EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Writer Anders Halverson will speak about "An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World," in the first installment of the High Country Speaker Series on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Avon Public Library.
Suppose more than a century ago, U.S. government officials became concerned that democracy itself was at risk because men seemed to be less virile, duller and more effeminate.
Suppose that to reverse that trend they decided to populate streams, rivers and lakes with an entirely synthetic fish - quarry with which Americans could rediscover their abilities to capture and kill animals.
And then suppose that, up to present day, these fish were being produced and distributed on a massive scale, sometimes even being trained like gladiators and pumped full of the same supplements as the best human athletes so that they would provide a better fight.
Such is the true and fascinating story of the rainbow trout. A formidable opponent for fishermen and an easy-to-raise source of food, the rainbow trout has indeed "liberated" fishable waters in every continent expect Antarctica. Sometimes vilified for their devastating effects on the native fauna, sometimes glorified as the preeminent sport fish, the rainbow trout is the repository of more than a century of America's contradictory philosophies about the natural world.
Exhaustively researched and rendered by award-winning journalist, aquatic ecologist, and lifelong fisherman Anders Halverson, this presentation will chronicle the discovery of the rainbow trout, their artificial propagation and distribution, and explore why they are being eradicated in some waters and yet are still the most commonly stocked fish in the United States.
Halverson is an award-winning writer with a Ph.D. in ecology from Yale University. He wrote the book "An Entirely Synthetic Fish" as a research associate at the University of Colorado's Center of the American West with a grant from the National Science Foundation.
This year the High Country Speaker Series, a partnership between the Eagle Valley Library District and Walking Mountains Science Center, is collaborating with the Eagle River Watershed Council to bring environmental speakers focusing on water issues to our community.
Other speakers in this series on water include: Feb.12: George Sibley, author of "Water Wranglers: The 75 Year History of the Colorado River District," who will provide an historical perspective. Feb. 27: Zak Podmore will present his documentary film "Down the Colorado." March 11 Jim Lochhead, chief executive officer/manager for Denver Water, will discuss the delicate balance of water issues between Western Slope and Front Range residents.
The High Country Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended but not required. For more information, or to make a reservation, call the Avon Public Library at 970-949-6797 or Walking Mountains Science Center at 970-827-9725.