Friday, February 20, 2015

In the news...

We've talked a lot about oppression, ownership and stewardship of land and natural resources, narratives of American history, preservation, and patriotism this semester. A few of issues in the news this week resonate with many of our conversations.

Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado

President Obama talked about the importance of conservation and beauty when he designated new National Monuments this week:

"Conservation is a truly American idea.  The naturalists and industrialists and politicians who dreamt up our system of public lands and waters did so in the hope that, by keeping these places, these special places in trust -- places of incomparable beauty, places where our history was written -- then future generations would value those places the same way as we did.  It would teach us about ourselves, and keep us grounded and keep us connected to what it means to be American.  And it’s one of our responsibilities, as Americans, to protect this inheritance and to strengthen it for the future. And that’s why I’ve used my authority to set aside more public lands and waters than any President in history."

The three new monuments are Browns Canyon National Monument (Colorado), a home for bald eagles and big horn sheep in the Arkansas River Valley; Pullman National Monument (Illinois), the nation's first planned industrial town and the birthplace of the first African American labor union in the US; and Honouliuli National Monument (Hawaii), the site of a Japanese-American Internment Camp during World War II.

Several states are taking steps to ban the Advanced Placement American History course from their high schools in order to keep out "the bits of our history that might be uncomfortable, unflattering or even shameful — or, as some politicians call it, 'unpatriotic.'" For a synopsis of the state of this controversy see this Washington Post article.

And, today is Ansel Adams' birthday! Happy Birthday, AA! Learn some more fun facts about him here.
Ansel Adams Photographing Yosemite National Park

Lara Kuykendall

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