SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Tyson Family Lecture Series on the Preservation and Restoration of Southern Ecosystems at Wofford College will present the 20th anniversary celebration of Janisse Ray’s book “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood” with two events on Thursday, March 7. Both events are free and open to the public.
A panel discussion, “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood: Three Eco-Perspectives” will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Anna Todd Wofford Center in the Andrews Field House; a reception will follow. Participating in the discussion will be Dr. Peter K. Brewitt, assistant professor of environmental studies at Wofford; geologist, educator and editor Dorinda Dallmeyer; and poet and eco-critic Tara Powell.
Ray will deliver the Tyson Family Lecture, “Overstory and Understory: Longleaf Pine for the Long Run,” at 7 p.m. in Leonard Auditorium in Main Building. Introductory remarks will be given by Dr. George Tyson, a 1972 Wofford graduate and founder of the Tyson Family Lecture series, and John Lane, professor and director of Wofford’s Goodall Environmental Studies Center at Glendale, S.C.
In 1999, Ray published “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” soon thereafter spending a week in Spartanburg as a writer-in-residence for the Lawson’s Fork River Festival organized by the Hub City Writers Project. While she was in Spartanburg, The New York Times published a full-page profile of her, saying, “The forests of the Southeast find their Rachel Carson.”
“Ecology of a Cracker Childhood” since has sold 200,000 copies in various editions.
Discussion panelist Brewitt and his colleague Dr. Cynthia T. (Cissy) Fowler, led an Interim course on fire ecology, and Brewitt’s study on dam removal, “Same River Twice,” is due out in April from the Oregon State University Press.
Dallmeyer recently retired after 13 years directing the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia. She has edited many books on the Southern environment, including “Bartram’s Living Legacy: The Travels and the Nature of the South” from Mercer University Press.
Powell teaches in English and Southern studies at the University of South Carolina. Her book, “The Intellectual in Twentieth Century Southern Literature,” is a masterful study of writers, their places and their minds.
The Tyson Family Lecture on the Preservation and Restoration of Southern Ecosystems, established in 2012 by Dr. George Tyson, Duke University class of 1977, within the purview of the Wofford’s Environmental Studies Program, is an annual lectureship devoted to issues related to the preservation, restoration and sustainability of Southern ecosystems. The speakers reflect the entire range of the multidisciplinary approach of environmental studies and may include individuals from academia, business, industry, government, the arts or the nonprofit sector.