This is a sampling of words heard from/written by incarcerated partners who create, improve, and study SPP programs. You may also hear from them in some of our posted videos.

Ambrosia Riche studies prairie plants growing in a seed nursery. Photo by Ricky Osborne.

“I thought [nature] had nothing to do with me, aside from the fact that I could look at the sunrise or walk through a forest. I didn’t realize that humans are in fact a very large part of nature. I didn’t realize nature and science was something so tangible.”

Ambrosia Riche, SPP prairie conservation nursery technician

“You just can’t imagine how big of an impact working with nature and studying the environment has on people who spend most of their days inside concrete cages.”

Juan Carlos Hernandez, SPP composting technician

“There is an overwhelming satisfaction in knowing that we are contributing to our environment’s recovery.”

Susan Christopher, SPP butterfly technician
Students raise their hands during a workshop facilitated by Long Live the Kings. Photo by Ricky Osborne.

“We can’t say what the problem is without being part of the solution.”

Student of the Environmental Workshop Series.

“Chuck Henry, a renowned scientist, he came in here and was totally blown away by our black soldier flies. Remember the first day he came in: ‘Man, I’ve been trying to raise these things for years. How do you guys do it? These are crazy big numbers.’ We’ve had international scientists come in and say that what we’re doing is really authentic and ground breaking. It’s pretty awesome to be able to do that inside a prison.”  

Nick Hacheney, compost program co-founder

“The thing is, I’m a beekeeper. I’ll be a beekeeper in the real world. I’ll be a beekeeper for the rest of my life.”

Chuck Roark, Journeyman Beekeeper
Beekeepers at Airway Heights Corrections Center pose with their hives. Photo courtesy of Kay Heinrich.

“After all the injustices that I have brought upon my community, it is an honor to give back positively in any way.”

Michael Linear, Roots of Success graduate

“I have left the house of scholars. Too long I have sat hungry at their table…I have not been hungry at your table.”

Roots of Success Instructor Grady Mitchell paraphrased Nietzsche to thanks his students.
Instructor Grady Mitchell (center) poses with a class of Roots of Success graduates. Photo by Joslyn Rose Trivett.

“For me, science education hasn’t been just the pathway to a better understanding of the world I live in. It has also been the catalyst that has driven me to academic and humane maturity. It has deepened my compassion for my fellow man. It has spurred me to want more for myself and my planet, and to be more than just the number that is used to identify me. I am no longer an apathetic, uninformed criminal with no perspective and no future. I am no longer just DOC #756060. I am a global citizen who knows now that he understands little, and who seeks to understand much. Thanks to the availability of science education here in prison, I am not just a better student, but a better human.”

Richard Kirkham, Workshop Series student, Roots of Success graduate, Beginner Beekeeper

“It feels really good. We can give back to the community and feel good about it. Plus, we know that the younger generation is learning on computers we built.”

Computers 4 Kids technician at Airway Heights Corrections Center

“Never in my life—and I am 60 years old—I never in my life wanted to get up and go to work until I got this job.”

Teddy bear program founder at Washington State Penitentiary‘s Sustainable Practices Lab, while sewing teddy bears from reclaimed fabric
Sustainable Practices Lab leaders share insights with SPP-Evergreen’s Joslyn Rose Trivett. Photo by Ricky Osborne.

Articles by incarcerated & previously incarcerated authors


Turtle Release Day for Cedar Creek

What is the goal for tomorrow?

Learning about gentleness from honeybees

Letter from a graduate: Centralia College Horticulture Program at Cedar Creek Corrections Center


Susan Christopher reflects on her experience raising endangered butterflies in prison

Out on the Farm

UW & Prison Study Soil Health

Trying to Find a Balance: The Emergent Vegetated Mats (EVM) Project

Standing in the gap for each other: Environmental wisdom from Roots of Success

Recognizing a world-class program

Turtles plus woodpeckers plus…

Biological Science Technician at Cedar Creek speaks about his time with SPP

Let yourself germinate


New Biological Science Technician Position, and One of the Newest is Feeling Thankful

Letter from one of the Roots Master Trainers

Finding Elysium

What growing sagebrush means to me

Roots of Success Gains Momentum at Airway Heights

Cedar Creek Turtle Release 2017

Excellent Student and Teacher


The Bridge to Evergreen (formerly incarcerated)

A Master of Training

Turtle 4176’s Release

Adding Salt to Popcorn: Gaining a taste for sustainability

Just Sustainability and Restorative Justice

Accountability: Brainstorming article

Healing people and the environment

Reaching the Unreachable

Sustainability & Justice

In Service to the Earth

Tales of Transformation

SPP Internship on Reentry (formerly incarcerated)

Larch’s First Turtle Release: A Technician’s Response

A Technician’s Experience in a Room Full of Frog Scientists

No More Phones

Roots of Success Graduation Speech – Larch Corrections Center


From Poop to Employment: Jonathan Jones-Thomas shares his experience returning to prison as a guest lecturer (formerly incarcerated)

Roots of Success Graduation Speech

Cedar Creek Gardens

The Effects of Believing

The Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Program Releases Another Butterfly

Working with the Oregon Spotted Frog


Each One, Teach One

“Hard Time Café”

2014 and earlier

A Convicts Redemption

The Smell of Hope

Worm Farm Wisdom

Conservation and Service from a Member of the Prairie Crew

WCCW’s Science & Sustainability Lecture Series: An Inmate’s Perspective

“Root View”: My Experience as a new Roots of Success Instructor

Inmate perspective on a prison garden project

Perspectives from an Inmate Service Dog Trainer at Cedar Creek Corrections Center

Composting and the Prison Experience

Stormwater presentation at WCCW: Inmate blog

Inmate Frog Technicians Experiment with Cricket Rearing

December Butterfly Update

The Women’s Village: A Source of Change for Incarcerated Women