Since Dr. Payne began teaching at SUNY College at Oneonta in the fall 2001 semester he has created several new courses including creative writing workshops in screenwriting and creative non-fiction, and courses in American and environmental literature such as Hawthorne and Melville, Environmental Literature, Rachel Carson, and The River as Metaphor and Reality. Prior to teaching at SUNY Oneonta, Dr. Payne earned a J.D. at Albany Law School, and his experience as a practicing attorney included service as Counsel to the New York State Senate Transportation Committee. He then completed his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo, where his dissertation was a multidisciplinary study of American Nature Writing and Environmental Politics. His book-length works include Voices in the Wilderness: American Nature Writing and Environmental Politics (1996); The Palgrave Environmental Reader (2005); Writing the Land: John Burroughs and His Legacy (2008); and Why Read Thoreau’s Walden? (2013). Dr. Payne also directs the biannual John Burroughs Nature Writing Conference & Seminar, commonly referred to as the “Sharp Eyes” Conference, at SUNY Oneonta. In 2012 Dr. Payne was honored with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.