October 23, 2008

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LEWISBURG, Pa. – A panel of Bucknell University scientists and regional partners will participate in the panel discussion, "Thinking Like a Watershed: The Susquehanna Valley as Ecoregion," on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 5 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell.

Panelists include Craig Kochel, professor of geology; Matt McTammany, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies; and Benjamin Hayes, director of the University’s Susquehanna River Initiative.

Serving as moderator will be Homer "Skip" Wieder. Senior vice president emeritus of Geisinger Health Systems and a leader in many mid-Susquehanna Valley organizations and projects, he is founder and ongoing convener of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies and a faculty associate at the Bucknell Environmental Center.

As director of SRI at the Bucknell Environmental Center, Hayes brings experience as a professor, river-geology consultant, and local community leader to overseeing regional projects and student internships ranging from restoring the Montandon Marsh to developing a regional monitoring system for the health of the Susquehanna River.

Kochel's studies from the Susquehanna to Mars include a focus on geomorphology, rivers and hillslopes, interaction of land-use and stream channels, and stream restoration, as related to the impact of human communities destroying and reviving watersheds. He also engages in cross-disciplinary projects on environment and humanities.

McTammany's work in stream ecosystem structure and restoration includes work with community watershed groups, students and faculty and organizations around the Valley, and contributions to developing an assessment system for the region's water quality through the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies.

"Cultures at the Confluence"

The discussion, which is open to the public, is part of the University's Focus Year, "Cultures at the Confluence." The yearlong series highlights the Susquehanna Valley and environmental humanities with a series of discussions and exhibits of the immediate bioregion, one of the largest watersheds in the eastern United States.

The University Focus Year combines several of Bucknell's ongoing series – the Humanities Institute, the Social Science Colloquium, and the Focus Year – along with the Environmental Center, the Environmental Humanities and the Susquehanna Initiatives.

Faculty coordinators are Katherine Faull, chair of the foreign languages department and professor of German and comparative humanities, and Alf Siewers, assistant professor of English and environmental humanities coordinator for the Bucknell Environmental Center.

Renewed institutional focus
"This year's series seeks to engage Bucknell's renewed institutional focus on the environment with its backyard," said Faull.

"The Susquehanna River's continuing combination of rich farmland and deeply entwined communities, together with changing demographics, provide an opportunity for the region, one of the largest watersheds in the eastern United States, to become an example for future sustainable development in North America," she said.

"This series of events also represents the Environmental Center's commitment to understanding the Susquehanna Valley as both an ecological region and a cultural region, linked by innovative new cross-disciplinary studies at Bucknell," said Siewers.

Contact: Division of Communications