April 15, 2008

Lecture looks at environmental history in the making

To paraphrase Mark Twain, everybody talks about the environment, but nobody does anything about it.

Perhaps that was true some years ago, but there are a growing number of groups and individuals trying to make a difference today including Jim Baxter and Jeffrey White of the California Environmental Legacy Project.

The two will look to the past and the future to explore California's changing environment at the next Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lecture, 7 p.m., April 29, in the University Union Redwood Room.

Baxter is a biology professor and chair of Sacramento State's Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program. White is a biology professor and director of the Redwood Science Project at Humboldt State University. Both are co-founders and co-directors of the Legacy Project, a statewide collaborative effort among scientists, educators and media professionals to enhance public understanding about California's changing environment.

The Legacy Project uses educational programs and media resources to explore our relationship to a rapidly changing environment.

"This won't be your standard didactic presentation," Baxter says. "We view it something like a three act play. In act one, we frame the problem through a series of vignettes. In act two, we explore where we are today by using dramatic imagery to examine our relationship to environmental change and the dire implications of doing nothing or doing too little. In act three, we present the Legacy Project as one solution using California as a national case study."

Baxter and White are working with state and national parks, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Public Broadcasting Service to produce a television series for national broadcast and companion programs throughout California on the state's environmental legacy.

"The program uses artful storytelling and interactive digital media, to take viewers on a journey of discovery and inquiry into California's past, present, and possible future environments," Baxter says.

This is the final installment of four STEM-sponsored lectures held each academic year. All lectures are open to the public and are free.

For more information on the lecture topic, contact Baxter at (916) 278- 4047. For media assistance, contact the Sacramento State Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.