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.


Artists and Scientists Confront Climate Change

Thursday, November 13, 4:15 P.M., BCA 152

In conjunction with the world premiere of Cynthia Folio's "Winds for Change: Concerto for Two Flutes, Strings, and Percussion," to be performed with the Grinnell  Symphony Orchestra on November 15,  a panel of artists and scientists will discuss the critical challenge that anthropogenic climate change presents to humankind and other life on Earth.  Folio's concerto (performed by the flute duo ZAWA! - Grinnell music faculty Claudia Anderson, and Jill Felber - and conducted by Eric Mcintyre) is a musical meditation on the effects of global warming.

The panelists include Folio, professor of music at Temple University, Sarita Zaleha, candidate for Master of Fine Arts in printmaking at the University of Iowa who recently had a solo exhibition at Minneapolis's Walker Art Center entitled "Mourning Global Warming," and Grinnell professor of biology David Campbell, author of The Crystal Desert: Summers in Antarctica and A Land of Ghosts: the Braided Lives of People and the Forest in Far Western Amazonia, and a long-time observer of the effects of climate change around the world.  The panel will be moderated by Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts, a Grinnell-based consultant to nonprofit organizations with a particular interest in policy and climate change.  The panel discussion will take place at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, November 13, in BCA 152. Refreshments will be served.  Co-sponsored by the Department of Music and the Center for Prairie Studies.

Map of My Kingdom Comes to Grinnell

Friday, November 14, 7:30 P.M.
Loft Theatre, Grinnell Arts Center

The Grinnell Area Arts Council will present Map of My Kingdom, a one-woman play written by Mary Swander, Iowa’s Poet Laureate, on Friday, November 14 at 7:30 pm in the Loft Theatre at the Grinnell Arts Center.  Tickets are $5.00 and are available for purchase at the Arts Center, Browns Shoe Fit, and McNally’s.

Commissioned by the Practical Farmers of Iowa, the production focuses on one central character – Angela Martin, a lawyer and mediator in land transaction disputes – as she shares stories of how farmers and landowners have approached their land transitions. Some families struggled to resolve the sale or transfer of their land, dissolving relationships. Others found peacefully rational solutions that focused on keeping the land – and the family – together.

“This production is a companion piece to Vang – that highlighted the stories of recent immigrant farmers – performed at Grinnell College in mid-October,” stated Christian Lutz, the Arts Council’s executive director. “Map of My Kingdom is very timely as our society is beginning to witness the largest transition of wealth – including farm land – between generations in the United States.”

The show stars Madeleine Russell, a professional actress based in Ames, and will be directed by Matt Foss, professor of acting and theatre history at the University of Idaho.  Before being appointed Poet Laureate in 2009, Mary Swander published over 13 books of poetry and non-fiction.  A dual citizen of Ireland and the United States, Swander serves as Professor of English and a Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts at Iowa State University.

The production is sponsored by Charnetski, Lacina & Clower LLP, the Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College, Paul & Mark Kolpin - Edward Jones Financial Advisors, Key Cooperative, Mahaffey Law Office, St. Francis Manor, and Schild Law Office.

The Grinnell Area Arts Council is a charitable nonprofit organization established in 1979 to promote, encourage, develop, and assist in the understanding, appreciation, and financial support of the arts and other cultural activities in the Grinnell area.  The Council pursues its mission through arts education, theatrical and musical performances, a farm-based artist residency, and an exhibition gallery.  To learn more about the Council and its programs, visit www.grinnellarts.org.


Prizewinning Documentary: Growing Cities

Thursday, December 4, 8:00 P.M., SCI 2021

60 minutes

Take a study break to come view Growing Cities​, a new award-winning documentary about urban farming in America. The filmmakers explore how much power urban agriculture has to uplift urban communities and change the food system. There will be local food snacks to enjoy during the film.

In their search for answers, filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette take a road trip and meet the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, rooftop garden, and backyard chicken coop at a time. Join them as they discover that good food isn’t the only crop these urban visionaries are harvesting. They’re producing stronger and more vibrant communities, too.

Spatial Blueprints: Paper Making Exhibit and Workshop

Saturday, December 6, 2:30-4:00 P.M., Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)

“Organic Tensions: Studies in Paper” (Smith Gallery, Grinnell College, 10/27/14-11/6/14) was part one of the work produced by Eden Marek as a part of her semester-long Mentored Advanced Project (MAP). In it, she explored themes of strength and tension using abaca fiber, wire, and prairie materials, with the creations serving as records of the inherent kinetic qualities that result when these materials and landscapes interact. “Spatial Blueprints” is a continuation of the handmade paper studies with a heavier emphasis on the landscape and ecosystems of the Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA). In her work, Marek addresses the appropriation of ecological space and uses blends of abaca and prairie grass fiber to map, cast, and place order on the land.

On December 6, the event at CERA (2:30-4:00PM) will include a live musical performance of Prairie Arias by Leah Meyer, a short talk and papermaking demonstration by Marek, and a papermaking workshop by Marek and Professor Lee Running in which people can make their own small sculptures of wire and handmade paper to take home.

Transportation to CERA is available: vans will leave JRC drop-off zone at 2:00PM and return at 4:30PM. Please contact Elizabeth Hill <hilleliz> to RSVP for transportation by Dec. 5, or with questions about event accessibility.