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Big Bend National Park (TX), Mt. Rainier National Park (WA), McLaughlin Mine (CA)

  • April 22, 2021
  • 7:30 PM - 8:45 PM (EDT)
  • Virtual

This joint book talk panel presents 20 min. overviews by three new/recent authors on environmental history subjects as follows:

7:30-7:45 - Michael Welsh (Big Bend National Park: Mexico, the United States, and a Borderland Ecosystem)

Known for its stark beauty, dramatic geologic dimensions, and challenging desert terrain, this 118-mile long, 1.5 million-acre corridor of the Rio Grande often has witnessed moments of interaction and conflict between Mexico and the United States, two nations sharing one ecosystem as they inhabit different political spheres. Michael Welsh’s presentation explores the cultural landscape of this binational region that might once again be imagined as what 1930s park planners called an “international park for peace.”

7:45-8:00 - Jeff Antonelis-Lapp on Environmental History of the Carbon River Road (Tahoma and Its People: A Natural History of Mount Rainier National Park)

In this panel, Antonelis-Lapp traces the environmental history of the Carbon River Road in the park’s northwest section. Built on a floodplain in the 1920s and beset by flooding and erosion from the outset, he details the park’s failed projects—and eventual success—in containing damage to park property.

8:00-8:15 - Eleanor Herz Swent (One Shot for Gold: Developing a Modern Mine in Northern California)

The story of California’s most productive gold mine of the 20th century, from discovery in 1978 to shut-down in 2003, is enlivened by interviews with company employees from executives to miners; neighboring ranchers and merchants; and local government officials. Engineers recall research for the innovative high-pressure oxidation process that doesn’t pollute air or water, now copied worldwide. Environmental protection had high priority; development and reclamation were simultaneous; land and waterways damaged by historic mining were restored. The influx of hundreds of highly trained workers and their families benefitted the state’s poorest county. The mine is now a university nature reserve; NASA scientists studied ancient deposits there to guide today’s Mars probe for extraterrestrial life.

8:15-8:45 - joint Q&A with attendees (unmuted audio)

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