September 20, 2000

"Something Wild, Something Managed: Wilderness in the Northeast Landscape" to be Topic of Symposium Oct. 5-6

Bill McKibben, Author of "The End of Nature," to Give Keynote Address

 

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.—Bill McKibben, Adirondack resident and author of "The End of Nature," will deliver the keynote address when activists, land managers, and educators gather on Oct. 5-6 at "Something Wild, Something Managed: Wilderness in the Northeast Landscape," a Middlebury College Bicentennial symposium. Activities include three panel discussions, which will take place in Dana Auditorium in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125). McKibben’s talk will be in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The two-day event is free and open to the public.

"In the last century, there has been an ‘explosion of green’ in the region as forests have reclaimed abandoned farmland. Animals long gone from the area, such as moose and beaver, are also returning," said Chris McGrory Klyza, Middlebury College professor of political science and environmental studies, and the organizer of the symposium. "The time has come for us as a society to think more explicitly about the opportunities this largely unplanned recovery presents for the Northeast."

“Something Wild, Something Managed” will focus on the role of wilderness in the larger Northeastern landscape. Three panels of speakers will explore various topics the Northeastern landscape in national and historical contexts; the values that flow directly from wilderness areas, including efforts to protect and enhance biological diversity; and how wilderness lands fit into the larger, sustainably managed landscape. The conference will conclude with McKibben’s keynote address, "Notes on Restraint: The Northern Forest as Embarrassing Example."

The symposium will begin Thursday, Oct. 5 with a panel discussion titled "Northeastern Wilderness in Context" that will take place from 4:15-5:45 p.m. The panel will consist of Emily Russell, an ecological historian at Rutgers University; Paul Brewster, forest supervisor for Green Mountain National Forest; and Nancy Smith, executive director of the Boston-based Sweet Water Trust. Kathy Morse, Middlebury College assistant professor of history, will serve as the moderator.

Later on Thursday, from 8-9:30 p.m., "The Values of Wilderness" will be the topic of discussion among panelists Elizabeth Thompson, an ecologist with The Vermont Nature

Conservancy; Tom Butler, editor of Wild Earth magazine; and Spencer Philips, an economist

with the Washington, D.C.-based Wilderness Society. The moderator will be Steve Trombulak, Middlebury College professor of biology and environmental studies.

The final panel discussion, "Surrounding Wilderness with Sustainably Managed Lands," will take place from 4:15-5:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6. David Brynn, a forester with Vermont Family Forests; Vern Grubinger of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Vermont; and Joan Roelofs, author of "Greening Cities" and a professor of political science at Keene State College, will serve as panelists. The moderator will be Nan Jenks-Jay, Middlebury College director of environmental affairs.

McKibben will conclude the event with the keynote address, "Notes on Restraint: The Northern Forest as Embarrassing Example," at 8 p.m. A reception, which is free and open to the public, will follow the talk at 9:30 p.m.

McKibben’s book "The End of Nature" was the first account for a general audience of the practical and philosophical problems posed by global warming. It was translated into 20 languages and recently re-issued in a 10th anniversary edition. McKibben has gone on to write many other books, including "The Age of Missing Information" and "Hope, Human and Wild." His essays, reporting, and criticism have appeared in many publications, ranging from The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books to Outside and Natural History. Normally a resident of the Adirondacks, McKibben is spending this year in Massachusetts as a fellow at Harvard’s Center for the Study of Values and Public Life.

"Something Wild, Something Managed: Wilderness in the Northeast Landscape" is one of a year-long series of academic symposia celebrating the 200th year of the founding of Middlebury College.

All events, including the reception, are free and open to the public. The three panel discussions will take place in Dana Auditorium in Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125). The keynote address will be in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The reception is in the Redfield Proctor Room in Proctor Hall, across from Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road. For more information, contact Chris McGrory Klyza, Middlebury College professor of political science and environmental studies, at 802-443-5309 or klyza@middlebury.edu.

A schedule of events follows:

Environmental Bicentennial Symposium

Middlebury College

 

Thursday, Oct. 5

4:15-5:45 p.m.

 

"Northeastern Wilderness in Context"

Panelists: Emily Russell, Ecological Historian, Rutgers University

Nancy Smith, Executive Director, Sweet Water Trust

Paul Brewster, Forest Supervisor, Green Mountain National Forest

Moderator: Kathy Morse, Middlebury College Assistant Professor of History

Dana Auditorium, Sunderland Language Center, Middlebury College, College Street (Route 125)

8-9:30 p.m.

