ISSUED: 25 September 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Registration is now open for a symposium titled “Humanities and the Environment,” sponsored by Shepherd University and the National Conservation Training Center. The symposium is scheduled for Thursday, October 26, and Friday, October 27, at NCTC and will feature presentations by experts in the environmental and humanities fields and group discussions. To register for the symposium, which is free and open to the public, visit www.shepherd.edu/humanities.
Speakers will be Denise Giardina, award-winning West Virginia novelist; Dr. Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University; John Amos, founder and president of SkyTruth; David Conover, award-winning filmmaker and conservationist; and Dr. Angela Lueking, professor of energy and mineral engineering and chemical engineering at Pennsylvania State University.
Giardina, who grew up in a coal camp in McDowell County, has written five novels, including the award-winning “Storming Heaven” and “The Unquiet Earth,” both of which are set in the coalfields of Appalachia. She is also the author of an original half-hour screenplay, “The Gift Horse,” filmed in 1996 by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Giardina received creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 and 1996. In March 2007 she received the Hillsdale Prize for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers for her contributions to Southern literature.
Brinkley is CNN’s presidential historian and a contributing editor for the magazines Vanity Fair and Audubon. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His book, “Cronkite,” a biography of television newsman Walter Cronkite, won the Sperber Prize for Best Book in Journalism and was a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year.
Amos is an expert in the use of satellite imagery and other remote sensing data to understand and communicate local, regional, and global environmental issues. Educated as a geologist, he spent 10 years applying image processing, image analysis, and digital mapping techniques to conduct environmental exploration and resource assessment studies for the energy and mining industries and government. In 2001, Amos founded SkyTruth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening environmental conservation by illuminating problems and issues through the use of satellite images, aerial photographs, and other kinds of remote sensing and digital mapping.
Conover is an award-winning independent filmmaker and conservationist whose work has aired on Discovery Channel, PBS, and National Geographic Explorer. He is founder and executive director of Compass Light, a 25-year-old production company that has created more than 600 productions, many exploring the human relationship to the ocean and the outdoors. Three years ago, Conover founded the Conservation Media Group, a non-profit initiative that builds communication capacity for work targeting urgent ocean and energy challenges via workshops, residencies, grants, and placement of fellows with partner conservation organizations.
Lueking is currently a visiting scientist serving as program director for process separations at the National Science Foundation (NSF). At Penn State, her research has focused on problems in sustainable energy solutions, spanning the fields of adsorption, surface science, catalysis, ab initio calculations, material development, and advanced materials characterization. In 2013, she was selected as one of 25 American scientists for an Incoming International Marie Curie Fellow for a year of study at the University of Crete. She was co-principal investigator on an NSF outreach program Carbon EARTH that supplements graduate education with outreach to K-12 students.
The schedule for the symposium, some of which will be broadcast on Facebook Live, is:
Thursday, October 26
- 4 p.m.—welcome by Dr. Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service historian, and Dr. Keith Alexander, assistant professor of history at Shepherd.
- 4:30 p.m.—featured speaker John Amos, president and founder of SkyTruth, on “The Science—and Art—of Satellite Imagery.”
- 5:30 p.m.—dinner, available for purchase at the NCTC dining hall.
- 7 p.m.—featured speaker David Conover, founder and executive director of Compass Light, and viewing of his new documentary film, “Behold the Earth.”
Friday, October 27
- 8:30 a.m.—welcome by Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, president of Shepherd University.
- 8:45 a.m.—featured speaker Dr. Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University, on “Conservation History in the Humanities.”
- 10 a.m.—featured speaker Dr. Angela Lueking, professor in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at Pennsylvania State University, on “Scientific Language Barriers: Communicating Environmental Science to the Public.”
- 11 a.m.—concurrent breakout sessions “The Arts and the Environment” led by Susan Mills, former television news producer; ethics and environmental decision-making, led by Dr. Mark Madison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service historian; and history and environmental engagement, led by Dr. Keith Alexander, assistant professor of history at Shepherd.
- Noon—lunch, available for purchase at the NCTC dining hall.
- 1:30 p.m.—featured speaker Denise Giardina, novelist, who will read from her novel “The Unquiet Earth,” with interview and discussion moderated by Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt, professor of English and director of Shepherd’s Appalachian studies program.
- 2:45 p.m.—panel dialog and discussion with all the featured speakers, moderated by Dr. Rebecca Bates, professor of integrated engineering and computer science at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
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