The Conservation Lecture Series at NCTC
Writers, Scientists, Filmmakers, Conservationists, Historians Speak to the Public at NCTC

The National Conservation Training Center invites prominent conservationists, writers, historians, scientists, filmmakers, and educators to discuss their work to a broad and interested public. All talks are held at the Byrd Auditorium at the National Conservation Training Center.  No tickets or reservations are required, the public is encouraged to attend. If you would like more information on the speaker series contact: Mark Madison, 304-876-7276, These talks are co-sponsored by The Friends of the NCTC.

Did you miss a lecture? Historian Mark Madison typically interviews speakers while they are in town. View recorded interviews at Conservationists in Action.

Nature and History in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson

Natural History book cover

NCTC Lecture Series with James Rice

7 pm, Tuesday, July 23, 2019
National Conservation Training Center
Auditorium, Front Entry Building
698 Conservation Way
Shepherdstown, WV 25443

Sponsored by The Friends of NCTC

James Rice is the Walter S. Dickson Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Tufts University. He is the author of two books, Nature and History in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson, and Tales from a Revolution: Bacon's Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America. His current research includes an environmental history of Native North America from Oaxaca to the Arctic and from the first human habitation to the present.

This lecture begins with a mystery. Why, when the whole of the region offered fertile soil and excellent fishing and hunting, did much of the Potomac Basin above the fall line lack permanent year-round settlements on the eve of colonization? Rice wondered how the existence of this no man’s land influenced nearby Native American and, later, colonial settlements. Did it function as a commons, as a place where all were free to hunt and fish? Or was it perceived as a strange and hostile wilderness? The answers, Rice argues, lie in environmental history - the study of human/nature relations over time - going back to the region's earliest known habitation.  



The 17th Annual American Conservation Film Festival 50 Films, Filmmakers, Speakers Shepherdstown, WV Fall 2019 (watch for details)