June 27, 2019
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Saving God’s Creation: The Distinctively New England Roots of Land Conservation

Event organizer: Melinda Rice
Event Date & Time: June 19, 2018 7:00 pm until June 19, 2018 8:00 pm
Contact email: mrice@jesuplibrary.org

Join author and historian Dr. Ronald H. Epp at the Jesup Memorial Library on Tuesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. as he leads an exploration of the history of land conservation in New England. In the post-Civil War 1800s, a handful of prominent pioneers worked to promote open—and sometimes wild—landscapes.

Epp’s talk will begin with the Puritan belief that as agents of God’s will, nature must be subdued for personal needs. Three centuries later landscape architect Charles Eliot established the first land trust for the enjoyment of the public in perpetuity. Epp will explain how this movement for preserving wild land began with early environmentalists including Eliot as well as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, George Perkins Marsh, Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Frederick Law Olmsted, Join Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and Theodore Roosevelt. These men were troubled by the contests between religion and society, nature and culture, and by the advent of industrialization, deforestation, urbanization, population growth and transportation innovations. They began their work to stem this by the creation of land trusts and sanctuaries.

Epp is the author of “Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr,” the first biography of Dorr which was published during Acadia National Park’s Centennial Year by Friends of Acadia (FOA). He debuted the book at a joint talk with FOA at the Jesup which drew over a hundred attendees. He is a historian and professor of philosophy with a background in scholarly publishing and academic library leadership. He currently teaches in the Presidents’ College at the University of Hartford. As part of its Distinguished Lectures Series, he has been invited to give a talk this October to the Lenox Library Association on the impact of the Berkshires to the development of the national park on Mount Desert Island. Epp’s research over the last two decades into the Massachusetts families who influenced the development of conservation philanthropy led to “Creating Acadia National Park.” Dozens of talks at bookstores, libraries, historical societies, and museums throughout the Northeast followed. Epp served as a consultant for the Ken Burns documentary “America’s Best Idea: the National Parks” and has uncovered and inventoried hidden collections of documents relating to the history of Acadia National Park and the origins of the National Park Service.

Copies of “Creating Acadia National Park” will be on sale that night courtesy of co-sponsor Sherman’s Books.

For more information on this talk contact the Jesup at 207-288-4245 or mrice@jesuplibrary.org.