Fall Line South Field Institute Co-Founders

Catherine Meeks

Catherine Meeks photoCatherine Meeks grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and spent twelve summers falling in love with the Southern landscape as a camper and counselor at Camp Marymount in Fairview, TN. She earned her BA in English at Berry College in Rome, GA, and spent her sophomore year of college in Ireland, as a student at the University of Limerick and a volunteer through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. She moved to Missoula, Montana after finishing college, where she earned an MS in Environmental Studies, with an emphasis in Environmental Writing, from the University of Montana.

All the while that she was in Montana, she felt pulled back to the South, and she returned in 2008 (with a brief interlude in Saint Louis, MO, to teach writing at Washington University). From 2008-2013, she taught rhetoric, scientific writing, and literature at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she won multiple teaching awards as a Lecturer in the English Department. In 2011, she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training to become a certified Yoga Alliance instructor. From 2012-2014, she was Creative Writing Instructor for the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s summer Field Study in Creative Writing in Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. She is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction writing in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, where she was the 2013-2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation fellow.  She lives in Tallahassee, FL – a part of the South she is excited to explore! – with her husband Alex and her dog Seamus.

Jesslyn Shields
jesslynGrowing up in Georgia was an unremarkable experience for Jesslyn.  In fact, she went away to college thinking she’d never come back.  She spent most of her college career outdoors, taking field courses all over the American West through Wild Rockies Field Institute (WRFI) and Prescott College, where she graduated in 2000.

But after graduating from college, she got “stuck” in Georgia. It happens; but sometimes you get stuck right where you need to be. She got a job as a field technician in a stream ecology lab at the University of Georgia, which necessitated driving all over Georgia’s back roads, poking around in the hidden streams of her home state. And that’s how she fell in love with her home: seeing the places that nobody ever notices.

Eventually, Jesslyn went back to school to earn her Master’s in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana, this time with a plan to return to Georgia and do what she could to help this special place. Since moving back  in 2006, she has worked for Georgia River Network, a statewide nonprofit that advocates for clean water in our state, and as a freelance science writer.  Jesslyn lives in Athens, GA with her husband and 5-year-old daughter, and enjoys yoga, archery, writing, her grandmother, laughing, and walking around outside.  She doesn’t actually know the dog in this picture of her.

Summer 2017 Instructor Bios Coming Soon!

Past Course Instructors

Mary Freeman

Mary Freeman is a research scientist who studies the ecology of freshwater fishes and invertebrates, mostly in southeastern rivers but with occasional forays to the New World tropics.  Mary grew up in Athens GA intent upon becoming a veterinarian, until at age 19 she fell under the spell of biological diversity – most particularly of dragonflies and darters.  After earning degrees in biology, entomology and forest resources, she landed employment that allows her to spend her days thinking about how plants and animals respond to environmental change.  Mary’s passions include introducing others (and particularly those who think they don’t care a thing about a fish) to the astounding biological diversity that lives just below the surface of our creeks and rivers.

Jules Buck Jones

headshotJules Buck Jones is a practicing artist living and working in Austin, TX.  Jules grew up in Virginia, earning his BFA from VCU in Richmond, VA in 2005 and receiving his MFA from UT Austin in 2008.  Jules shows extensively throughout TX with solo shows in Dallas, Austin, and Houston.  Jules is president of the non-profit project space, MASS Gallery and is a member of the collaborative installation group Boozefox.  He has attended residencies in Everglades National Park, Vermont Studio Center, and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has participated in the 2009 and 2013 TX Biennial and was highlighted at the Houston Contemporary Art Fair in 2012. Over the years Jules has developed a body of work dealing primarily with animal imagery and thoughts on biology, ecology, mythology, and transformation.

Richard Milligan

Richard on Ocmulgee

Richard Milligan is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Georgia and founding member of the Georgia River Survey, an independent organization that has undertaken ecological surveys by canoe of several rivers in the state. He has been a frequent contributor to Flagpole Magazine and recently published an essay on 18th-century natural history and travel writing in Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature, and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada. In addition to volunteering for the South River Watershed Alliance, Georgia River Network, and Upper Oconee Watershed Network, Richard organizes with the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition and Freedom University to address injustices for immigrant communities in Georgia. His dissertation on the Altamaha River System draws upon literary-historical analysis of William Bartram’s Travels, studies of contemporary artistic and literary renditions of the Altamaha, and participatory research with several conservation groups in this basin.

Bryan Nuse

bln_pic4Bryan is an ecologist with deep and abiding interests in the natural environments of the southeast.  He is currently completing his PhD at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, at the University of Georgia in Athens.  His dissertation work has included a study of the effects of flooding upon bird distributions in river-associated wetlands in Georgia, and an effort to predict the effects of sea level rise upon bird communities on the Georgia coast.  Bryan is beginning a job as a postdoctoral researcher (also in the Warnell School), building population models for Gopher Tortoises in Georgia. His personal naturalist hero is  Charles H. Wharton  and his favorite field snack is a bagel with peanut butter, prunes, and Sriracha.


Clara Nibbelink

600048_10151351128020856_1727814338_nClara graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014 with degrees in Human Geography and Women and Media Production, the latter of which she made up all by herself and was lucky enough to call a real major. She’s worked in a bookstore, on the set of a movie, in a fabrication studio, as a live model, and for UGA Costa Rica where she got to film a guy in a dog costume zip-lining through the cloud forest. She is an artist-comedienne-activist with an obsession with the natural world. Her favorite tree is a tulip poplar because DUH and her favorite perching bird is the tufted titmouse for the sound it makes–deeter deeter! Clara got to go on her own river odyssey down the Colorado River as part of Northern Arizona University’s Grand Canyon Semester in 2012, and she is delighted to be re-creating the experience as Fall Line South 2017’s gear mama, amateur human geographer, and in-house Instagrammer.