January 12, 2017

Trans Himalayan Trek: Stories of My Journey and Rebuilding Syaphru Bensi

Mr. Sunil Tamang

7:00 p.m.


Held at Congregational United Church of Christ, 217 Crossman Ave., Buena Vista, CO 81211.

Click here to download Sunil's poster.

Trek for change – beginning on his 20th birthday Sunil Tamang roamed solo across Nepal’s Himalaya, walking for 128 days from east Nepal’s Kanchenjunga region, to Rara Lake in the west.  He will share stories and photos from this trek. In addition, Sunil will also share his experience helping to rebuild the village of Syaphru Bensi after the 2015 earthquake.

In an interview with The Great Himalaya Trail  it stated: “In February 2012, as Shawn Forry and Justin Lichter, and the team from World Expeditions were all making entries in the Great Himalaya Trail history books, one young man from Syabru Besi – the village at the beginning of the Langtang Trek – was making his own Great Himalaya Trail adventure, starting on his 20th birthday.

The inspiration for Sunil Tamang‘s adventures is close at hand. His father has worked in tourism for the last 20 years, firstly as a porter, and more recently as a trekking guide, and Sunil remembers as a young boy him telling stories from the trails.

The stories left a lasting impression, enough to motivate Sunil to walk for 128 days, alone, with an impossibly heavy pack from the east of Nepal’s Kanchenjunga region, to the Rara Lake in West Nepal. But he has a history of dogged determination. When he was a boy in Syabru, seeing that some trekkers had taken it upon themselves to sponsor children in schooling, he kept asking passing tourists if they would sponsor him. Someone finally said yes, and now more than a decade on, he’s passed all his exams with flying colors, won a scholarship to one of Kathmandu’s best colleges and there finished in the top few of his class.

Why did he decide to do this trek? He called it Trek for Change.

‘I wanted to promote the spirit of adventure among young people. In Kathmandu there are sometimes problems with youngsters with drugs, smoking, alcohol and so on. I wanted to do something to inspire other youths, those who lack confidence and are unsure of themselves.

For the trek I needed strong willpower, confidence, patience, determination and I wanted to show others they can do it too. Sometimes I ran out of money but had to keep going, I said to myself, ‘You can do it! You can achieve it!’” For more information about Sunil visit http://thenomadicnepali.com

March 16, 2017

Revealing Jupiter’s Interior – NASA's Juno Mission to Jupiter: What’s Inside the Giant Planet?

Dr. Fran Bagenal

7:00 p.m.

Held at Buena Vista Community Center, 715 E. Main St., Buena Vista, CO 81211.

Click here to download Fran's poster.

Juno is a NASA space probe that has been orbiting the planet Jupiter sinceJuly 14, 2016. Dr. Bagenal will share NASA’s findings and more.  Juno’s principal goal is to help scientists understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter. Underneath its dense cloud cover, Jupiter safeguards secrets to the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation. As our primary example of a giant planet, Jupiter can also provide critical knowledge for understanding the planetary systems being discovered around other stars. With its suite of science instruments, the mission will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet's auroras. Juno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system. Juno carries instruments that will probe Jupiter’s deep interior and measure the amount of its water — a key component of solar system evolution. Juno is the first spacecraft to fly over Jupiter’s aurora and will measure both the energetic particles raining down on the planet and the bright “northern & southern lights” they excite.

Dr. Fran Bagenal recently retired as professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She continues at CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics as a research scientist to focus on two space missions she has been involved in for the past 15 years: NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Juno mission to Jupiter. Her main area of expertise is the study of charged particles trapped in planetary magnetic fields.

Dr. Bagenal received her bachelor’s degree in Physics and Geophysics from the University of Lancaster, England, and her doctorate degree in Earth and Planetary Sciences from MIT in 1981. She spent five years as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College, London, before returning to the United States for research and faculty positions in Boulder, Colorado. She has participated in many of NASA's planetary exploration missions, including Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo, Deep Space 1, New Horizons and Juno.  For more information visit http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/people/bagenalf

May 11, 2017

Ghost Grizzlies: Does the Great Bear Still Haunt Colorado?

David Petersen

7:00 p.m.

Held at Held at Salida Steam Plant Theater, 220 W Sackett Ave, Salida, CO 81201.

