Geneva Reads, a community literacy group, hosts a Community Read each March. This year, in collaboration with Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Beth Kinne and the Year of Water, the book selected is “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes” by Dan Egan.
The New York Times 2017 Book Club Pick discusses the past and present of the Great Lakes with regard to human activities, invasive species, harmful algal blooms and climate change. Egan is a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel who covers the Great Lakes. He was a 2010 and 2013 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting for his work on ecosystem disruption in the Great Lakes.
“Death and Life of the Great Lakes is engaging because it illustrates the historical interplay between national interests, local communities and the Great Lakes, which have shaped each other over time,” says Kinne. “It’s easy to think of the lakes as static, or having an “ideal” state, independent of our assessment of them. But they change us, we change them, and they change us again. Our relationship goes on over time like a dance, where each partner is adapting to the actions and reactions of the other.”
The public is invited to attend a three-part discussion of Egan’s book on Water Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Geneva Public Library. A third of the book will be discussed each week, with the focus ranging from the history of the lakes and invasive species to the next steps for protecting water resources.
Community Read Month will include several water-themed events:
Monday, March 2, Club Night — A kickoff gathering of local book club members for a crockpot supper and discussion of community reads will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Geneva Public Library. Invitation only, but Geneva book clubs interested in being included can contact Anne Schühle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Water Wednesdays Part 1, March 4, Brown-bag Lunch Discussion — Noon to 1 p.m. at the Geneva Public Library. Bring lunch and join the group for the first of three Wednesdays to discuss pages 1-123 of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. The session, led by retired Executive Director of the Pioneer Library System Jennifer Morris, will have a historical focus on invasive species and the introduction of the Clean Water Act of 1972, while taking a look at the driving forces behind the history and mystery of the Great Lakes.
Illustrator/Author School Visits, Tuesday, March 10 — Aileen Easterbrook and Johanna van der Sterre, author and illustrator (respectively) of W is for Waterfall will speak at local schools about their work and the content of the book, which students in grades K-5 will receive, courtesy of the Wyckoff Family Foundation and Geneva Reads.
Water Wednesdays Part 2, March 11, Brown-bag Lunch Discussion — Noon to 1 p.m. at the Geneva Public Library. Bring lunch and join the group for the second of three Wednesdays to discuss pages 123-224 of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. The session, led by Geneva Reads board President Nina McCarthy, will focus on the unintended impact (positive and negative) of invasive species like zebra mussels and toxic algae.
Water Wednesdays Part 3, March 18, Brown-bag Lunch Discussion — Noon to 1 p.m. at the Geneva Public Library. Bring lunch and join the group for the third of three Wednesday gatherings to discuss pages 247-324 of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. The session, led by Beth Kinne, Associate Professor and program Chair of the Environmental Studies Department at Hobart and William Smith, will focus on the future and why it’s vital to build on the knowledge researchers possess.
Lawn Friendly/Lake Friendly, Wednesday, March 18 — 5 p.m. at Geneva Town Hall. Alaina Robarge of Ontario County Soil & Water Conservation will provide information about rain barrels and rain gardens and lead a discussion about how residents can help protect Seneca Lake by using environment-friendly practices at home. Topics will include control and cleanliness of storm water.
Focus on Fishing, 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, March 19 — A PAWS night presentation at North Street School. Two fishery students from Finger Lakes Community College will introduce families to the basics of fishing (setting up a fishing pole, casting, removing fish from a hook and filleting). Participants will also create a fish, using their newly acquired knowledge of fins, mouths and eyes suited to different water habitats. The entire community is welcome.
Catch the Artistic Wave, 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 21 — An opening reception for a Geneva student show of artwork inspired by W is for Waterfall will be in the Hucker Gallery at the Geneva Historical Society. Refreshments will be served.
Community partners of Geneva Reads include the Wyckoff Family Foundation, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, The Smith Center for the Arts, Finger Lakes Federal Credit Union, the Geneva Public Library and Finger Lakes Community College.