CERA Summer Open House & Potluck

Sunday, July 13, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, CERA

The Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) is hosting an evening of exploration and local food this Sunday, July 13 beginning at 6:00 p.m. CERA manager, Elizabeth Hill will lead a guided walk through some of the preserve’s 365 acres and then dinner will be served with the help of the Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance. Dinner is potluck-style, so bring a dish to share if you would like.

Transportation to CERA is available and will leave from in front of the Joe Rosenfield Center (1115 8th Ave.) at 5:30 p.m. and return at 9:00 p.m. If needed, transportation back to campus prior to 9:00 p.m. is available. All are welcome and please RSVP, indication whether you need a ride and if you plan on brining food to share, to Liza Morse at [morseeli[at]grinnell[dot]edu].

This event is sponsored by CERA, the Center for Prairie Studies, and the Grinnell Area Local Foods Alliance.


Willliam (Bill) Stowe ’81, September 15, “Immersed in Water”

Willliam (Bill) Stowe ’81, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works

Bill Stowe

Monday, September 15, 7:30 PM, Faulconer Gallery

“Immersed in Water”

Bill Stowe is the CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works (DMWW). DMWW is a regional utility that protects public health by delivering outstanding quality water in reliable quantities. DMWW works closely with business, environmental and agricultural leaders to advocate for better stewardship of water resources and lead clean water initiatives throughout Central Iowa.

Bill graduated from Grinnell College with a Bachelor of Arts and received a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Science in Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois, and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Loyola University Law School.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies and the Faulconer Gallery.


Soundscape Walk with Abby Aresty at Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)

Two women walking under a beautiful orange sunset glow with a tree behind them

Soundscape Walk with Abby Aresty at Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)
Saturday, October 11, 3:00-5:30PM

The Listening Path

On Saturday, October 11, join Abby Aresty, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Electronic Music and Sound Studies, in the first of a series of creative site-specific listening experiments.  Experience the intersection of nature, sound, and mind on a 1.5 mile hike through CERA's wildlands.  

Please RSVP to Elizabeth Hill at [hilleliz] if you need transportation to CERA. Meet at the Joe Rosenfield Center drop-off area at 3:00 P.M. To drive separately meet in the Environmental Education Center’s parking area at CERA at 3:30 P.M. Please wear long pants and close-toed shoes for the 1.5 mile hike.

VANG: A Drama about Recent Immigrant Farmers

By Mary Swander and Dennis Chamberlin
Tuesday, October 14, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center Room 101

Middle-aged farmer with a bucket full of her farm produce

VANG: A Drama about Recent Immigrant Farmers

A Hmong family who fled Communist bullets and wild tigers through the jungle of Laos and across the Mekong River to a refugee camp in Thailand. A Sudanese man who was thrown into prison in Ethiopia for helping the Lost Boys and was left gasping for air through a crack under the door. A Mexican woman who taught herself English by looking up the meaning of the profane words that were hurled at her at her first job in a meat packing plant. A Dutch boy, dressed as a cowboy, who put the flag of the Netherlands through the paper shredder and declared, “I am an American.” These are some of the characters brought to life in “Vang.”

The immigrants whose stories are told in this drama came to Iowa from four continents, speaking over six different languages.  In their own ways, they adjusted to life in America. But all of these immigrants had grown up on farms and wanted to once again assume the livelihood that they had known in the past, the work that had formed the foundation of their cultural roots.

Poet Laureate of Iowa Mary Swander, Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Dennis Chamberlin, and ACT Kennedy Center award-winner Matt Foss, have collaborated to create a drama called “Vang” (meaning “garden” or “farm” in Hmong). Swander and Chamberlin documented recent Iowa immigrant farmers. Swander wound their words together to form a verbatim play that captures the immigrants’ journeys to the U.S. Hmong, Mexican, Sudanese, and Dutch immigrants all speak of their struggles, survival skills, and their intense desire to return to the land. Chamberlin took stunning photos of the immigrants in their greenhouses, farms, and dairy barns. Foss added his theatrical brilliance to the production, bringing “Vang” to life on the stage. And Michael Ching, past executive director of the Memphis opera, composed music to underscore the play’s message.

The public often thinks of farmers as white males of European ancestry living in isolated rural areas. And the public often thinks of immigrants as those who have slipped into the United States to take advantage of assistance programs. Vang reveals both impressions as false stereotypes and opens discussion about how farming is done in the United States and how immigrants have become part of the larger agricultural picture.

The entire play runs one hour and has two actors, male and female, who take on the parts of all 8 immigrants.

Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies as part of its “The Arts, Community, and Sustainability” theme for 2014-15.  Free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served.