CSAW Opens Registration for 2020 Southern Plains Conference


Jan. 21, 2020

CONTACT: Dr. Alex Hunt, 806-651-2457, ahunt@wtamu.edu


CSAW Opens Registration for 2020 Southern Plains Conference

CANYON, Texas—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,” Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 20-22, at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM). The topic of the conference, which changes every two years, is regional water resources, especially the Ogallala Aquifer, and how water issues are understood.

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

“This conference is really about the relationship between perception and reality,” CSAW Director Alex Hunt said. “We’ve all heard the old saying ‘perception is reality.’ If that’s a one-way street, it’s a dangerous idea.”

Conference presenters will discuss their various methods of measuring and mapping water resources and how they represent this information in their research and to the public.

“My hope with this conference is to bring attention to how our reality ought to inform our perceptions, and therefore our actions,” said Hunt.

The conference will begin on the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 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, WT’s School of Engineering will present a learning activity for K-12 students, free at the PPHM.

Sponsors for the conference include WT’s School of Engineering and College of Agriculture, the PPHM, the Texas Panhandle Audubon Society, and the Dixon Water Foundation.

To register for the conference as an audience member, please submit contact information (including full name, phone number, email address and affiliation/location) to csaw@wtamu.edu, (806) 651-5238 (please leave a voicemail if no answer), or mail to: CSAW Attn: Alex Hunt, 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 free for WT students with valid ID. Send checks made payable to “WTAMU CSAW Southern Plains Conference” to WTAMU Foundation, PO Box 60766, Canyon, TX 79016. Payments can be made with credit or debit card by calling the Foundation at: (806) 651-2070.

While the program is filling, CSAW is still accepting presentation proposals. Queries should be sent to CSAW director Alex Hunt, at ahunt@wtamu.edu.

About the Center for the Study of the American West 

CSAW formed in the fall of 2016 with a mission of fostering the study of the American West at WTAMU and building bridges between the University, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, and the regional populace. CSAW seeks to promote the American West both as a culturally unique region and a product of broad historical forces. Through this endeavor, CSAW remains dedicated to cultivating a critical vision of region and place in a globalized era. For more information, contact: csaw@wtamu.edu or 806-651-5238.