Founder & Members of the Board
River of Words judge, advisor, and co-founder, Bob is the author of several books of poems, including Field Guide (1973), Praise (1979), Human Wishes (1989), and Sun Under Wood: New Poems (1996); and a collection of essays, Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (1984). His poetry collection Time and Materials (2007) won the National Book Award for poetry and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. His awards include the Yale Younger Poets Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for criticism in 1984, an Award of Merit from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. Bob served from 1995 to 1997 as Poet Laureate of the United States and as consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress and as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007. He is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College, and is a Distinguished Professor in Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Joe Wright is a third-generation graduate of SMC and practiced law in the Bay Area for many years. Bob Hass, CEL's co-founder, introduced Joe to CEL's mission several years ago. For over three decades, Joe has served as the vice president and trustee of a Bay Area private charitable foundation. He and Lisa, his wife, reside in Walnut Creek and have two adult sons.
David Wood has worked for more than 25 years as an English teacher at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, currently serving as department chair. He received a Distinguished Teacher award from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington in 2002. He was a member of the board of the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley from 1998 to 2007, and served as Board President from 1999 to 2001. Wood is also a director of the Wood Foundation of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and a Master of Arts in teaching (MAT) in English education from the University of Chicago.
Brett Morris received a B.S. in Political Economy of Natural Resources from the University of California, Berkeley, and a J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He currently serves as a Supervising Deputy Attorney General in the California Attorney General’s Office. Mr. Morris has provided extensive environmental law enforcement education to investigators and regulators, and has spoken in Russia and in Mexico on the enforcement of endangered species laws. Mr. Morris also previously held an appointment as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of California assigned to the investigation and prosecution of environmental criminal matters, and he previously prosecuted environmental violations for the Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project, a unique program created by the California District Attorneys Association. He has served as a board member of numerous non-profit organizations such as Urban Creeks Council, and has served for more than two decades on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ Fish and Wildlife Advisory Committee.
CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY
Cat Taylor serves as a consultant for the Center for Environmental Literacy and is head of the team for the annual River of Words Competition. She received her BA in Communication with an emphasis in Digitial Media and Marketing from Arizona State University and currently works as the Director of Marketing for Insight Assessment. After graduation, she worked at the Kalmanovitz School of Education for two years as the Content and Design Specialist before changing roles. Now she works part-time for the Center for Environmental Literacy. She has been serving as the lead for the River of Words Competition for the past two years. Cat has been a lifestyle and wedding photographer for 7 years and has traveled internationally for her work.
CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY FELLOW
Sarah Ray graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in teaching in 2011. After raising kids, teaching, running a tutoring business, and writing poetry in her spare time, she is thrilled to be working at the Center for Environmental Literacy. She is a current MFA candidate with a focus in poetry here at Saint Mary’s. Her other hobbies include gardening, bird watching, and looking up the etymology of words.