Severson Dells Notes: Author Scott R. Sanders returns to Severson Dells Sept. 18

A_reefer3By Don Miller

Education Director, Severson Dells Nature Center

Scott R. Sanders is presenting at Severson Dells Nature Center from 7 to 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 18. He will read and discuss the thoughts and words from his most recent book, A Conservationist Manifesto.

Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land, says of Sanders’ new book, “Sanders’ A Conservationist Manifesto is a book to be savored—for its language, its stories, its sense of place, and for how it reminds us of the profound relationships with nature and each other that can inspire us to change how we live on this planet.”

A Conservationist Manifesto addresses what Sanders says is the greatest challenge facing our society; the change from a culture based on consumption to one of caretaking.

In an interview April 22, with Grist staff writer Jonathan Hiskies, Sanders replied when asked about the title of his new book being confrontational:

“Maybe it is, but so is every billboard, every TV advertisement, every speech calling for endless growth, every Hummer on the highway, every assault on the Endangered Species Act, every call for drilling in wildlife refuges. If we plead, ‘Don’t forget that we share the planet with millions of other species, that we are degrading the living conditions for all beings including ourselves, that we are betraying future generations’—if we say all of that mildly and meekly, we have no chance of being heard in our cultural cacophony. We need to be forceful in challenging the ruinous path we’re on and the media and ideology that keep pushing us along that path. I hope that A Conservationist Manifesto is written in a measured, thoughtful, lucid way. But I also hope the book conveys a sense of ethical and practical urgency. Right now, anything less than urgency is inadequate to our situation.”

Sanders is one of the most gentle, articulate, compassionate intellectuals to come through this region, and you will not want to miss him.

Sanders is the author of more than 20 books of fiction and nonfiction, including Hunting for Hope, Writing from the Center, and A Private History of Awe. He is winner of the Lannan Literary Award, John Burroughs Essay Award for Natural History, AWP Award in Creative Nonfiction, and the 2009 Mark Twain Award. Fee: $5/members of “Friends of Severson Dells,” $7.50/non-members. Call to reserve a seat: (815) 335-2915.

Don Miller is education director at Severson Dells Nature Center, 8786 Montague Road, Rockford. For more about Severson Dells, visit

From the September 16-22, 2009 issue.

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