Southern Plains Conference

SPC Conference Banner


2020 Southern Plains Conference 

“Representing, Modeling, and Imagining Water on the Southern Plains” 

Brought to you by West Texas A&M University’s (WTAMU) Center for the Study of the American West (CSAW) and the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM). 

Feb. 20-22, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, TX 

View the 2020 Southern Plains Conference program HERE

Educators: Earn up to 9 CPE credits for attending the conference (or earn 3 credits for attending Thursday, 6 credits for attending Friday). A sign-in sheet will be provided each day. Registration is also reduced to $20/person for teachers. 

The Center for the Study of the American West (CSAW) will present its second biennial Southern Plains Conference, “Representing, Modeling, and Imagining Water on the Southern Plains,” February 20-22, at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. The conference theme, which changes every two years, brings attention to how experts, including scientists, measure and understand the Ogallala Aquifer, and then how they help the general public see and understand it in turn.

Confirmed speakers include Merri Lisa Trigilio, geoscientist and filmmaker of Written on Water; Julene Bair, author of The Ogallala Road; and Kenna Lang Archer, environmental historian and co-author of Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land. West Texas A&M University faculty presenting at the conference include environmental engineer Nathan Howell, agricultural scientist Lal Almas, and environmental historian Byron Pearson. The program also includes professionals and practitioners from the region.

The conference will begin on the afternoon of Thursday, February 20, with a panel discussion on the conference theme featuring a slate of cross-disciplinary perspectives. Thursday evening will feature a screening of Written on Water followed by a Q&A featuring Merri Lisa Trigilio. Friday will be a full day of panels and keynote speakers, with lunch provided. On Saturday morning, WTAMU’s School of Engineering will present a learning activity for K-12 students, free at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum.

Sponsors for the conference include WTAMU’s School of Engineering and College of Agriculture, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the Texas Panhandle Audubon Society, and the Dixon Water Foundation.

View the press release here


To register to attend the conference as an audience member please email contact information to (Full name, email, phone number, affiliation/location), call (806) 651-5238 to provide this information (please leave a voicemail if no answer), or mail it to:

WTAMU Box 60967
Canyon, TX 79016

Attendee registration is $40/person and includes a dessert reception on Feb. 20 and lunch on Feb. 21. Registration is reduced to $20 for teachers and is free for WTAMU and AC students, faculty, and staff with valid ID (WTAMU and AC folks: please still RSVP to so we have a headcount for food).  

Send checks made payable to “WTAMU CSAW” with memo: “SPC 2020” to the above address with registration information.

Payments can be made with credit or debit card by calling the WTAMU Foundation at: (806) 651-2070.


SPC Proceedings Cover

2018 Southern Plains Conference

February 22-23, 2018--Shaping a Sense of Place

In February, CSAW partnered with nonprofit and leadership organization Ogallala Commons to bring back the Southern Plains Conference. The two-day conference, held at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas, invited speakers who considered the theme of "Shaping a Sense of Place on the Southern Plains" from various disciplinary and professional perspectives. 
CSAW would like to thank the Tecovas Foundation for their generous support of this event.