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Founder of Land Institute, KU alumnus to speak at The Commons

Thursday, September 24, 2015

LAWRENCE — Seeking to address the most pressing ecological questions of today, Wes Jackson founded the Land Institute in 1976. Jackson will be on campus to discuss the “Ecological Agriculture for an Ecological Civilization.”

Jackson’s lecture will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at The Commons with a reception immediately following at the Natural History Museum. The lecture is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. They are available here

“The Land Institute endeavors to answer questions for which there are no clear answers,” said Matt Burke, associate professor of visual art, who is currently teaching a course on social and sustainable art practices. “This event is intended for everyone but especially for students who will most have to grapple with the intractable problem of climate change.”

Jackson will visit with students from sociology, environmental studies and visual art during his campus visit. The discussion will revolve around the idea of homecoming, taking notice and cultivating local cultures and economies.

“The core of the Land Institute’s mission is to challenge entrenched ideas about what is possible, not just in agriculture, but in science,” said Paul Stock, assistant professor of sociology and environmental studies. “The Land Institute operates on the premise that they can change the world. Campus visitors such as Wes help show students what’s possible in their own lives.”

Jackson was born on a farm near Topeka. After attending Kansas Wesleyan, he studied botany and genetics. He was a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan and later established the environmental studies department at California State University, Sacramento. In 1976, he returned to Kansas to found The Land Institute.

Jackson is a recipient of the Pew Conservation Scholars award, a MacArthur Fellowship, Right Livelihood Award, known as “Alternative Nobel Prize,” and the Louis Bromfield Award. In 2007 he received the University of Kansas Distinguished Service Award and was one of the 2011 recipients of the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Distinguished Alumni Awards.

The event is sponsored by the departments of Visual Art and Sociology, the Environmental Studies Program, the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, and The Commons.


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