Renowned author and environmentalist Terry Tempest Williams to speak at Piedmont Environmental Council 50th anniversary celebration, May 21

RAPIDAN, VA. (May 2, 2022) –  On Saturday, May 21, at 2:45 p.m., internationally renowned author, environmentalist and activist Terry Tempest Williams will share her perspective on conservation, restoration and generational change in her keynote address, “The Open Space of Democracy,” as part of The Piedmont Environmental Council’s annual meeting celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary. Williams is currently the writer-in-residence at Harvard Divinity School, as well as a naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech who has consistently demonstrated how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice.


Titled “The Land That Sustains Us,” PEC’s 50th anniversary celebration event aptly takes place at Mistwood, a stunning conserved property along the Rapidan River in Orange County. A catered lunch consisting of a locally-sourced tasting menu precedes Williams’ talk at 12:30. Guests can learn more about “The Land that Sustains Us” and buy tickets ($30/person) at Additionally, for those interested, beginning at 11:15 a.m., two concurrent morning workshops will be offered: one on a regional initiative to stem the decline of grassland birds (Piedmont Grassland Bird Initiative), and one on PEC’s bold steps to catalyze landscape-scale conservation in the Upper Rappahannock River watershed.

Terry Tempest Williams is perhaps best known for the environmental literature classic, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, a testament to loss and the earth’s healing grace. Her most recent book, The Moon Is Behind Us, is an intimate correspondence of letters and photographs between Williams and photographer Fazal Sheikh, considered two leading political artists at a time of crisis. Williams’ The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks, published during the centennial of the National Park Service, was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association 2016 Reading the West Book Award.

Williams’ other books include Red: Patience and Passion in the Desert, 2001; An Unspoken Hunger (Pantheon, 1994); Desert Quartet: An Erotic Landscape (Pantheon, 1995); Coyote’s Canyon (Gibbs M. Smith, 1989); and Pieces of White Shell: A Journey to Navajoland (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1984). She is also the author of two children’s books: The Secret Language of Snow (Sierra Club/Pantheon, 1984); and Between Cattails (Little Brown, 1985). Her writings have also appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Orion Magazine, and numerous anthologies worldwide as a crucial voice for ecological consciousness and social change.

Since 1972, The Piedmont Environmental Council has proudly promoted and protected the natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont. PEC empowers residents to protect what makes the Piedmont a wonderful place, and works with citizens to conserve land, improve air and water quality and build thriving communities. PEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and accredited land trust. Learn more at