Click here to download David's poster.

By 1952 it was thought the grizzly had been wiped out in Colorado, pushed to oblivion by predator-phobic sheep ranchers and government trappers. Even so, through the mid-1900s, ghostly stories of grizzly sightings continued to haunt remote corners of the dark-timbered San Juan Mountains in the southernmost part of the state. Then, one spooky September evening in 1979, a flesh-and-blood grizzly sow was surprised on its daybed in the South San Juans by a bowhunter ... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Or is it? As author and veteran outdoorsman David Petersen takes us along on his quest for evidence of “the next ‘last’ Colorado grizzly,” we find ourselves enjoying a masterful mystery unfolding, character by adventure, page by riveting page. Although Ghost Grizzlies is set in Colorado, it stands as a timeless metaphor for every wild place and creature that finds itself under the gun of human encroachment still today. The third edition of this now-classic book includes a new cover, twelve new pages of b/w photos, and updates throughout.

  • “A sharp portrait of the conflict between people and wilderness.” — Publishers Weekly
  • [Ghost Grizzlies] “contains some of the best, and most lyrical, writing about the natural world to come down the pike in a long time—a gentle humanity and respect shines through one very page.” —John Nichols (Milagro Beanfield War).
  • David will share his stories and findings on this life-long pursuit. 

David Petersen has been a Marine Corps helicopter pilot, a college writing instructor and a magazine editor. Beginning in 1980, David and his life partner Caroline have lived in the rural San Juan Mountains near Durango, where they hand-built the cabin David still lives in today. A lifelong traditional bowhunter and internationally acclaimed hunting ethicist, David is the recipient of numerous conservation awards.

Additionally, he founded the Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, is the former Colorado public lands conservation field director for Trout Unlimited, and served on the Governor’s Roadless Areas Review Task Force.  Along the way, David has written a dozen nonfiction books, all having to do with humanity’s proper relation to nature.

He also has collected and edited the journals, correspondence, and poetry of Edward Abbey, and the environmental essays of Pulitzer Prize–winning writer A.B. Guthrie, Jr. Most recently, David and Carolyn were the subjects of the documentary film On the Wild Edge: Hunting for a Natural Life, by Belgian filmmaker Cristopher Daley.  For more information visit http://www.davidpetersenbooks.com

June 22, 2017

A Ditch in Time:
The City, the West, and Water

Patty Limerick

7:00 p.m.

Held at Buena Vista Community Center, 715 E. Main St., Buena Vista, CO 81211.

Click here to download Patty's poster.

Tracing the origins and growth of the Denver Water Department, A Ditch in Time: The City, the West, and Water places this case study in the big picture of regional and national history. Written in a lively style and enriched with photographs and maps, this book raises questions of consequence about the complex relationship among cities, suburbs, and rural areas, the crucial role of engineering in shaping the West, the unexpectedly entrancing workings of governmental agencies and bureaucracies, and the varying roles of contention and cooperation, litigation and negotiation in the control of the West’s water. Patty Limerick and Jason Hanson seek to reconnect the people who benefit from natural resources to the processes and projects that deliver the resources for their use. In a world that can no longer take a supply of clean and life-supporting water for granted, this book offers an opportunity to enhance the human capacity to think about the past, present, and future with a combination of optimism and realism.

  • “Ironically, most narratives about water are pretty dry. Not this one! Patty Limerick is not only a brilliant thinker, she is a brilliant writer. Her wit is rampant, her ability to discern her readers’ desire verges on clairvoyance. Wet your lips for a great read!” —John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado.
  • “Because of Limerick’s depth of knowledge, her story is more than just a local history. It is played against a background of Western and even national water development and urban expansion, and deals with the changing attitude toward water use. It is an important book and a lively one. Who knew the history of Denver Water could be so engaging?” —Sandra Dallas, Denver Post.
  • Hear and discover first hand Patty’s passion about Colorado’s history.  Turning Hindsight Into Foresight. 

Patty Limerick is the Faculty Director and Chair of the Board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a Professor of History. Limerick has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general public and to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to contemporary dilemmas and conflicts. On January 11, 2016 she was appointed Colorado State Historian by Governor John Hickenlooper and the History Colorado Board. Limerick was also appointed the US Presidential Nomination and US Senate Confirmation as a member of the National Council on the Humanities, November 2015. Recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant / MacArthur Fellow Program, 1995-2000.

