ranae hanson

My roots are in the northeastern wilderness watersheds of Minnesota and in the headwaters of the Mississippi where I was born. Prairie grasses and native flowers fill my St. Paul yard. I explore with others ways to protect and delight in all our watersheds.

I was born into a community of story-tellers; stories have been a way to explore, discover, comfort, and embolden. We know that the waters have stories. What I learned from the wilderness woods and waters, I have tried to pass on to others. What I have learned from the stories my students and others have offered to me has enriched my world and understanding.

After getting a BA in literature and writing and then a PhD in cross-cultural education, I taught writing and global studies at Minneapolis College for 31 years. Since becoming Type 1 diabetic, I’ve discovered ways that personal body troubles can parallel ecosystem distress and help us rise to the challenge of both.

I work for ecological justice and effective responses to climate trauma with my family, my students, my local Transition Town, Minnesota 350.org, Quaker communities – just about anyone who is willing to collaborate with me.

In Spring 2021 a book I have written, Watershed: Attending to Body and Earth in Distress, was published by the University of Minnesota Press.


Artist Residency, Hinge Arts, Springboard for the Arts, Fergus Fall, MN, May 2021

Writing Residency, Mesa Refuge, Point Reyes, CA, March 2018


  • Watershed: Attending to Body and Earth in Distress – University of Minnesota Press, May, 2021
  • “The creek under your street”Park Bugle Newspaper – May, 2021
  • “Unearned White Privilege”Park Bugle Newspaper – Sept., 2020
  • “Dreaming Toward the 49th Generation” – Firelight, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light – Feb., 2020
  • How Does Your Watershed Flow?” – Park Bugle Newspaper – March, 2020
  • “Listening Circles” – Dark Mountain, 17 – Spring, 2020
  • A model farm restores land to health” – Park Bugle Newspaper – Sept., 2019
  • “Biological Means to Remove Sulphur” – Hometown Focus Newspaper – Sept., 2013 & 2018
  • Minneapolis Friends Meeting website: “Bravery and Balm” and “Also Joy” – 2013 – 2016
  • Star Tribune Commentary: “PolyMet proposal: The complexity of it all” – Feb. 1, 2014
  • Three Profiles for White Iron Chain of Lakes newsletter – 2013 – 2014
  • Earlier Publications:
    – “Mothers and Aunts; Women of the 1920s in Polk County, Minnesota”; Out of the Earth, Like Iron, Iron Range Documentation Project
    – “Mulford; Quiet Teacher with a Red Tie” (Minnesota Historical Society)
    – “A Young Girl’s Move to Babbitt in 1959” (Minnesota Historical Society)
    – “Speaking in Many Tongues” (Loft Center for Writers)