Interspecies Communications

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The Interspecies Library

the writing and sound on this website

bird in the mirrorThis page provides easy navigation to the writing on this website. All of these essays originated in the Interspecies newsletter, now in its 30th year. Let us know, if you'd like email notification when a new issue is posted online. We publish every other month.

Many of these essays have appeared in the USA, Europe, and Japan in magazines including Orion, Utne Reader, The Sun, Resurgence, Omni, NewAge, E, Outside, BePal, Switch, Spuren, and Actuel. They have been published in at least twenty book-length anthologies as well. Do a keyword search to find a subject that interests you. Also notice .pdf versions of some of our more requested essays, for easy download and printing.

So what's here?


Discover how a slight shift in perception can transform a mountain stream into a musical instrument.


Learn how artists are playing with the most powerful forces in nature including desertification, animal migration, and the aurora...


Read how the language of language of activism sometimes hinders the change that activists seek.

pdfpdfwaveletThe Logic of Whale language: Interspecies is deeply involved in the process of how to test cetacean calls for language potential. We conduct this research only with wild animals, and always from the artist’s perspective.So we offer a radical departure from the controlling techniques developed by cognitive scientists whose work focuses exclusively on captive animals. ♬

two orcasPlaying Music with Orca: two part excerpt from The Charged Border by Jim Nollman (Henry Holt). A clear statement about what it means, and especially what it feels like, to play live music with wild orcas in the middle of the night from a boat, and through an underwater sound system. This is, perhaps, the best explanation you'll find anywhere, of interspecies communication. ♬

zebraArt for the Earth : Compiled from various newsletters. IC's own aesthetic calls attention to environmental issues in an elegant yet rather shocking manner. We encourage artists to consider creating new works that include natural processes in their manifestation. We sponsor as many "earth artists" as we can. Here's just three conceptual art projects you need to hear about.

grizzlyBear Ethics and Fly Aesthetics: from the Winter 2001 Newsletter, also A chapter in The Beluga Cafe, (Sierra Press, 2002) Do certain animals demonstrate a sense of ethics and or aesthetics? Maybe they do but we can no longer recognize it having educated ourselves to perceive them void of sentience. Here's a book excerpt about an expedition to the Canadian Arctic in which the author recognizes the bear as an ethical being, and a moose as an educator.

orcaspdfThe Cetacean Nation:Winter 1998 newsletter, this article has been reprinted in many places. ...The concept of a "cetacean nation" was the most visionary notion floated at a recent whale conference I attended at Hervey Bay Australia.

jim nollmanThe Sun Interview with Jim Nollman:From the Sun Magazine, written by Derrick Jensen, Fall 1998 Newsletter, Jim is the founder of, and has always been this organization's main philosophical force. Read this interview to learn how to play music with whales. And why you might like to do it yourself.

ikiWatching Dolphins Die. The Japanese dolphin drive fisheries have been in existence for 50 years, systematically annihilating all small cetaceans from the country's coastal waters. The first Westerner to make an effort to stop it was Dexter Cate. If you want to understand more about the Japanese fishermen who do this horrific deed, you might start here.

waveletWhales and Wavelets:In our unique work of bridging art, environment, and science, Interspecies has long been a major supporter and proponent of acoustic research to develop new methods for examining whale sounds for their communication potential. This work with wavelets, specifically by Mark Fischer, has recently been contracted out to the US Navy, in a program to protect whales during sonar testing.

pseudorcaInterspecies Music: By guest author David Rothenberg. Discusses how various well known composers have integrated animal sounds directly into their music, and more recent performers have actually played live, with animals seeking a genuine "interpecies music."

beluga hunt The Beluga Spiral: Compiled from several newsletters 1998-2000, Later appeared in Blue Wings, The magazine of Finnair. Riding shotgun in an old Volvo station wagon, heading through uninterrupted forest of birch, spruce, and alder. Noticing a road sign warning us to be on the lookout for moose crossing the highway, I compare the sway of these Finnish hills to northern Maine, only to be interrupted by Rauno...

beluga in iceBeluga Mythology: from the Interspecies Newsletter, 2006. Among other things, read about the monk, Adam of Bremen, who described Laplanders, in the year 1074 AD, communicating with whales via overtone singing. And learn of efforts to protect this same population of whales today. ♬

yellowjacketYellow Jacket Saints: Spring 1988 newsletter. Later appeared in Jim Nollman's book, Spiritual Ecology (Bantam, out-of-print). ...It's been a dry summer here, a dry year, a dry two years; the kind of weather that persuades the wasps to arrive, build their hives, and multiply. I am cutting a joint into a flat board with a spatula-shaped Japanese saw. The yellow jackets are attracted to the sweet smell of fir sawdust.

bisonFor the Seventh Generation: Spring 1990 newsletter. Later appeared in E Magazine.pdf Excerpted many places. Over the past ten years, the Iroquois concept of the seventh generation has transformed into an important symbol of the deep ecology movement.

