WOHLFORTH Arctic Visiting Speaker Tours
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Author Charles Wohlforth traveled to Everett, Washington to present and discuss his book "The Fate of Nature" with seventy-five high school students enrolled in the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA). All ORCA students had prepared for his visit by reading and discussing his book prior to his coming. His discussion focused on the impact of human activity on the arctic and marine environments, and how culture affects our creation of personal and social intensions for use of natural resources and protection of other species. Following his one hour presentation, Charles met for two hours with smaller groups of 18-20 students to respond to their questions.
In addition to Charles's visit with ORCA students and faculty, he also presented a similar lecture on his book to a small group of faculty on the Everett Community College campus.
Charles Wohlforth is a life-long Alaska resident and prize-winning author of numerous books about Alaska. His work includes writing about science and the environment, politics and history, travel, and as-told-to biography. A popular lecturer, he has spoken all over the United States and overseas. Wohlforth lives with his wife, Barbara, and their four children. They reside in Anchorage during the winter, where they are avid cross-country skiers, and in summer on a remote Kachemak Bay shore reachable only by boat.
Comments From Previous Tour Hosts
"We are thrilled to have had Charles Wohlforth visit our school. He has had a profound impact on our students, many of whom are wrestling with conducting science in the marine environment and all of whom are wrestling with the relationship between humans and their environment. The Arctic is a stark and living laboratory for engaging in a quality discussion about these two issues."
Josh Searle, Ocean Research College Academy
"Charles Wohlforth is a gem and well worth your support. He continues to inspire and challenge the thinking of our students. We are thankful to have had him visit."
Josh Searle, Ocean Research College Academy
Author Charles Wohlforth (The Whale and the Supercomputer; The Fate of Nature), spoke to students of the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA) on November 10, 2010. ORCA is an early college high school academy found on the campus of Everett Community College, located in Everett, Washington. ORCA uses the local marine environment as the unifying theme to integrate the core academic disciplines. Students at ORCA have been studying Wohlforth's work on arctic science and the importance of culture in environmental issues.
Charles' main talk featured a 40-minute slide lecture on ocean and arctic environmental problems. He focused on how changes in social norms affect the human relationship with nature, and how understanding these are key to addressing issues of climate change, sea ice loss, and ocean acidification. The talk entwined many branches of learning including physical science, economics, anthropology, psychology, and the influence of spirituality.
Along with the presentation, Charles also conducted a question-and-answer session with the 85 ORCA students and the invited Everett Community College students and instructors. Charles states, "The preparation of the students was nothing short of extraordinary. The level of discussion in each of the sessions was at a level as high or higher than I encounter with graduate students and college faculty." Those invited included Global Studies students and the deans of the Math and Science and Social Science divisions.
Following the large group question-and-answer session, Charles hosted smaller break-out sessions with English teacher Josh Searle and the first year ORCA students currently enrolled in a course entitled "Negotiating Nature." The class has been reading excerpts from Charles' latest book, and had the opportunity to discuss with Charles how the human perspective of nature informs how humans value nature.
A faculty luncheon for Charles was hosted by ORCA. Interested Everett Community College faculty were also in attendance.
During February 2008, writer Charles Wohlforth delivered illustrated presentations on arctic marine habitats and conservation, and the role of native peoples and global warming. Mr. Wohlforth lectured at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) to a group of approximately 50-100 people, consisting of PTMSC members and volunteers, local students and teachers, residents, and visitors to Fort Worden State Park.
While in Port Townsend, Charles met with Americorps young people. He also presented a talk titled "Writing About Eskimos and Climate Change," to students from Blue Heron Middle School and Port Townsend High School.
Charles Wohlforth is a lifelong Alaska resident and was lead reporter on the Exxon Valdez oil spill for the Anchorage Daily News. In 1993 he became a full-time freelance writer. Mr. Wohlforth has a unique perspective on arctic science, combining extensive experience with scientists, local native peoples and a journalist's understanding of how best to communicate with the general public. Charles authored the book, The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change. This book, written for a general audience, explores arctic climate change from the perspective of Eskimo whalers and scientific researchers in Barrow, Alaska. Charles illustrates the challenges and rewards resulting from the knowledge exchange between these two cultures, and delves into broader social issues concerning global warming.
Alaskan author Charles Wohlforth traveled to California to present a series of slide lectures describing his book The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change. During his talks, Wohlforth described the Iñupiat whaling tradition and how it was shaped by climate change 1,000 years ago. He also discussed how the community of Barrow, Alaska is adapting to environmental changes today.
Wohlforth began his tour with a public lecture at San Francisco State University. He then traveled to Monterey and lectured at the Monterey Institute of International Studies as part of the school's Distinguished Speakers Series. A reception followed his presentation. Next Wohlforth traveled to Burbank and appeared on Airtalk with Larry Mantle. This show is broadcast on 89.3 KPCC public radio in Pasadena. Lastly, Wohlforth spoke to high school students at the Ocean Research College Academy, which is an early college high school academy in Everett, Washington. The Whale and the Supercomputer was a summer reading assignment and Wohlforth's lecture gave students the opportunity to ask him questions about his experiences in Barrow. Wohlforth interacted with approximately 200 people on this tour.
In early January 2005, Alaskan author Charles Wohlforth once again participated in the Arctic Visiting Speakers' Program. For this tour, Wohlforth traveled to San Diego and presented a public lecture during the opening session of the Annual Meeting of the American Meteorology Society. One of the primary themes of the meeting was "Living in the Coastal Zone" and Wohlforth aptly illustrated his experiences in native villages of northern Alaska where lifestyles are changing due to the shifting Arctic environment .
He also participated in WeatherFest, an interactive science and weather fair open to the public and geared especially toward K-12 students. WeatherFest featured exhibits on meteorology, oceanography, and other related sciences. Overall, Wohlforth reached nearly 300 participants providing an opportunity to better understand high-latitude climate change and its impact on the indigenous Alaskan population.
Over the course of two weeks in September 2004, Alaskan author Charles Wohlforth spoke at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Yale, Oregon State University, and the University of Washington. Wohlforth’s discussions and accompanying slide show presentations at these institutions focused on his new book "The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change."
Based on first hand experience, his talks described how the Eskimo whalers and scientific researchers of Barrow, Alaska perceive and respond to a changing Arctic environment.