently, David performed with McFerrin at the San Francisco debut of McFerrin’s “Vocabularies” with the Pacific Mozart Ensemble.
David is also a founding member of the a cappella group, SoVoSo, an internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble which has released six albums and tours worldwide. Other current performing projects include touring and teaching in the innovative improvisational trio, WeBe3, where he teams up with vocal powerhouses Rhiannon and Joey Blake, collaborating with spoken word artist PC Munoz and his band Left Hook, and singing and performing with the Bay Area’s Miribai Ensemble.David has taught improvisational singing and vocal percussion at the Omega Institute in New York, The Esalen Institute in Big Sur California, and in schools and other places of learning throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Read more about David