August 30, 2012


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Environmental Center (BUEC) is hosting a series of talks exploring the human-nature relationship in the Susquehanna River valley.

The series, "Stories of the Susquehanna Valley," is sponsored by the Place Studies Initiative, (formerly the Nature and Human Communities Initiative) of the BUEC. Events are free and open to the public.

The series begins Thursday, Sept. 6, with the talk, "Rural Homelessness in  the Central Susquehanna Region," by Heather Feldhaus, director of the Bloomsburg University Center for Community Research and Consulting, at 4 p.m. in the Smith Library of the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell.

Feldhaus, who has taught at Bloomsburg University for 10 years, focuses on the ways that communities define and approach social problems. Her most recent work focuses on the community impact of Marcellus Shale development as well as the challenges of effectively measuring, tracking, and combating rural homelessness.

In addition to shale-related homelessness, Feldhaus will talk about the devastating effect of last year's flood that left 1,200 people in the Bloomsburg area with nowhere to live.

"The series links to the book series of the same name," said Brandn Green, program coordinator. Scholars featured in the new Bucknell University Press series include David Minderhout, professor emeritus of anthropology at Bloomsburg University, writing on Native Americans in the valley, and Janet MacGaffey, professor emerita of anthropology at Bucknell, writing on the coal region. Other volumes are expected to focus on river towns, the Moravians in the valley, the region's literary history, and its natural history.

The book series connects with Bucknell's development of digital humanities projects, with its project to create accompanying online materials (including a cultural atlas), as well as the involvement of faculty and students with research supporting the new Susquehanna national historic trail. Related courses include a co-taught Integrated Perspectives course, "The Susquehanna Country" this fall.

"The goal is interactive scholarship involving communities and students as well as faculty, through books, online multimedia materials, and talks," Green said.

Other events in the series include:

  • Sept. 20: Jason Weigle, case manager for Shell Appalachia Operations Group and instructor in Community and Economic Development at Penn State, 4 p.m., Walls Lounge, Elaine Langone Center.
  • Oct. 4: Tom Greaves, professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology, "Lewisburg Architecture Project," 4 p.m., Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building. Greaves will describe the project, begun in 2005, to compile a photographic inventory of structures within Lewisburg's historic district.
  • Oct. 11: Kate Hastings, associate professor of communications, Susquehanna University, "The African-American Experience in Milton," 4 p.m., Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building. Hastings is completing work on the African-American history of central Pennsylvania 1772-1940, particularly as it was told by area newspapers.
  • Oct. 25: BUEC Panel Discussion. "USP Lewisburg: A Contested Space?" 7 p.m., Community Room, Barnes & Noble at Bucknell bookstore, Lewisburg. Moderated by Leslie Patrick, Bucknell associate professor of history, the panel includes Dave Bartlett, president of AFGE Local 148, the American Federation of Government Employees; Glenn Crook, former chaplain at USP Allenwood FCC; Karen Morin, Bucknell professor of geography; Dave Sprout, paralegal with the Lewisburg Prison Project; and Jeff Thomas, Warden of the Federal Penitentiary.
  • Nov. 1: David Del Testa, associate professor of history, and Tom Rich, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, "H&C Grove's Mill/water-powered grist mills in Union County," 4 p.m., Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building.
  • Nov. 29: Lisa Davis, director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, "The State of Rural Health Care," 4 p.m., Smith Library, Vaughan Literature Building.

In addition, a panel discussion about Lewisburg and the Federal Prison is being planned for Oct. 25. Details will be released later.

The series will culminate in a talk in late January with "Interpreting the Susquehanna" by the co-editors of the book series, Bucknell professors Katherine Faull and Alf Siewers, coinciding with an author talk by David Minderhout at the Bucknell Barnes & Noble bookstore, dates still to be determined.

The first volumes in the book series, Native Americans in the Susquehanna Valley: Past and Present, a collection edited by Minderhout, and Coal Dust on Your Feet: Living through Prosperity and Decline in an Anthracite Mining Town, are due out within the next several months from the Bucknell University Press.

Contact: Division of Communications

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