Conference planned at Southwest State Marshall, Minn.

A conference, "Draining the Great Oasis: A Colloquium on Environmental History," will be held Thursday, Oct. 25 in Student Center West on the campus of Southwest State University.

The conference is being held in conjunction with the release of the book, Draining the Great Oasis: An Environmental History of Murray County, Minnesota. The book is a compilation of essays about Murray County by SSU and regional authors.

The conference, which begins at 9 a.m., will feature speakers discussing various aspects of environmental history. From weed control and horse ecology to wetlands and recreational landscapes, the book, and conference, demonstrate how science, history, literature and philosophy can interact to interpret the history of a southwest Minnesota county.

Featured keynote address at 10:30 a.m. will be by Laura Walls, associate professor of English at Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. She will discuss "Cosmos in the Local," about how a world of knowledge can be found in a particular place.

Bradley Dean, Media Center director at the Thoreau Institute in Lincoln, Mass., will give a photographic essay entitled, "Thoreau's Local Landscape, Walden Pond and Concord." Concord is a village 18 miles from Boston and is where Thoreau spent much time in building his writings, according to one conference organizer, Joe Amato. Walden Pond is two miles from Concord.

Also speaking will be Joe Amato, professor of Rural and Regional Studies and History; Anthony Amato, assistant professor of Rural and Regional Studies; Janet Timmerman, an SSU grad and a visiting fellow in the Center; Dennis Guse, an SSU student; and Thomas Dilley and Douglas Spieles, assistant professors of Environmental Science at SSU.

The conference is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required. Reserveations for lunch are required and should be made by Monday, Oct. 22, by calling 507-537-6288.

Funding for the confeence is provided by the Center for Rural and Regional Studies; the Minnesota Humanities Commission; the Society for the Study of Local and Regional History; the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund; and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
For further information e-mail:

Science and Technology 203
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State Street Marshall, MN 56258
Phone: (507) 537-6226
Fax: (507) 537-6147

Last updated: March 21, 2006