Limerick was born and raised in Banning, California, and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1972. She received her PhD in American Studies from Yale University in 1980, and from 1980 to 1984 she was an Assistant Professor of History at Harvard. In 1984, Limerick moved to Boulder to join the History Department of the University of Colorado, where she was promoted to tenured Associate Professor in 1987 and to Full Professor in 1991. In 1985 she published Desert Passages, followed in 1987 by her best-known work, The Legacy of Conquest, an overview and reinterpretation of Western American history that has stirred up a great deal of both academic and public debate. In 2012 she published A Ditch in Time: The City, the West, and Water, a history of water in Denver. Limerick is also a prolific essayist, and many of her most notable articles, including “Dancing with Professors: The Trouble with Academic Prose,” were collected in 2000 under the title Something in the Soil.

Limerick has received a number of awards and honors recognizing the impact of her scholarship and her commitment to teaching, including the MacArthur Fellowship (1995 to 2000) and the Hazel Barnes Prize, the University of Colorado’s highest award for teaching and research (2001). She has served as president of several professional organizations, advised documentary and film projects, and done two tours as a Pulitzer Nonfiction jurist, as well as chairing the 2011 Pulitzer jury in History. She regularly engages the public on the op-ed pages of local and national newspapers, and in the summer of 2005 she served as a guest columnist for The New York Times. Limerick is also known as an energetic, funny, and engaging public speaker, sought after by a wide range of Western constituencies that include private industry groups, state and federal agencies, and grassroots organizations.

In 1986, Limerick and CU Law Professor Charles Wilkinson founded the Center of the American West, and since 1995 it has been her primary point of affiliation. During her tenure, the Center has published a number of books, including the influential Atlas of the New West (1997), and a series of lively, balanced, and to-the-point reports on compelling Western issues, including What Every Westerner Should Know About Energy (2003), Cleaning Up Abandoned Hardrock Mines in the West (2006), and What Every Westerner Should Know About Energy Efficiency and Conservation (2007). The Center’s film, The Lover’s Guide to the West, offering counseling to the American public on its “troubled relationship with fossil fuels,” debuted on Rocky Mountain PBS in April 2010.  For more information visit http://centerwest.org

July 27, 2017

Wild Things: Coexisting with North America’s Native Carnivores

Camilla H. Fox, MA

7:00 p.m.


Held at Buena Vista Community Center, 715 E. Main St., Buena Vista, CO 81211.

Click here to download Camilla's poster.

Come learn about why native carnivores matter, and how they keep ecosystems healthy. America’s war against predators is costly, brutal, and often ineffective. Highlighting Project Coyote’s national programs aimed at stopping the mistreatment and mismanagement of carnivores through education, science and advocacy, Camilla will show that educated coexistence is the way forward.

Camilla H. Fox is the founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote http://www.projectcoyote.org  - a national coalition of scientists and educators promoting compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science, and advocacy. She has served in leadership positions with the Animal Protection Institute, Fur-Bearer Defenders, and Rainforest Action Network and has spearheaded national, state and local campaigns aimed at protecting native carnivores and fostering humane and ecologically sound solutions to human-wildlife conflicts.

With 20+ years of experience working on behalf of wildlife and wildlands and a Masters degree in wildlife ecology, policy, and conservation, Camilla’s work has been featured in several national and international media outlets including the German documentary, Coyote: The Hunted Hunter, three North American documentaries: American Coyote – Still Wild at Heart, Wild Things and On Nature’s Terms, as well as The New York Times, the BBC, NPR, Orion, National Geographic, and Mother Jones.

A frequent speaker and blogger on these issues, Camilla has authored more than 70 publications and is co-author of Coyotes in Our Midst: Coexisting with an Adaptable and Resilient Carnivore, co-editor and lead author of the book, Cull of the Wild: A Contemporary Analysis of Trapping in the United States and producer of the award-winning documentary Cull of the Wild ~ The Truth Behind Trapping. Camilla has served as an appointed member on the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture's National Wildlife Services Advisory Committee and currently serves on several national non-profit advisory boards.  In 2006, Camilla received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Marin Humane Society and the Christine Stevens Wildlife Award from the Animal Welfare Institute. She was named one of the 100 Guardian Angels of the Planet in 2013 and the 2014 Conservationist of the Year Award by the John Muir Association. In 2015 she was honored with the Grassroots Activist of the Year Award by the Fund for Wild Nature.

