Hanson is the author of “The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda.” The memoir chronicles his two-year stint as a Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park, where he developed a gorilla-tourist program. The park is home to nearly half the world’s mountain gorilla population. Hanson lived in a remote village working with the locals to develop a nascent gorilla tracking program in an attempt to save one of the world’s most magnificent endangered species. His book offers a glimpse into the world of mountain gorillas and the African cultures that surround them.
Hanson’s presentation incorporates stories, pictures, music and other sounds of the region along with excerpts from his memoir. A portion of the sale of his book will go toward helping to protect gorillas in the wild.
An early interest in the natural world steered Hanson toward a career in conservation biology. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands, his master’s from the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Program, and his doctorate in a joint program through the University of Idaho and the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, Costa Rica.
Hanson’s research and conservation work have taken him to countries around the world, including Kenya, Tanzania, Australia and Costa Rica. He has authored dozens of natural science and popular articles, and was a contributing writer to “Wilderness Comes Home: Re-wilding the Northeast.” He is a Switzer Environmental Fellow, a member of the Human Ecosystems Study Group at the University of Idaho, and an independent conservation biologist based on San Juan Island. He has received research grants from the Organization for Tropical Studies, the DeVlieg Foundation and the National Science Foundation’s IGERT Program, among others.
The reading is free and open to the public. The event is sponsored by the Linfield English Department and Friends of Nicholson Library. For more information, call Susan Barnes Whyte, college librarian, at 503-883-2517.