 

"The Values of Wilderness"

Panelists: Elizabeth Thompson, Ecologist, Vermont Nature Conservancy

Tom Butler, Editor, Wild Earth magazine

Spencer Philips, Economist, Wilderness Society

Moderator: Steve Trombulak, Middlebury College Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies

Dana Auditorium, Sunderland Language Center, Middlebury College, College Street (Route 125)

 

Friday, Oct. 6

4:15-5:45 p.m.

 

"Surrounding Wilderness with Sustainably Managed Lands"

Panelists: David Brynn, Forester, Vermont Family Forests

Vern Grubinger, Center for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Vermont

Joan Roelofs, Author of "Greening Cities" and Keene State College Professor of Political Science

Moderator: Nan Jenks-Jay, Director of Environmental Affairs, Middlebury College

Dana Auditorium, Middlebury College, College Street (Route 125)

8-9 p.m.

 

"Notes on Restraint: The Northern Forest as Embarrassing Example"

Keynote Speaker: Bill McKibben, author of "The End of Nature"

Mead Chapel, Middlebury College, Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)

9:30 p.m.

 

Reception

Redfield Proctor Room, Proctor Hall, across from Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)

All events, including the reception, are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Chris McGrory Klyza, Middlebury College professor of political science and environmental studies, at 802-443-5309 or klyza@middlebury.edu.

 

Biographies of Panelists and Keynote Speaker

Paul Brewster is forest supervisor for the Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests, a position he has held since May 1999. A New England native, Brewster has worked with the U.S. Forest Service for over 20 years, serving in Minnesota, Alaska, and Missouri. In Alaska, he served as assistant regional director of recreation for the wilderness and cultural resources department.

David Brynn is Addison County forester, a position he has held since 1990, and founder and president of Vermont Family Forests (VFF), a green certified, nonprofit family forest conservation organization. VFF is a national leader in the move toward ecologically sustainable, community based forestry and recently helped supply the wood for Middlebury College’s Bicentennial Hall, a new science facility that opened in September 1999. Brynn was named Cooperative Forest Management Forester of the Year in 1999.

Tom Butler is editor of Wild Earth, a quarterly journal based in Richmond, Vt., that melds conservation biology with grassroots wilderness activism. Butler held a number of positions at Wild Earth before becoming editor in 1997. He has worked on a variety of issues related to the ecological recovery of the Northern Forest over the last 15 years.

Vern Grubinger has been the director of the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture since 1995. He worked as a farm partner and a field inspector for the New York Organic Farm Certification Program before beginning work in the UVM Extension Program in 1990. Grubinger has a doctorate in vegetable crops from Cornell University and is a frequent commentator on agriculture issues for Vermont Public Radio.

Bill McKibben is the author of "The End of Nature," the first account for a general audience of the practical and philosophical problems posed by global warming. The book was translated into 20 languages and recently re-issued in a 10th anniversary edition. McKibben has gone on to write many other books, including "The Age of Missing Information and Hope" and "Human and Wild." His essays, reporting, and criticism have appeared in many publications, ranging from The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books to Outside and Natural History. Normally a resident of the Adirondacks, McKibben is spending this year in Massachusetts as a fellow at Harvard’s Center for the Study of Values and Public Life.

Spencer Philips is a resource economist with The Wilderness Society, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to the protection of America’s wilderness and public lands. His economic research, demonstration, and extension projects, such as his three volume series Northern Forest Strategies for Sustainability, supports the Society’s Northern Forest campaign. Currently a doctoral candidate in the agricultural and applied economics program at Virginia Tech, Philips lives with his family in Craftsbury Common, Vt.

Joan Roelofs is professor of political science at Keene State College, where she has taught since 1979. A leading thinker and questioner on sustainable cities, Roelfs is the author of "Greening Cities" and serves on the editorial board for the journal Capitalism, Nature, Socialism.

Emily W.B. Russell is research associate professor in the department of geological sciences at Rutgers University, Newark as well as associate of the Graduate Faculties in Plant Science

and Ecology at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is a leading expert in the historical ecology of the Northeast and the author of "People and the Land through Time: Linking Ecology and History."

 Nancy Smith is managing director of Sweet Water Trust (SWT). Based in Boston, this foundation is dedicated to the conservation of wild nature in New England and New York. SWT uses its resources to help purchase land, and development and timber rights for the creation of protected wildland reserves. She has received awards from the Massachusetts Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy in recognition of her work.

Elizabeth Thompson is an ecologist with the Vermont chapter of The Nature Conservancy and coordinates the Vermont Biodiversity Project. She is co-author of "Wetland, Woodland, Wildland: A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont," recently published as part of the Middlebury College Bicentennial Series in Environmental Studies. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy in 1995, Thompson worked as a community and plant ecologist with the Vermont Natural Heritage Program.

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