September 17, 2012


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Jason Weigle will give the talk, "Strangers in strange lands: Why natural science, engineering and sociology need each other in the Marcellus Age," Thursday, Sept. 20, at 4 p.m. in Walls Lounge of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the continuing book and lecture series, "Stories of the Susquehanna Valley," sponsored by the Nature and Human Communities Initiative of the Bucknell University Environmental Center. It is co-sponsored by the Meerwarth Fund in Sociology/Anthropology.

"The development of Marcellus and Utica shale gas plays using unconventional drilling techniques in Pennsylvania has created a maelstrom of heated debate and seemingly unending controversies," Weigle said.

"At the field level, many of these controversies play out over personal and cultural worldviews. Cross-pollination of social, biological, and engineering concepts is becoming increasingly important for navigating the variety of worldviews facing us in relation to energy, food, water, and global climate change."

Using Marcellus Shale development in Tioga County as a backdrop, the presentation "will explore how weaknesses in education and practice across different disciplines exacerbate controversies and how, through collaboration, we can take advantages of disciplinary strengths to overcome these weaknesses," said Weigle.

A case manager for the Tioga Operations area of Shell Appalachia, located in Mansfield, Weigle also serves as the social performance focal point for the operations area. He has worked for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation as a landfill inspector and superfund project manager and also served as the military munitions response program coordinator for the state.

Prior to moving to Alaska, he was a watershed specialist with the Tioga County Conservation District, where he started a number of grassroots watershed organizations and conducted several stream erosion studies and water quality monitoring projects in the county.

Weigle earned his doctorate in rural sociology and human dimensions of natural resources and the environment, master of science degree in community and economic development, and bachelor of science degree in soil science, all from Penn State.

The "Stories of the Susquehanna Valley" lecture series continues in October with "Lewisburg Architecture Project" with Tom Greaves, professor emeritus of sociology and anthropology, on Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. in the Smith Library; and "The African-American Experience in Milton" with Kate Hastings, associate professor of communications, Susquehanna University, on Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. in the Smith Library. A panel discussion about Lewisburg and the Federal Prison is being planned for Oct. 25; details will be released later.

The series continues in November with discussions of H&C Grove's Mill/water-powered grist mills in Union County and the state of rural health care. It will culminate in late January with "Interpreting the Susquehanna" by 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 few months from the Bucknell University Press.

Contact: Division of Communications

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