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Lecture Focuses on Threatened Ecology of Galapagos Islands

(Posted October 11, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Three biologists, a philosopher and a religion professor from Juniata College will discuss an educational excursion the group took to study the ecology and environment of the Galapagos islands in the talk "The Galapagos Islands: Politics of Preserving Paradise" at 4:30 p.m.. Wednesday, Oct. 13 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The talk is part of the Bookend Seminar series, which features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata College faculty.

This past summer five Juniata faculty journeyed to the Galapagos: Randy Bennett, associate professor of biology; John Matter, associate professor of biology; Doug Glazier, professor of biology; Xinli Wang, associate professor of philosophy; and Don Braxton, associate professor of religion. All of the faculty except Matter teach the Juniata course "God, Evolution and Culture," a cultural analysis course that focuses on how Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has been perceived both by religious groups and society.

The presentation will focus on the natural beauty and ecology of the Galapagos Islands, which are located off the coast of Ecuador. The professors will discuss how the island's resources are being threatened by the encroachment of civilization.

The talk will be generously illustrated by photographs of the often unique plants and animals native to the islands juxtaposed with photographs of the growing human presence on the islands. The five faculty members will lead a discussion centered on the value of a wild "paradise" and the diverse and often opposing viewpoints of scientists, business leaders, conservationists, governmental officials, tourists and local residents on how best to preserve or use that resource.

The faculty trip was sponsored by Brethren Colleges Abroad, the J. Omar Good Endowment, the William J. von Liebig Foundation and Juniata College.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.