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Clark Family School of Environment and Sustainability

32nd Headwaters Conference: Grief and Hope in a Changing Climate

32nd Headwaters Conference: Grief and Hope in a Changing Climate

November 5-6, 2021 | Free and Open to the Public

Friday: Keynote Address

Keynote: William deBuys

Headshot of William DeBuys Date: Friday, November 5 at 7 p.m.

*Location: Rady 109

Renowned conservationist and environmental writer William DeBuys will read and share photos from his “accidental trilogy” (A Great Aridness, The Last Unicorn and Trail to Kanjiroba).  He will describe this journey from cataloguing climate threats in the southwestern United States, to tracking the last of a species in the deep forests of Lao PDR, to accompanying medical missions in the remote Himalaya of Nepal.  Along the way he witnessed grievous environmental depredations, but also found himself on a redeeming pilgrimage to hope – hope that humanity can care for, albeit not cure, our ailing planet

*Limited In Person Attendance

Zoom Option Available: https://western.zoom.us/j/97987428837

Register for free here: https://bit.ly/3EsEcFB


Speakers: Lynne Quarmby and Ayja Bounous

Headshot of Lynne Quamby Date: Saturday, November 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Location: https://western.zoom.us/j/96360435402 (zoom only)

We will hear from two authors wrestling with the urgent and enormous magnitude of climate change – grieving what has, or will soon be, lost while still finding solace and fortitude in nature, family and community.  Scientist, activist and author Lynne Quarmby will share readings and photos from Watermelon Snow: Science, Art, and a Lone Polar Bear.

Headshot of Ayja Bounous Skier and author Ayja Bounous will share readings and photos from Shaped by Snow: Defending the Future of Winter.  This session has a special focus on changing winter snow resources and will be facilitated by author and Western Colorado University Director of Nature Writing Laura Pritchett

Register for free here: https://bit.ly/3ErKPIv


Films: “Wild Climate” and “The Colorado”

Date: Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m. (limited in-person attendance)

*Location: Rady 109

“Wild Climate” (Directed by Peter and Virginia Sargent)


Rural communities are already experiencing the impacts of climate change. The evidence is staggering – everything from drought and wildfire intensification to livestock and crop losses.  Virginia and Peter Sargent set out to capture the stories of rural Americans fighting to keep their livelihoods and cultures intact, elevating these voices in climate change narratives and breaking through political barriers

Movie poster for "The Colorado" film; artwork featuring rivers and mountain landscape photography “The Colorado” (Directed by Murat Eyuboglu; cowritten by Murat Eyuboglu and William deBuys)


The Colorado, co-written by William deBuys and Murat Eyuboglu, and narrated by the stage legend Mark Rylance, takes us on a journey in nine chapters through the prehistoric settlements of the region to the impact of climate change. The Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, cellist Jeffrey Zeigler (Kronos Quartet), and composer-percussionist Glenn Kotche (Wilco) perform the film’s exhilarating score featuring work by composers John Luther Adams, William Brittelle, Glenn Kotche, Shara Nova, and National Sawdust Co-Founder and Artistic Director Paola Prestini. The filmmakers hope that “during these singular times of isolation, mourning, and reckoning… the wide-angle view and the elegiac tone of The Colorado will offer solace, perspective, and an opportunity to commune with the natural world”.

These filmmakers will be present to speak about their work

Limited In Person Attendance

Zoom Option Available: https://western.zoom.us/j/91225336279

Register for free here: https://bit.ly/3EthTzU

Coldharbour Kids Camp Available

Saturday, November 6 (10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

Register for free here: https://forms.gle/oDHjJiuJQqPdsyqq9

Please send any questions to Programs@ColdharbourInstitute.org or give us a call at 970.943.2023.

About Western Colorado University

Western Colorado University sits centrally in what could be called “the Headwaters Region of the Southwest”: a mountain-and-valley region of wonderful but difficult geographic and climatic diversity, and also of cultural diversity. Western’s “Headwaters Project” is part of the university’s effort to serve the mountain valleys of this region as a resource and rallying-point, as the region’s communities attempt to both retain unique cultural identities and still thrive in a globalizing and homogenizing world. The Project reaches out into the region interactively through the annual Headwaters Conference every autumn.

Learn More

Contact Headwaters Director Micah Russell, Ph.D. for more information. mrussell@western.edu

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