Two Public Talks Explore Nature’s Inspiration – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Two Public Talks Explore Nature’s Inspiration

Naturalist will give two talks through the Finger Lakes Institute

(Nov. 12, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y.– The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges welcomes its first Visiting Scholar, writer Gary Ferguson, on Thursday, Nov. 18. Formerly an interpretive naturalist, he has been a freelance writer for the past 20 years. He will give a public lecture titled “What Nature Inspires: Landscape and the American Dream,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, in Albright Auditorium on the Colleges campus.

In the talk, Ferguson will discuss the impact of land on those who live there and notions of nature as a bedrock of democracy, as a buffer against the excesses of capitalism and a fundamental cornerstone of art, religion, education and mental health. He will begin by exploring the Rocky Mountains, the focus of his latest book, and then use a similar perspective to examine the cultural and natural history of the Finger Lakes.

Ferguson's focus on the relationship between people and natural areas is tied to one of the primary concerns of the Finger Lakes Institute. As the heart of the Institute's mission entails fostering “environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region,” Ferguson is well suited to focus on the challenges of working to protect the Finger Lakes Region. He will speak with a variety of HWS classes.

On Friday, Nov. 19 Ferguson will talk about the time he spent chronicling one of the best wilderness therapy programs in the country – research that was later used in the book “Shouting at the Sky: Troubled Teens and the Promise of the Wild” published by St. Martin's Press. The talk will be held at 10:30 a.m. at the Finger Lakes Institute. The program shares the daily triumphs and heartaches of a group of bright, troubled middle-class kids – most of them veterans of countless treatment programs.

He has written articles for more than 200 national magazines, including Outside, Vanity Fair, Sierra, Field and Stream and publications of New York's Children's Television Workshop. He is also a regular contributor to the book division of National Geographic. Having written 15 books on nature and science, his goal as a writer is to chronicle the impact of the natural world on human lives.