September 21, 2017

The Upside of Fear: How and Why We Enjoy Thrills and Chills

Dr. Margee Kerr

7:00 p.m.

Held at Colorado Mountain College Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center, KW room CM 401, 901 S. Hwy. 24, Leadville, CO 80461.

Click here to download Margie's poster


October 19, 2017

Colorado’s Changing Climate: Update & Outlook for the Arkansas River Basin

Dr. Nolan Doesken

7:00 p.m.

Held at Buena Vista Community Center, 715 E. Main St., Buena Vista, CO 81211.

Click here to download Nolan's poster

Fear is a universal human experience, but do we really understand it? If we’re so terrified of monsters and serial killers, why do we flock to the theaters to see them? Why do people avoid thinking about death, but jump out of planes and swim with sharks? This lecture will not only cover the science of fear, but explain why some of us love the thrill of a rollercoaster while others detest it. Dr. Kerr will explain fear from a physiological, psychological, and sociological perspective to show how fear is not all bad, and can even be good for us.

Margee will share stories and findings from her book, Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear

  • In this eye-opening, adventurous book, she takes us on a tour of the world's scariest experiences: into an abandoned prison long after dark, hanging by a cord from the highest tower in the Western hemisphere, and deep into Japan's mysterious “suicide forest.” She even goes on a ghost hunt with a group of paranormal adventurers. Along the way, Kerr shows us the surprising science from the newest studies of fear—what it means, how it works, and what it can do for us. Full of entertaining science and the thrills of a good ghost story, this book will make you think, laugh—and scream. –Amazon.

Margee Kerr has a PhD in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she currently teaches and conducts research on fear, with a focus on how and why people engage with frightening or thrilling material and activities like haunted houses, the paranormal, and thrill rides. Dr. Kerr is the co-investigator on a first-of-its-kind study measuring fear in the real world by collecting psychophysiology data measuring how the brain and body respond in real-life threatening situations. She is the author of SCREAM: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear, named as a must read by the Washington Post. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Parade, Atlantic Monthly, and NPR’s Science Friday, among other places.

Kerr says her research can have implications beyond theme parks and haunted houses by helping people understand how to tolerate stress. "We're trying to find the best ways to teach people how to experience their emotions in ways that are healthy and not debilitating," she said. "When people lean into the experience and test themselves in an environment that is safe, they come to learn they can handle stress and they are stronger than they thought they were." –The Daily Mail. For more information visit Dr. Kerr’s website http://www.margeekerr.com/

Nolan Doesken, Colorado State Climatologist, will discuss how scientists observe and monitor climate—primarily temperature and precipitation. Colorado has data going back to 1890 (125 years) to help scientists understand where we’ve been and help predict where we are going. With a focus on Arkansas River Basin data, this lecture is sure to be enlightening for those interested in the weather. Discover our states long term monitoring and climate trends particularly focused on floods and drought.

After the Fort Collins flash flood of 1997, Dr. Doesken established a volunteer rain gauge network to track and map the local variations in northern Colorado precipitation. This project—the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network (CoCoRaHS)—has nearly 20,000 volunteers in all 50 states and has now spread into Canada http://www.cocorahs.org/.

CoCoRaHS is an example of a 'Citizen Science' project where volunteers of all ages use simple low-cost tools to help measure and report rain, hail and snow. The project has been very successful in terms of the number and geographical spread of participants, the commitment of participants and the widespread acceptance and scientific use of the data being gathered.

Nolan Doesken was born and raised in rural central Illinois where he grew up with an intense fascination with weather. In 1976, he received his M.S. in Atmospheric Science from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL. He moved to Colorado in 1977 to become the Assistant State Climatologist at Colorado State University. Formerly working with Emeritus Professor Tom McKee: 1977-1999 and Emeritus Professor Roger Pielke: 2000-2006. He was appointed in 2006 as the Colorado State Climatologist at the Colorado Climate Center.