Educational Presentations

All events are free and open to all. Programs on all dates except May 2022 are held 7 – 9 pm. At this time, program locations are to be determined (TBD) depending on the covid situation. If they are going to be held on Zoom, the link will be posted on the home page on the day of the meeting.

Updates to the program schedule will be posted on our Facebook page and web site at

Upcoming 2022 Presentations
August 2022:
Friends of Lawrence Area Trails
by Chris Tilden


Friends of Lawrence Area Trails is a relatively new non-profit organization in Lawrence and has already become an influential voice in community discussions about enhancing local trail systems. Board member Chris Tilden will talk about the organization’s recent history and its plans in coming years to promote healthy, active, outdoor lifestyles by encouraging ongoing development of a safe, fun, interconnected local and regional trail system.

BIO: Chris Tilden, PhD, is a long-time public health practitioner promoting policy, system, and environmental change to promote active, healthy lifestyles. Much of his work has focused on tobacco prevention, healthy food initiatives, and promoting a healthy natural and built environment. As the Director of Community Health at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department he led numerous initiatives funded through local, state, and federal grants to address societal factors associated with our leading causes of disease and death, which are primarily chronic diseases. Now, as a volunteer, he continues to promote these efforts, focusing primarily on ways to encourage active lifestyles in healthy, outdoor spaces. He has been the chair of LiveWell Lawrence as well as the coalition’s Healthy Built Environment Work Group, and is a board member of Friends of Lawrence Area Trails. 

September 2022:
Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains
by Lucas Bessire


Bessire's most recent book, Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains, was published by Princeton University Press in 2021. The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force.

Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the reader face to face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster. Yet the destination is far from predictable, as the book seeks to move beyond the words and genres through which destruction is often known. Instead, this journey into the morass of eradication offers a series of unexpected discoveries about what it means to inherit the troubled legacies of the past and how we can take responsibility for a more inclusive, sustainable future.

This event will take place at the Raven Book Store where copies of Running Out will be available for purchase and signing.

BIO: Lucas Bessire is an American writer, filmmaker and anthropologist.  His work focuses on politics, environment and media in the Americas. Bessire’s research has been supported by a variety of grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund of the Reed Foundation, the Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. Bessire has held visiting positions at the School for Advanced Research and New York University. He was a 2012-13 Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and a 2018-19 Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard. Currently, he is an associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. 

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October 2022:
Bird Movements in Kansas
by Dr. Alice Boyle


Boyle will discuss why Kansas is such an interesting place to study bird movement. She will describe an exciting new initiative that will dramatically improve the understanding of how birds use and move through the grasslands of Kansas.

BIO: Dr. Alice Boyle hails from Canada, has worked in wet tropical forests, and most recently, the tallgrass prairies of Kansas. She has been a professor at Kansas State University since 2012, teaching Ornithology and mentoring many graduate and undergraduate students in avian research. She is fascinated by bird movements—from local movements of tropical birds to the crazy dispersal movements of grassland birds.

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