Our Environmental Program is an outgrowth of a recent wave of academic research, public interest, and geopolitical awareness concerning human interactions, dependency, and impact on the environment.

Our objective is to increase public awareness of environmental issues, both current and historical, while providing space for public discourse, engagement, and understanding.

Missouri’s Natural Environment: 200 Years and Beyond

Missourians embody and exemplify the complexity and diversity of this great nation; our state’s diversity is one to be celebrated. To understand this point, we reflect on the multiple landscapes our state offers: the delta of southeast Missouri, the Ozarks hills of the south-central, the prairie lands of the states western border, the rich farmland of the Missouri River Valley and rolling hills to the north and our major Midwestern urban centers to the East and West. These regions are as different as the people who occupy them, and as different as the people they have produced. 

In the series, Missouri’s Natural Environment: 200 Years and Beyond we will explore Missouri’s natural landscape – how it shapes our state’s identity, how Missourians have shaped and been shaped by this landscape, and the role we have in utilizing and caring for our lands. 

Through thoughtful dialogue presented through an Environmental Humanities lens, we will investigate and discuss how the humanities and the social and environmental sciences can help us better understand and find common ground, as we look at some of the environmental strengths and challenges facing the state and local communities, and efforts to cope with socio-economic and environmental demands. 

This is a four-part series, details on each part of this series are listed below, check back for updates and announcements as programs become available.

Missouri’s Natural Environment: 200 Years and Beyond – Series One, Forest & Farms

Explore the historical transformation of the Missouri River Valley – from lush bottomland forest to fertile farmland – and efforts to reforest the land along the Katy Trail while preserving the region’s cultural and agricultural heritage.

Panelists, Dan Burkhardt (Co-founder, Magnificent Missouri), Meridith McAvoy Perkins (Executive Director, Forest ReLeaf of Missouri), and Ken McCarty (Natural Resource Management Program Director, Missouri State Parks), will present on the historical transformation of the Missouri River Valley. 

“The Man Who Planted Trees” Book Discussion: How a French Parable Inspires Ecological Restoration

Planting trees can be such a selfless and generous act. In this virtual program we will explore “The Man Who Planted Trees,” an allegorical tale of one shepherd’s arduous effort to single-handedly re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps. Written by French author, Jean Giono, and published more than 65 years ago, this short story teaches us about hope, humanity, and the transformative power of seed-planting and patient cultivation.

Dr. Robert S. Emmett, author and humanities scholar, will guide us through “The Man Who Planted Trees” as we consider how a timeless classic can be a parable to modern times and how fiction can influence the way we think about the environment. We will examine the themes in this book by way of a special edition that brings this tale close to home! Accompanied by the original text and woodcut illustrations, Magnificent Missouri’s edition includes a foreword and afterword written by local conservationists and highlights native tree-planting efforts along the Katy Trail. Join us to learn how this French fable is inspiring a community of tree planters right here in Missouri.

Program participants will not need any prior knowledge about the book.

2020 Digital Symposium: Water

On April 22nd, 2020 we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day by hosting a two day digital Symposium on Water. We would like to give thanks to all of our speakers through the series;  Jennifer Hoggatt, Allan Chow, Andrea Hunter, Karen Piper, Laura Lesniewski, Mohammed Alhamdan, Mara Cohen Ioannides, Jason Streubel, Sean Kim, Loring Bullard, Roddy Rogers, Todd Parnell, and Pulitzer Prize Winner Pat Stith. 

This program was sponsored by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, and was in partnership with Drury University, City Utilities, Springfield-Greene County Library District, SMCOG, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, Missouri Natural Resources, BNIM, and Missouri State University.  

View the videos from the Symposium of Water on our VIdeo Archives page, or click the link below:

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