High Country Speaker Series begins Tuesday, Jan. 10, in Avon | VailDaily.com

High Country Speaker Series begins Tuesday, Jan. 10, in Avon

Daily staff report

AVON — Walking Mountains Science Center and the Eagle Valley Library District are once again bringing a lineup of authors, explorers, photographers and local historians to the Eagle Valley beginning Tuesday.

The theme of the 15th anniversary High Country Speaker Series is "The Past and Present, a series focused on change in the Rocky Mountains." Speakers, many of whom have presented at High Country Speaker Series in the past, will be discussing the changes they've witnessed and studied since their arrival in the high country.

The mission of the High Country Speaker Series is to encourage environmental awareness, inspire positive relationships with the natural world, and to create thought-provoking dialogue in our community.

2017 speaker lineup

• "A Century of Changing Rivers," with Jonathan Waterman, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Walking Mountains Science Center, Avon — The presentation is based on Waterman's journey of discovery down the Colorado River, which led him to explore and extensively photograph rivers throughout the Southwest.

Waterman's conclusions from several years of road tripping combined with river running and chasing down early photographs, is that naturally wet pre-20th century conditions — long before the modern phenomenon of climate change — made the Southwest very different than it is today. Now, with population growth and its huge demand upon water, along with new, man-made climate drying, rivers are slowly disappearing throughout the Southwest.

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Prior to the lecture, at 5 p.m., there will be a special kickoff reception to 15 years of the High Country Speaker Series, with donations from New Belgium Brewing. All are ages welcome. A Q-and-A discussion and book signing will follow the lecture.

• "Pioneers and Pluck: Eagle County History," Kathy Heicher, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, Avon Public Library — Heicher has been a resident of the Eagle Valley since arriving fresh out of college in 1972 to take a job as editor of the local weekly newspaper, the Eagle Valley Enterprise.

A graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in journalism, Heicher worked for various newspapers and magazines in the valley and greater region. Although she has written thousands of news stories, Heicher admits she has always had a soft spot for local history feature stories. She has earned numerous awards during her journalism career.

Now retired from newspaper writing, Heicher has turned her attention and writing skill to preserving Eagle County history. She has authored three local history books. Her most recent book, "The Bridges of Eagle County," was the winner of the 2016 Caroline Bancroft Project Award from History Colorado. The award recognizes projects that have made a significant contribution to Colorado history.

• "Outdoors in the Southwest," with Andrew Gulliford, 2 p.m. Saturday, March 18, Avon Public Library — Gulliford, professor of history and environmental studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango, will lecture on his book "Outdoors in the Southwest: An Adventure Anthology." The book won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for nature and environment and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Best Book on Arizona because of the many references to the Grand Canyon. "Outdoors in the Southwest" also won the Colorado Book Award for Best Anthology.

Gulliford will read and reflect on passages from the book, with particular reference to "looking for history" and what can be learned from archaeological and historical sites on America's public lands. He will also discuss "catch and release arrowhead hunting" and "wilderness tithing," or giving back to public lands through volunteer projects. He encourages audiences to share their hiking and mountain climbing experiences.

• "This Land is Your Land," with Dyana Furmansky, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6, Walking Mountains Science Center, Avon — Furmansky's presentation focuses on the history of the White River National Forest, one of the earliest forest reserves drawn from the public domain. She explains why far-seeing federal management of the White River is essential to assure that all public lands be retained as the nation's natural inheritance for the benefit of all Americans and how this effort is up to us.

Change is the only constant in life, wrote Heraclitus, and in the high country, we are at ground zero for witnessing many of the exciting and ominous changes that can help shape our future. Through the High Country Speaker Series, Walking Mountains Science Center and the Eagle Valley Library District invite you to come experience the changes and take an ownership stake in what our futures will become.

High Country Speaker Series

• 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 — “A Century of Changing Rivers,” with Jonathan Waterman, Walking Mountains Science Center, 318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon

• 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 — “Pioneers and Pluck: Eagle County History,” with Kathy Heicher, Avon Public Library, 200 Benchmark Road, Avon

• 2 p.m. Saturday, March 18 — “Outdoors in the Southwest,” with Andrew Gulliford, Avon Public Library, 200 Benchmark Road, Avon

• 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6 — “This Land is Your Land,” with Dyana Furmansky, Walking Mountains Science Center, 318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/hcss or http://www.evld.org/hcss.