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. Even 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, will be published by the University of Minnesota Press.


  • “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)