The Great Salt Lake oral history project is part of the Everett L. Cooley oral history project, ACCN 0814.
- Bonnie K. Baxter
Baxter is a professor of biology at Westminster College in Salt Lake City and the director of the Great Salt Lake Institute. Fascinated by science from a young age, she pursued work in genetics and DNA. Her interest has always been in liberal arts education, which is how she found Westminster College and in turn began her relationship with Great Salt Lake. She studies halophiles (salt loving bacteria) and works with people of widely divergent backgrounds who are also interested in the Lake. Through the Great Salt Lake Institute she has encouraged interdisciplinary relationships between people all over the world. Dr. Baxter discusses her work with the Lake at some length, and shares her favorite areas. She also emphasizes the importance of interaction with the ecosystem and believes strongly that children need to be involved with that interaction.
Daisy Jenks interviewed Mrs. Cesspooch, whose replies were interpreted by Jason Cuch. Topics include an incident where soldiers gave $50 to some Indians, soldiers at target practice, the death and burial of soldiers, and discussion of a group of White Rivers led by a man named "Moon."
- Ben Folsom and Maura Hahnenberger
Ben is a tree climber in Salt Lake City and owns his own business. He's done some tree climbing competitions but rock climbing is his real passion. The two sports are intertwined though--one prepares him for the other. Ben likes to do his climbs in a traditional style, using as little fixed gear as possible. He says that there are different rules and etiquette in different locations and also there are lots of different types of rock and they should be climbed in different ways. When he establishes a new route he says he wants to do it right and will sometimes take weeks to complete it. Maura is currently getting her doctorate in meteorology at the University of Utah with a focus in mountain meteorology and forecasting. She's very interested in the Salt Lake Valley temperature inversion and pollution episodes. Ben and Maura have done a lot of first ascents and established new routes, primarily in the state of Utah. They have both had some pretty close calls while climbing, but love it so much that they say it's worth it.
- Andrea Heidinger
Andrea was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but spent her childhood in Salt Lake City, Utah. In high school she was aware of the poor air quality in the valley and started to bike to school, "Inversions are natural, but what the inversions trapped, the smog and pollution, was not." Her classes and teachers at Judge Memorial High School were instrumental in her environmental mindset. She has worked for both the Parks Service and the Forest Service at the Grand Canyon. Andrea is very knowledgeable about multiuse issues and working with various shareholders in public lands. She went to graduate school for art at the University of Idaho and decided then that she is a post-consumer artifacts artist, meaning nothing was thrown away. She believes that art should be assessable and benign to the environment, there's a lot of waste that comes out of art. She started teaching environmental education at Red Butte Garden and has been incorporating that into her art. Andrea and her husband also started the Eat Local Challenge here in Utah. Currently she is working at the Green Building Center, the host of a lot of workshops for the layperson on green living.
- Allison Jones
Jones is a conservation biologist with the Wild Utah Project. She was born in California to "a couple of hippies," and recalls hiking and camping with her family in various national parks. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Nevada, Reno, as a student of Environmental Studies. Among topics discussed are the animal rights movement, the impact of grazing, the Utah Wolf Conservation Management Plan, the Utah Black Bear Management Plan, the process of agreements between environmentalists and ranchers, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and the Utah/Nevada Snake River Valley Water Agreement.
- Ashley Patterson
Ashley Patterson grew up in Yakima, Washington. Her parents were from the midwest, but they moved west and took advantage of the resources for outdoor amusement. Ashley grew up knowing the benefits of the outdoors. Her parents were also very environmentally conscious and passed that along to their daughter. She feels a strong connection to the west. She went to college in the east and took an environmental history course and decided she wanted to be involved with environmental issues in her career. After a brief stint in the book fair business, she decided to put her environmental studies background to use. She took a class on solar panels and discovered a love of building green homes and shelters. While visiting friends in Portland, she came across a green building supply business and decided that was what she wanted to do in Salt Lake, so she started the Green Building Center. Ashley describes becoming a green business owner and navigating the local business scene as well as the local environmentalist scene. Mostly, she does things her own way, though, and doesn't participate very often in business organizations or green events. Her concerns as a business owner are not only to be green, but to also be conscious of social justice issues behind the products she buys and sells. It's important to her to know where the products are coming from, what's in the products, and who's making them. She talks about opening a second store in Park City, and the difference between customers there compared to customers in Salt Lake City, who seem to be on more of a budget. Ashley also discusses her involvement with Wasatch Community Gardens. She took a class there, saw a class being taught for children, and realized how important the work they're doing is.
- Anne Yeagle
Yeagle (b. 1962) was born in Utah and attended Westminster College. She started climbing with friends while attending graduate school at the University of Utah. She had an ex-boyfriend who climbed, and her brother was in a climbing accident when he was young, so she had a bad association with the sport for quite a while. She thinks there is a climbing culture that consists of "innies" and "outies," and that it can be very hard to be accepted, especially as a woman. She's not sure if the male dominance and ego have changed over the years or if she's just gotten older and wiser about who she surrounds herself with. She knows a lot of people who are judgmental towards her for being an older woman climber who still climbs hard, because most give up by her age. Anne speaks about the importance of finding a good climbing partner and how you have to want and help them to succeed. The relationship with your belayer is an intimate one. There are too many climbers out there who don't want you to succeed because they want to be better than you. When the ego is involved in climbing you find yourself only enjoying the successes, rather than the other all experience. She found that sometimes her succeeding as a climber put a strain on her relationship with her husband, who was also her climbing partner and sometimes she'd find herself purposefully failing. She has put up a lot of routes, especially in the Swell and a remote backpacking location in Wyoming. Mentors are very important in introducing people, especially new types of people, to the sport. She had mentors which encouraged her. She thinks that is how the sport should access minorities, it's not just an economic barrier. She wishes the climbing community had a mentoring program to encourage minority kids to start.
