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'Tarball Chronicles' to lead off Santee Cooper Series

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2010-09-23

Author David Gessner guest speaker at Sept. 27 program
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – “The Tarball Chronicles,” a look at the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico featuring a talk by nationally renowned environmental author David Gessner, will lead off the 2010-11 Santee Cooper Lecture Series at Wofford College on Monday, Sept. 27.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 1:05 p.m. in the AAAS Room in the Burwell Building on Wofford’s campus.

Wofford and Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility, began the Santee Cooper Lecture Series in 2009 to provide the college and the Spartanburg community with “a powerful forum for meetings and discussions with some of the leading thinkers in the world on the issues of energy and sustainability,” according to John Lane, director of the Wofford’s Goodall Environmental Studies Center and an associate professor of English. The series is being hosted by the college’s Environmental Studies Program.

The second lecture in the series will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28, in Leonard Auditorium in Main Building. Former Austin, Texas, mayor Will Wynn will speak on “Sustainable Cities.”

David Gessner will speak on his insights on the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, based on his recent blog “Into the Gulf.” Gessner is the author of six books, including “Sick of Nature,” “The Prophet of Dry Hill” and “Return of the Osprey,” which was chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the top 10 non-fiction books of the year and by the Book-of-the-Month Club as one of its top books of the year. The Globe called the book a “classic of American nature writing.”

His latest book is “Soaring with Fidel,” in which he follows the osprey migration from Cape Cod to Cuba and Venezuela and back. In 2006, he won a Pushcart Prize, and in 2007, he won the John Burroughs Award for Best Natural History Essay. In 2008, his essay “The Dreamer Does Not Exist” was chosen for the Best American Nonrequired Reading. His work has appeared in many magazines and journals, including the New York Times Magazine, the Boston Globe, Outside, the Georgia Review, the Harvard Review, and Orion.

Gessner has taught environmental writing at Harvard and currently is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he edits the national literary journal Ecotone.

To read Gessner’s “Baptism at Tarball Beach” (Day 1), go to http://billanddavescocktailhour.com/day-1-baptism-at-tarball-beach/.

To read his “Into the Gulf” (Day 12), see http://billanddavescocktailhour.com/day-12-limping-homeward/.

For more information about David Gessner, visit www.davidgessner.com.

The Oct. 28 lecture by Will Wynn also is free and open to the public.

Wynn served two terms as mayor of Austin, after having served on the city council. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in environmental design, he chaired the U.S. Conference of Mayors Energy Committee and helped to drive national debate on federal energy policy and climate protection. As mayor, he also served as chairman of the board of Austin Energy, now considered by industry experts to be one of the most progressive, environmentally friendly electric utilities in the country. Under his leadership, Austin dramatically expanded both the requirements and market penetration of its green building program; nationally promoted plug-in hybrid electric vehicles; created the country’s most aggressive solar rebate programs; pushed for substantial upgrades to the International Energy Conservation Code; and created a citywide climate protection program, seen by environmentalists as “the country’s most aggressive municipal initiative aimed at reducing greenhouse gases,” according to Newsweek magazine. President Obama has called Wynn “a national leader on energy policy.”

For more information about the Santee Cooper Lecture Series, contact Kelly Reid in the Wofford College Environmental Studies Program Office at reidkp@wofford.edu or 864-597-4967.