Professor of Environmental Studies
The complex layering of natural and cultural histories that creates what is experienced as "sense of place"; intersections of cultural identity and environmental awareness, thought, and activism; images and ideas of natural landscapes in the American West
A teacher, earth scientist, writer, photographer, and pilot, Lauret Savoy is also a woman of mixed African-American, Native American, and Euro-American heritage. Her courses consider how braided strands of human history and geologic-natural history contribute to the stories we tell of the land's origin and history, and to stories we tell of ourselves in the land and of relational identity. In each course, Savoy challenges students to examine their assumptions about the world. In 2003, she was a recipient of the College's Distinguished Teaching Award. The previous year, Savoy was selected by the Class of 2002 as a Baccalaureate speaker.
Savoy's column appears in the on-line journal Terrain.org as "A Stone's Throw." In her book, The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, 2011, co-edited with Alison Hawthorne Deming) provocative essays weave diverse experiences of place to create a larger and more textured cloth than the largely monochromatic tradition of American nature writing or of the mainstream environmental movement. Booklist has called this book an "unprecedented and invaluable collection." Savoy also co-edited Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology (Trinity University Press, 2006 with Eldridge and Judy Moores), which the Wall Street Journal picked as one of its five best science books. In addition, she is co-author of Living with the Changing California Coast (University of California Press, 2005) with Gary Griggs and Kiki Patsch. Savoy also worked with the University Press of New England to re-issue Alien Land (E. P. Dutton, 1949), the long out-of-print novel on “Negro passing” written by her father Willard Wilson Savoy.
Read about her books, Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology and Living with the Changing California Coast, as well as her father’s reprinted novel, Alien Land in the April 2006 Dean of Faculty Report.
Savoy served for two years as the director of Mount Holyoke's Center for the Environment, and she is on the board of directors of the Center for Whole Communities.
- "Early African-American workers in DC were more than silent witnesses" The Christian Monitor, September 13, 2013
- "Lauret Savoy Joins Board of National Parks Group," National Parks Conservation Association, August 27, 2013
- "Professor and Alumna Discuss New Book," Office of Communications, December 13, 2011
- "Lauret Savoy on the Colors of Nature," interview on "To the Best of Our Knowledge," National Public Radio, November 6, 2011
- "Desegregating Nature," Terrain.org, Spring/Summer 2011
- "Bedrock: Coming to a Language of the Earth," Terrain.org, Fall/Winter 2010
- "Winter Leaves," Terrain.org, Spring/Summer 2010
- "The View from Point Sublime," Terrain.org, Fall/Winter 2009
- "MHC's Savoy on Culture and the Environment," Georgia Review, April 10, 2009
- "Placing Washington, D.C., before the Inauguration," Terrain.org,Winter/Spring 2009
- "She's Back! Lauret Savoy Returns to MHC," Office of Communications, January 30, 2009
- "The Future of Environmental Essay," Terrain.org, July 21, 2008
- "MHC's Lauret Savoy to Read at Odyssey Dec. 4," Odyssey Bookshop, November 21, 2006
"Flood of Ideas at MHC's Quabbin Panel," Office of Communications, October 2, 2006
- "MHC Prof's Book Makes WSJ "Five Best" List," Office of Communications, August 4, 2006
- "MHC Innovation Fund Grant Winners Announced," Office of Communications, May 1, 2006
- "Professors Benfey, Cobb, Nicholson, and Savoy Honored with Faculty Awards," College Street Journal, April 25, 2003
- "CD Featuring Lauret Savoy Tells Girls about Women Scientists," College Street Journal, December 13, 2006