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Exposure to nature improves focus and concentration, reduces stress, mitigates symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhances spirituality, and can even foster community and caring for others. Ryan Reese will share his research, in which he tested the initial validity and reliability of the Reese EcoWellness Inventory. Participants will explore the practical implications of enhancing a connection with nature in order to promote optimum wellness. Attendees will also have the opportunity to share the personal and community impacts of spending time in special places in nature.
Elizabeth Marino, Research Associate, Program Lead and Instructor, Social Science
The First to Fall: Understanding Disasters, Migration, and Environmental Justice in an Era of Climate Change
Human-caused climate change will present significant challenges for communities, states, and nations in the coming centuries. One of the most important outcomes of climate change is likely to be increased rates of disaster. This talk considers climate change as an issue of human rights. The village of Shishmaref, Alaska is a community on the west coast of Alaska where serious changes in the environment, linked to global warming, are causing erosion and flooding events that are forcing people to move. Dr. Marino discusses the nature of disasters and how social injustice interacts with environmental changes.
Kara Witzke, Program Lead and Instructor, Exercise and Sports Science
Keep Bones Strong at Any Age - It's Never Too Late
Osteoporosis runs in families but just because it runs in yours doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a life of brittle bones and an early hip replacement. The right diet and exercise routine are key but many people don’t know exactly what this looks like. Is walking enough? Can I just drink a glass of milk every day to keep my bone density high? Kara Witzke presents her research and provides practical recommendations for improving bone health across the lifespan. She'll also share the emerging science of inflammation and its link to many chronic diseases, including osteoporosis.
Emily Carr, Program Director, MFA in Creative Writing
Membership (as the commercial says) Has Its Privileges
The Damsel is (still) in distress. Emily Carr means this quite literally. After three decades of struggle for liberation from their bodies, women are still confused about what it means to have power as well as self-esteem. How will liberated modern women pose alternative role models for young women growing up under the enormous influence of America’s Next Top Model, sexy pop singers, celebrity diets, casual sitcom sex, and CrossFit? Carr's primary objective in her current writing and research projects is to provoke multigenerational, interdisciplinary conversations about modern women's experience that many women who are dissatisfied with the status quo have wished for but never really had.
Christopher Wolsko, Assistant Professor, Psychology
On Mt. Rushmore Syndrome and Other Complexities of Contemporary Human—Nature Relation
This presentation introduces the emerging field of ecopsychology as a vehicle for understanding contemporary patterns of everyday neurosis, as well as mental health. Dr. Wolsko provides an overview of core theoretical and empirical work in the area, and discusses diverse findings from some of his research – on amenity migration in Bend, wellness in rural Alaska, and outdoor education in Singapore – that help illuminate the benefits and challenges of re-inhabiting our natural environments.