gray whaleMakah Whaling: Winter 1999 Newsletter, This is a report that accompanied a powerpoint presentation Jim Nollman did for the Makah Tribal Council in Neah Bay, WA, at the height of the Makah controversy to initiate a new hunt for gray whales. The same report was later presented to a group of activists and US Marine Mammal officials during a meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

elephantpdfInterspecies Protocol: Summer 1991 Newsletter. Appeared in Nollman's book: The Man Who Talks to Whales (Sentient Press) ...There is a story told about the Bushmen. Their oral history recounted existing around a waterhole shared with lions, hyenas, leopards, elephants and Cape buffalo.

roar whale Nollman Newspaper Profile Summer 2000 Newsletter, A story from the Seattle PI daily, about Jim Nollman's speckled career of making music with whales. To quote: "The two-legged mammal lays down a 12-bar blues riff on electric guitar. The mammal with the dorsal fin weighs in with a whistling improvisation. The two-legged mammal changes key. The finned mammal follows, executing a plaintive high-pitched slide with deft timing."

seagullWhy Wash Birds? Winter 1992 newsletter. Later in Orion magazine for a theme issue: Animals of the Heart ...A friend of mine washes birds. Whenever an oil spill occurs in the Pacific Northwest, she quickly fixes an overnight pack and drives out to the coast to volunteer her services to clean the oil-soaked wildlife. Oil spills occur with increasing frequency these days, and her descriptions of these self-funded excursions sometimes sound as if she were an angel making an eco circuit of Hell.

cougarCougar Justice Fall 1992 Newsletter; subsequently published by New Age Journal (August 1993)...I had been ill, stole away from camp to spend most of the afternoon sleeping in the boat. Refreshed, I was rowing back to shore in the dinghy when I heard the first scream.

treeThe Sentient Garden Spring 1994 newsletter; later published in Jim Nollman's book Why We Garden (Holt 1994), and then by The Sun (September 1994)...The more I learn about my garden, the less objective I feel about it.

sperm whaleSex, Dolphins, and Rock & Roll: A report from a Canary island Pilot Whale project, 1994; Appeared in New Age Journal (June 1994) ...As a researcher who has spent the last twenty years communicating with animals through music, I've gotten used to fielding all sorts of queries from people who want to know exactly what it is I do.

belugaspdfWho Communicates: A cover story in Utne Reader (April 1998), also a chapter in The Charged Border by Jim Nollman (Holt 1999), ...For hundreds of years now, somewhere in the world, some mother has revealed to her child tucked in bed, the words Little Red Riding Hood exclaimed to the wolf in disguise: "Grandma what big ears you have!" By such mythical tales we teach our children that humans communicate with the animals.

ferns Not Touching Ferns Fall 1995 Newsletter. A report to help promote whalewatching as a viable economic alternative to coastal whaling. ...Having traveled to Japan many times over the past twenty years to promote living whales, the question everyone in the States always wants me to answer is whether or not the Japanese are showing any signs yet of getting out of whaling. The quick answer is "sort of". A better answer is offered in the following essay. It may surprise you.

ravens What The Raven Said Winter 1996 newsletter; Later in Nollman's book The Beluga Cafe....A raven glides in low off the plain, lands ten feet in front, walks right up to me. I sit up tall and stare. The bird pulls its head back but moves not an inch. I decide for no good reason that it's a male. He stands so close I might reach out and touch him, but i decide against it. He cocks his long beaked face this way and that as if trying to figure out the best way a bird whose eyes are arranged on each side of his head might stare directly into the eyes of a primate whose eyes are set on a flat plane.

movie\pdfWhat's Wrong with Nature Films?Fall 1998 newsletter. This essay has been excerpted at least twelve times in journals around the world. ...With the environmental agenda so packed with issues of crisis management, who has time to give much attention to a subject as abstruse as the aesthetics of the nature film? But it's important, because, after all, the nature film could be the most vibrant tool at our disposal for educating the general public, ideally reaching them before all those tough environmental issues ever reach the crisis stage.

blue whaleOn their Own Behalf An excerpt from Jim Nollman's book, The Charged Border, Where Whales and Humans Meet. (Holt 1999). ...No matter how luminous the whales and dolphins may appear to us today, it is the dark festering topic of whaling that dominates our historical relationship with cetaceans. Until a mere thirty years ago, human beings were involved in a mass slaughter of whales that left several species at the brink of extinction, a precipice from which several of them have never fully recovered.

cowpie ZeroCircles Fall 1998 newsletter. authored by Daniel Dancer, describing his Interspecies-sponsored Earth Art project manifested in 50 U.S. National Forests. For more info go either to our art projects page, ...Art has always nudged society in one direction or another, sometimes functioning as a catalyst for radical change, other times merely supporting the status quo. Human drives run very deep, and to change them we must create new stories and do meaningful art about our relationship to the land.


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Music with Wolves
Music with Turkeys
Music with Dolphins
Music with Orcas