Ecological engagement is about attending to the possibilities of dwelling in a place; skunkwork is a way of orienting this dwelling. Skunkwork refers to creative, self-coordinated, collective work in informal spaces of learning and reminds us that ecologically attuned work in the world can promote unexpected, yet collectively desired, change. In this essay, we describe how we used skunkwork to orient our ecological engagement in two workshops on ‘community resilience.’ In both workshops, Boulder Creek became our commonplace, with its history of flooding and abatements as well as one city’s planning and management of crisis and sustainability. We draw from our respective home ecologies and our collective experiences in these workshops to highlight how four attributes of skunkwork and ecological engagement, namely proximity, movement, ecological narration, and weak theory, contribute to community engagement scholarship and advocacy.

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Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning

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© 2016, John Ackerman, Caroline Gottschalk Druschke, Bridie McGreavy, & Leah Sprain.


This is an article published in Reflections: A Journal of Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric in 2016, available online.