With Professor Elena Traister, on sabbatical this semester, MCLA’s Green Living seminars move forward under the leadership of environmental science Professor Daniel Shustack.
“We identify local, regional, and global experts on the seminar topic and then invite them to visit campus for a one hour lecture,” Shustack said. “Our audience is a mix of undergraduate students including introductory and advanced students as well as community members. The speakers tailor their presentations to accommodate these diverse levels. Thus, the presentations are understandable by those only casually interested in the topic, yet content-rich enough for the experts attendee as well. The question and answer session at the end of the talks allow anyone to probe the issues further.”
According to Shustack, the series has gone on for at least ten years and is broadcasted to the community by Northern Berkshire Community Television (NBCTC). Podcasts from earlier years are also available.
Joanne Hurlbut, the education access coordinator for NBCTC commented, “NBCTC enjoys the series and puts it on Channel 16 every year.”
In the age of Trump, fake news and alternative facts, the Green Living Seminars remain a local mainstay as a science-based program on environmental issues, often times highlighting ways government can help.
“This seminar series is designed to increase awareness and knowledge about invasive species threats, conservation, research and management throughout Massachusetts and our region,” Shustack said. “Very often management, including management of invasive species, intersects with policy at local, state and federal levels. Some talks in this series will exemplify the connections among federal, state, local and non-profit policy and actions and on-the-ground implications for invasive species management.”
The series is as it has been for the last ten years “non-progressive,” as Shustack describes, which has nothing to do with politics, but broadly means that each seminar is its own entity; no one seminar is a two-parter. As such, the series mines the knowledge of experts and professionals from wherever it can, which Shustack has found rewarding.
“For the most part, I have found that almost anyone working in the field of environmental science and conservation really values sharing their expertise within and without academia,” he said. “Most experts in this field are passionate and care deeply about the species and lands they manage and study. A natural extension of this passion is educating others, both other scholars and the public, about it. In many ways, awareness is the first step to caring, and caring is a pre-requisite for conservation action.”
A complete list of upcoming seminars can be found at: http://www.mcla.edu/About_MCLA/area/Community-Collaborations/berkshireenvironmentalresourcecenter/greenlivingseminars/.