UW-Platteville Geography Program sponsoring two Earth Week events, public welcome

April 11, 2012

PLATTEVILLE - Two free events sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Geography Program and organized by Chris Underwood, UW-Platteville geography lecturer, will be held on campus this month in honor of Earth Week. Featured guests include the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Thistle and Thorns, and The Beehive Design Collective, all groups and organizations dedicated to social justice and environmental issues, and to ending mountaintop removal, which is most closely associated with coal mining in the eastern United States.

"I'm originally from the southern Appalachians, and the southern and central regions of this mountain range are ground zero for mountaintop removal mining," said Underwood about what motivated him to organize the events. "This will be beneficial for the community and university. Even though we don't necessarily have coal mining here, most of the United States, including us, is getting their electricity from the burning of coal. Mountaintop removal may not be happening where you live, but it still affects you."

On Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the Pioneer Crossing, which is located on the ground floor of the Markee Pioneer Student Center, Madison-based community folk music group Thistle and Thorns, led by singer Thistle of Madison and "Thorns" Celeste Abril Ixchtel, a musical saw player from Milwaukee; Jackie Wochos, a percussionist, back-up vocalist and keyboardist from Madison; and Ned Brown, a bass player who is also from Madison, will open the event with a concert tailored toward coal mining issues.

Later that same night, The Beehive Design Collective, whose mission is "to cross-pollinate the grassroots, by creating collaborative, anti-copyright images that can be used as educational and organizing tools," will give a presentation entitled "The True Cost of Coal," an interactive, image-based picture-lecture.

The BDC presentation is based on interviews the Beehive did with hundreds of community members throughout the Appalachian region. The Bees took what they learned, crafted it "into visual metaphors and wove them all together in a patchwork 'quilt' that they now share with audiences as a larger-than-life banner."

On Friday, April 20 at noon in Lundeen Lecture Hall, Room 103, in Doudna Hall, Adam Hall from the Keeper of the Mountains Foundation will give a talk, which is also open to the public, on mountaintop removal mining.

"This is a very important environmental issue," said Dr. Richard Waugh, UW-Platteville geography professor who is hosting KOTM during his Environmental Conservation course. "I want students to learn more about mountaintop removal, and though I have lectured on this topic before, KOTM knows more about it than I do and I want to find out more myself."

Waugh added that the redefinition of "fill material" by the previous presidential administration is what has allowed mining companies to use the mountaintop removal method, which used to be forbidden through the Clean Water Act that regulates discharges of pollutants into water as well as the quality of surface water.

For more information, contact Chris Underwood, lecturer, UW-Platteville Geography Program, (608) 342-6025, underwoodc@uwplatt.edu

Written by: Barbara Weinbrenner, communications specialist, UW-Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, weinbreb@uwplatt.edu

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