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January 28, 2008

Public Radio Host to talk about the Natural History of the Connecticut River Valley

The first lecture honoring C. John Burk, who retired in 2007 as the E.D. Simonds Professor of Biological Sciences after nearly 50 years on the Smith College faculty, will be held at 2:40 p.m. Feb. 4 in Weinstein Auditorium. Read an interview with Burk.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – The host and producer of a popular local public radio series on the environment will lecture at Smith College about the natural history of the Connecticut River Valley and its influence on the nation’s art, culture and sciences.

Naturalist Laurie Sanders, a Connecticut native who was introduced to the Pioneer Valley when she enrolled at Smith, will deliver the first lecture in honor of C. John Burk, emeritus professor of biological sciences. Her talk will begin at 2:40 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4, in the Weinstein Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.

Sanders, Smith Class of 1988, hosts the show “Field Notes,” which explores different aspects of the region’s natural history – from special habitats to the life cycles of individual plants and animals – and profiles people involved with safeguarding the environment, every Monday during “Morning Edition,” which airs shortly after 6:30 and 8:30 a.m.

As a child growing up next to several hundred acres of undeveloped land in Connecticut, Sanders cultivated an interest in the natural world. As a teenager, she spent most afternoons visiting streams, crisscrossing the woods near her parents’ house and exploring a red maple swamp and an open tussock marsh. Sanders often poled through the marsh on a homemade raft, watching wildlife and identifying plants.

“What surprised me was that basically I was the only one who ever went there, and here was a place that was full of interesting plants and animals,” Sanders explains on her “Field Notes” Web site. “I think that ‘Field Notes’ is an outgrowth of that experience. It’s a way for me to share my appreciation for the richness and diversity of the natural world.”

In the 1990s, Sanders produced more than 30 segments for public television and, in 1999, began producing “Field Notes” for WFCR, a local NPR affiliate.

The event is sponsored by Smith’s Landscape Studies Program, the first program at a liberal arts undergraduate college in the United States to join architecture, landscape architecture, landscape history and theory, art, art history and literature with the sciences and social sciences to pursue critical issues surrounding the relationship of humans to both natural and built environments.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
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