Saturday October 26th 10:30am - Hixson Lied Science Building Room 404; Creighton University Campus
Ecology, Plants and Stories in the Nebraska Sandhills
For the past three years, Mary Ann Vinton, Jay Leighter and John O’Keefe have been studying the ecology, culture and stories in the Nebraska Sandhills, with the goal of describing the complexity and functioning of this fragile ecosystem and, in turn, discovering broader lessons for a people and planet in environmental peril. In our talk, we will show how grass cover and biodiversity play a key role in Sandhills function, as well as recount stories that show how people interact with the vegetation and the natural system. Finally, we will attempt to draw some broader lessons from the Sandhills that may inform sustainability and resilience strategies for all of humanity.
Biographies: Mary Ann Vinton is an Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Environmental Science at Creighton University where she teaches courses in biology, ecology and environmental science. She got her M.S. at Kansas State University and Ph.D. at Colorado State University. She grew up in the Sandhills, on the headwaters of the Dismal River, as a 5th generation ranch kid.
James (Jay) Leighter is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Sustainability Studies at Creighton. He teaches courses in the ethnography of communication, communication practice, and communication research methods. In his research, he asks and tries to answer how culture and communication are inextricably linked, how communities make decisions, and how actions for social betterment should be designed with local communities
John O’Keefe is a Professor of Theology at Creighton University. He is interested in Ecological Theology and changing Christian attitudes toward nature. O'Keefe is also a documentary filmmaker. In 2009 he co-founded the Backpack Journalism Project at Creighton, which is an interdisciplinary collaboration with the Department of Journalism, Media and Computing. This student faculty collaboration focuses on social justice filmmaking in the developing world.