Center for Environmental Literacy Lecture Series Kicks Off November 8

View from Mount Holyoke by David John Gue (American, 18361917). Oil on canvas, 1903.
Courtesy of Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Sense of Place: At Home in the Connecticut River Valley, a lecture series spanning two semesters sponsored by MHC's Center for Environmental Literacy (CEL), will begin Wednesday, November 8, with a talk by Beth Goettel, director of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. Her lecture, titled “A Bird's-Eye View of the Watershed,” will be held in Gamble Auditorium, at 7 pm. The Conte refuge contributes to, and integrates its work with, the other place-specific preservation projects in the region in innovative ways. In her talk, Goettel will introduce the refuge, explaining what makes it different, its work, and the challenges it faces.

Goettel has worked for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for the past seven years, rising from a member of the Conte Refuge planning team, to refuge biologist, to assistant project leader, and, finally, to project leader. She began her career with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, conducting environmental-impact assessments. As a wildlife biologist for the Army Corps of Engineers, she focused on wildlife habitat impact-mitigation planning. Goettel has also served as a volunteer biologist and environmental educator at Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Maine, Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge in Maine, and Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland.

The series will continue November 21 with “Bedrock: The Geology of the Connecticut Valley,” a talk to be given by Richard D. Little, a geology professor at Greenfield Community College. Little will offer a slide presentation on the geology of the Connecticut River Valley, providing an “underview” of the natural features we see on the surface, as well as a solid base of understanding for the places that the lecture series will focus on in coming months. This lecture will also be be in Gamble Auditorium at 7 pm. Little is the author of Dinosaurs, Dunes, and Drifting Continents, a popular book on the geology of the Connecticut River Valley, and two educational videos, The Flow of Time in the Connecticut River Valley and The Rise and Fall of Glacial Lake Hitchcock.

Rounding out the first semester's lectures will be a December 5 talk by Mary Shanley-Koeber, director of the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton. Her lecture, titled “Over There, or, A Little Piece of Heaven,” will outline Arcadia's growth and history and its place in the Massachusetts Audubon Society network of sanctuaries. She will also introduce some of the important and lesser-known habitats at Arcadia, together with some of the recreational and research opportunities it offers.

Second-semester talks include “In Our Own Back Yard I: Skinner State Park,” by regional interpreter Gini Traub (February 7); “The Forest and the Trees: A Visit to Harvard Forest,” by John O'Keefe, Fisher Museum coordinator (February 21); “In Our Own Back Yard II: The Notch Visitor Center,” by Jim Terruso, park ranger (March 7); “Water, Water Everywhere: The Quabbin Reservoir,” by Dale Monette, naturalist (March 27); “For Those Who Came Before: Native Americans in the Connecticut River Valley,” by Mitchell Mulholland, director of archeological services, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (April 11); and “Heart and Soul: The Connecticut River Greenway State Park,” by Terry Blunt, director of the Connecticut Valley Action Program (April 25).


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