History professor James B. Hunt will present a talk about the ecology of Appalachia at 2 p.m. March 13 at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.
Hunt, who is being hosted by UNG’s Georgia Center for Appalachian Studies, will talk about conservationist John Muir and the ecology of Appalachia in the Special Collections Room of the Library Technology Center.
Hunt is professor emeritus of history at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., and co-founded the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship. He writes prolifically on the impact of youthful travels on American leaders such as John Quincy Adams, Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams and Muir.
Hunt’s new book, "Restless Fires: Young John Muir’s Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf in 1867-68," details the naturalist’s 1,000-mile walk from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico. The journey took him through the same Appalachian territory that is now home to UNG, and inspired him to live a life of experiencing and protecting nature.
In addition to founding the Sierra Club, Muir petitioned Congress for the National Parks Bill that established Yosemite and Sequoia National parks and is known as the "father of the national parks."
Rosann Kent, director of the Appalachian Studies Center, said she hopes the lessons Hunt can provide from Muir’s walk can be applied to the current state of the region.
"We were interested in Dr. Hunt because he also appreciates the nature of Appalachia and its diverse ecology," she said. "We don’t want to be locked in the past. We want to bring these lessons forward and see what we can do today to sustain this beautiful, diverse landscape we’re blessed with."
The center, which offers an interdisciplinary minor in Appalachian Studies, will offering a new course this summer, "Ecology of Appalachia," taught by Karrie Ann Fadroski of UNG’s biology department. Fadroski said students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the mountains, streams and wildlife of Appalachia in the same way that Muir did — by being in it.