The NCTC's Virtual Public Lecture Series

The National Conservation Training Center invites prominent conservationists, writers, historians, scientists, filmmakers, and educators to discuss their work to a broad and interested public.

If you would like more information on the speaker series contact: Mark Madison, 304-876-7276, mark_madison@fws.gov.

These talks are co-sponsored by The Friends of the NCTC. 


Public Lecture Video List

Glory of the National Parks with John Waterman (00:51:32) Recorded:  September 15, 2020

Author and explorer Jon Waterman presents a lecture and slide show on his new book Atlas of the National Parks, published by National Geographic. 

Jon Waterman has worked as a wilderness guide and as a national park ranger, exploring—in boats, on foot, or on dogsleds—remote places and many of the 62 national parks. He has received numerous grants from the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council, and his award-winning writing and photography have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers.  He has written 14 books on adventure and the environment, including the National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks (November 2019) and Chasing Denali (November 2018).  https://jonathanwaterman.com/books/atlas-of-the-national-parks

Howard Zahniser: "Champion for the Wilderness" Film Screening (00:53:05) Recorded:  July 7, 2020

Author and filmmaker Jeffrey Ryan will screen and discuss his new film, Howard Zahniser: Champion for the Wilderness. Howard Zahniser (1905-1964) was the primary author and lobbyist for the Wilderness Act. A writer, researcher, and radio scriptwriter for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1930-1942, he also served as Executive Secretary of The Wilderness Society, starting in 1945. For the next two decades, he was an eloquent advocate for America’s wilderness lands, dying just a few months before the Wilderness Act became law. 

Maine-based author, filmmaker & speaker Jeffrey Ryan has a passion for exploring the outdoors on foot and along the dusty paths of history. His travels on thousands of miles of America’s most famous and lesser-known trails have inspired several books including Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year Hike on America’s Trail and his 2019 historical novel entitled, Hermit: The Mysterious Life of Jim Whyte. Ryan’s interest in the history of America’s conservation movement led him to create a video series entitled Voices of the Wilderness, that showcase the enormous contributions of those who have advocated for the creation and protection of our wild lands. When he is not researching and writing, Ryan can be found exploring the backroads of the United States and Canada in his vintage 1985 VW camper.   https://www.jeffryanauthor.com/voices-of-the-wilderness 

The Home Place (00:59:58) Recorded: January 27, 2021

Author, naturalist, and Clemson University Wildlife Ecology Professor J. Drew Lanham gives an overview of his book, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature. Professor Lanham’s presentation describes a black naturalist’s improbable journey in a largely white field. 

A native of Edgefield, South Carolina, J. Drew Lanham is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, which received the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Southern Book Prize and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal. He is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist who has published essays and poetry in publications including Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher, and Wilderness, and in several anthologies, including The Colors of Nature, State of the Heart, Bartram’s Living Legacy, and Carolina Writers at Home. An Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in the Upstate of South Carolina, a soaring hawk’s downhill glide from the southern Appalachian escarpment that the Cherokee once called the Blue Wall.  https://jdlanham.wixsite.com/blackbirder 

Return to Us: Restoring Alaska’s Eklutna River (00:52:48) Recorded: March 4, 2021

The Conservation Fund’s Brad Meiklejohn will present “Return to Us: Restoring Alaska’s Eklutna River” online on the National Conservation Training Center LiveStream (https://nctc.fws.gov/broadcasts) or NCTC Facebook Live page (https://www.facebook.com/USFWSNCTC).

This powerful documentary film describes the effort to restore the Eklutna River. Produced by Ryan Peterson, award winning filmmaker of Super Salmon, this 8-minute film reveals the intertwined histories of the Eklutna Dena’ina Native people and Pacific salmon. The beauty and tragedy of the Eklutna River, the dreams of the Eklutna people, and the tenacity of salmon are revealed in this film and the discussion to follow with Meiklejohn.

The Eklutna River near Anchorage, Alaska, is the scene of the most ambitious river restoration project ever attempted in the state. First dammed for hydropower production in the 1920’s, the Eklutna is now the subject of a major recovery effort to establish a free-flowing river to benefit salmon and the Eklutna Dena’ina tribe. Beginning in 2015, The Conservation Fund launched a $7.5 million project to remove the Lower Eklutna River dam. As described in the film “Return to Us” the project was completed in 2018 to open the river to salmon once again after 90 years.

According to Meiklejohn: “Removing the Eklutna River dam was easily the highwater mark of my 30 year conservation career. We have done a lot of good here in Alaska since 1994, but nothing else has generated anything close to the excitement, attention and eagerness to help that we found on this dam project. This project united people across all boundaries and persuasions to the task of fixing a broken river. People love fixing things, and especially now there is a thirst for helping Nature in real, tangible ways. At the Eklutna we are putting Humpty Dumpty back together after 90 years of being broken.”

Brad Meiklejohn has been with The Conservation Fund in Alaska since 1994. The Conservation Fund is a national land trust based in Arlington, Virginia. Brad has served on the Board of Directors of the Murie Center and the Alaska Avalanche School, is past president of the Patagonia Land Trust and the American Packrafting Association, and the recipient of the Olaus Murie Conservation Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation.

This talk is as part of NCTC’s Conservation Lecture Series, which is cosponsored by The Friends of the NCTC (http://www.friendsofnctc.org).

For more information, please contact Mark Madison (304-876-7276; mark_madison@fws.gov) or visit nctc.fws.gov/history/publiclectures.html.

The Tie that Binds: Rosalie Edge, Conservation, and Women's Suffrage (00:43:25) Recorded June 8, 2021

Recorded:  June 8, 2020  

Author Dyana Furmansky presents a lecture on her book "Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy." Rosalie Edge, well-known for creating the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, challenged early 20th century conservationists to protect endangered birds. This progressive New York socialite and suffragist-turned-environmentalist became known as a “Joan of Arc” and a “hellcat” in defense of nature. This lecture comes to us 100 years after the U.S. Congress ratified the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.   

Dyana Furmansky coauthored These American Lands: Parks, Wilderness, and the Public Lands. Her articles on nature and the environment have appeared in the New York TimesAmerican HeritageAudubonHigh Country NewsSierraWilderness and many other publications.  https://www.dyanazfurmansky.com/rosalie-edge-hawk-of-mercy