- Jaimi Butler
Butler works for the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College. She began her career working for the Berryman Institure of Wildlife Damage Management, studying eared grebes at the Great Salt Lake. There she was first introduced to the spiders at the marina, and began to study the interconnected nature of mercury acculumations of the food chain at the Great Salt Lake. Butler then worked for the Utah Strategic Alliance, which is part of the brine shrimp industry, and helped study the stability of the brine shrimp population. Her current work at the Great Salt Lake Institute consists of outreach and community partnerships, as well as stewardship for the Spiral Jetty in the northern part of the lake.
- Ashley Kijowski
Kijowski, aquatics research scientist for the Utah Division of Natural Resources, was born in St. Charles, Illinois and grew up recreating in northern Wisconsin. After taking a bachelor’s in biology at Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal, she worked as lab coordinator for the University of South Dakota’s dragonfly lab and then pursued a master’s degree in aquatic ecology at South Dakota. Following a short stint on a National Science Foundation grant at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, she moved to Utah to take up her current position at DNR. Kijowski’s work focuses on brine shrimp and she spends a great deal of time on the Great Salt Lake collecting data. She discusses her work and finishes by sharing her feeling that the Great Salt Lake is an underappreciated part of Utah’s landscape.
- Terry Tempest Williams
Williams talks about her family’s history in Utah and growing up near Great Salt Lake. She describes developing an interest in nature at an early age. Mrs. Tempest Williams discusses her self-education, her mentors, and her time as a student at the University of Utah. She talks about her work with the Utah Museum of Natural History and her career as an educator. Mrs. Tempest Williams talks about the process of writing her book Refuge. She also discusses her involvement with the University of Utah’s Environmental Studies Program. Finally, Mrs. Tempest Williams describes some of her favorite places and memories of Great Salt Lake.
- Ellen Labotka
Labotka (b. 1968) was born and raised in Riverside, Illinois. She graduated from Utah State University in Recreational Resource Management. She has worked as a ranger for the Utah State Parks department for more than twenty years.
Ellen talks about her early interest in the outdoors and how she got involved with the Parks department. She tells about her time spent at Starvation Reservoir, Jordanelle State Park, Antelope Island State Park and Willard Bay State Park, including her duties and responsibilities.
She relates favorite stories about her time at Antelope Island and reveals her favorite spots on the island, and closes the interview with her feelings about the lake and its value.
- Tiff Jackson
Jackson is a Utah native, born and raised in Bountiful. She grew up with a perfect view of the Great Salt Lake from her east bench childhood home. Her family spent time horseback riding on Antelope Island and swimming on the south shore of the lake.
She took her first sailing trip on the lake in the early 2000s and joined the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club the same year. She became involved with the club leadership first as the social director and then was elected Commodore in November 2013.
Tiff talks about the history and purpose of the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club, the activities of the club, and her involvement with the group. She relates personal experiences she’s had on the lake along with favorite locations and memories.
- Genevieve Atwood and Don Mabey
Genevieve Atwood and Don Mabey discuss their involvement with Great Salt Lake. They talk about their early experiences with the lake and when and why they became interested in it. Each describes their educational training and interests in science. Atwood discusses her career with the Utah Geological Survey, her contribution to several boards involved with Great Salt Lake, and her time in the Utah State Legislature. She describes many of the lake’s important historical and geographical features and the lake’s processes. She talks about her involvement in the management of the lake. Don talks about his work helping manage and plan for Great Salt Lake. Atwood discusses the high lake level times and many of the plans to control the lake level. In the second interview, Genevieve Atwood talks about the causeway and its effects on Great Salt Lake. She discusses the high lake level years. She describes the map of Great Salt Lake that she, Don Mabey, and Don Currey designed and produced. Atwood talks about leaving the UGS and her time in the legislature. She talks about the management of Great Salt Lake. She details the educational work she does with teachers and students about and at Great Salt Lake. Don and Genevieve talk about their favorite places and experiences at Great Salt Lake.
Loe is an artist, writer, and teacher who draws her inspiration from the land. Born and raised on the east coast, Loe moved to Utah in the early 80’s. In the 70’s, Loe received her undergraduate degree in Art History from Penn State, and later received her master’s in Art History from Hunter College in New York City. Loe master’s thesis, An Intermittent Illusion: Local Reaction to Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, sparked her lifetime involvement with Robert Smithson’s work, and with land art in Utah. Currently, Loe works as a professor at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, as well as with CLUI (Center for Land Use Interpretation) and the Dia Art Foundation. Loe speaks at length about her involvement with the Spiral Jetty, as well as with Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, and about her interpretation of Utah land and beauty.