2018-2019 Philosophy Symposium – “The Environment, Ethics & Stewardship” (Part 3)

Our 2018-2019 Philosophy Symposium Series “The Environment, Ethics & Stewardship” looked at numerous philosophical issues & perspectives related to ethics, the environment, and conservation stewardship, ranging from:

  • Part 1: public vs. private land (including individual rights, collective rights, indigenous rights, other)
  • Part 2: landowner/steward-wildlife and habitat relationships (including agricultural, ranching & other relationships), and
  • Part 3: current & future environmental/conservation challenges

At this symposium — (Part 3 of 3) — six panelists from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds focused on the third of these three areas of discussion — current & future environmental and conservation challenges. What specifically was focused on within this overall topic varied based on the individual disciplines and life experiences of each speaker. Panelists spoke for 7-10 minutes each, then the forum was opened up to free-flowing audience-panelist Q & A.  Audio-video recordings of the panelist presentations and Q & A discussion can be found below.

Our Guest Panelists

Learn more about our guest panelists...

Ed Glowienka (Philosopher, Carroll College).  Ed is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Carroll College. He received his B.A. from the University of Scranton and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University. His research specialty is European philosophy of the 17th and 18th centuries. He writes and teaches on a broad range of topics in metaphysics and ethics.  Ed has twice received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities to co-direct a seminar entitled “Re-enchanting Nature: Humanities Perspectives,” the second iteration of which will be held here at Carroll in July. 

Mary Hollow (Conservationist, Prickly Pear Land Trust). Mary’s ancestors homesteaded a wheat farm south of Montana’s sweetgrass hills, still in the family today. She grew up in Helena and graduated from the University of Montana with degrees in Business finance administration and Economics. She worked for U of M’s trade center and then moved to Washington DC to work for Senator Max Baucus on the Committee on Finance. Montana beckoned but this foundation of government and policy knowledge would filter its way into everything else that followed.  Back in Montana Mary managed outfitting operations on the Missouri and Blackfoot rivers, and then joined The Nature Conservancy serving in land protection and government affairs roles until her move to Prickly Pear Land Trust.  As PPLT’s Director, Mary finds great joy in her team and wonderful board, working with key conservation stakeholders and as with all regional land trusts PPLT is bigger and stronger than ever. Recently it garnered national attention for work with veteran and disabilities communities on their Peaks to Creeks initiative. 

Nick Gevock (Conservationist, Montana Wildlife Federation).  Nick has served as the conservation director at the Montana Wildlife Federation since 2012. He worked for 11 years as a newspaper reporter in Bozeman and Butte, where he covered nearly every issue relevant to MWF including federal public lands, natural resource development, wildlife, fisheries, recreation, hunting and fishing regulations, endangered species and private land conservation.  Before that, Gevock worked as an archaeologist on projects ranging from a Paleolithic reindeer kill site in northern France, Mayan sites in Honduras and throughout the American West on sites in the Southwest, Pacific Northwest and Northern Great Plains. Today he works on key wildlife, habitat and public access issues on the local, state and federal level. That includes working on federal land policies including fighting efforts for the states to “takeover” federal lands, and lobbying the state Legislature on key bills that affect our public wildlife.

Patrick Burke (Philosopher, University of Montana).  Pat’s academic background includes a B.A. in philosophy from UC San Diego and advanced degrees in forest ecology and philosophy from the University of Montana.  He worked for the US Forest Service as a Wilderness Ranger and Trail Crew Foreman in the Anaconda-Pintler and Selway-Bitterroot Wildernesses. Subsequently, he founded and was President of Bitterroot Restoration (BRI) for twenty years—at the time BRI was the largest firm providing comprehensive ecological restoration services in the United States. For the last twelve years Pat has taught courses at the University of Montana in the Philosophy Department and the Davidson Honors College primarily in the areas of restoration ecology, environmental ethics, moral philosophy and the history of ideas.  Presently, he is particularly focused on issues related to climate change, the global ecological crisis and the future of the natural world in the Anthropocene.

Patricia Heiser (Earth Scientist, Carroll College).  Patricia completed an undergraduate degree in geology and ecology at the University of Vermont, and her Ph.D. in Geology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her graduate work focused on the Pleistocene glacial and sea-level history of the Bering Strait Region and Russian Far East. She spent a year in a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin Madison, investigating  ice age ‘fossil’ permafrost features, before taking a faculty position at Ohio University in Athens. There she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in geology, geomorphology, soil science, and climate change.  She missed the mountains, however, and before long found her way back to the University of Alaska Anchorage to teach geology and develop integrated science curriculum for education majors. Completing the circle, she returned to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to help build the geography program, teach, and continue research on paleoecology, lake system history, and tundra-forest ecotone dynamics in Southwestern Alaska.  Finally ready for perceptible sunshine in winter, Patricia came to Carroll College in 2012 and took over as Director of the Environmental Program. She teaches courses in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Geomorphology, Field Methods, and other field-based courses. She has engaged and/or advised student research ranging from tree-ring studies of fire history, to the paleoecology and climate history of Big Belt Mountains, to microplastic fiber content of lint accumulating on cave walls. Presently her students are probing the murky bottom of Lake Helena, reconstructing a continuous sediment record of landscape changes from post-glacial climate to early settlement and the impact of mining activities in the Helena Valley.

Ben Gabriel (Conservationist, Montana Wilderness Association).  Ben has worked in higher education, conservation and outdoor recreation for two decades. He began his career working on the rivers of the Southeast supervising guides for Wildwater Limited, and in city recreation in Columbus and Westerville Ohio.  In 2004, Ben moved west to work in higher education, launching and overseeing New Mexico State University’s Outdoor Recreation and Leadership Program for a decade. In 2014-2017, Ben moved solely into conservation serving as executive director of the Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in Las Cruces New Mexico building grassroots support and defending against threats to public lands and wild places.  Currently, Ben is the executive director of the Montana Wilderness Association, overseeing the organization’s strategy and operations based in Helena, MT.  MWA has seven offices across the state and its mission is to ‘Work with communities to protect Montana’s wilderness heritage, quiet beauty and outdoor traditions, now and for future generations.’ He is dedicated to ensuring Montana remains the last best place.  Ben holds a masters degree in higher education administration from NMSU and a Bachelors in Recreation Studies and Adventure Recreation from Ohio University. He enjoys being on the river, rock climbing, and backpacking, as well as hiking and camping with his wife Christa, their daughter Neko and two pups, Rosie and Taos.

Co-Directors & Facilitator

Learn more about our co-directors & facilitator...

Marisa Diaz-Waian is the Founder & Executive Director of Merlin CCC.  Born in Santa Monica, CA, she spent the majority of her formative years along the coastlines of Southern & Northern California.  As she grew older, Ennis, Bozeman & Helena, MT became regular stomping grounds.  Her summers were frequently spent fly fishing, bird watching & “wandering into the great wide open” with her late father (and buddy), Lee. B. Waian.  Marisa happily “hangs her hat” at Merlin Nature Preserve (located just outside of Helena) & serves as its trustee and steward.  A Summa Cum Laude graduate of San Diego State University, Marisa has an M.A. in Philosophy (and a B.A. in Psychology & Philosophy), was a high school & collegiate scholar-athlete & civilian member of the U.S. Marine Corps (Camp Pendleton) Women’s Basketball Team.  She has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and regularly participates/presents at academic & professional conferences and events.  Marisa also holds credentials in basic & elder mediation, advanced-status philosophical practitioner credentials in Logic-Based Therapy, is an assistant and trainer for the U.S. LBT Institute of Critical Thinking & the National Philosophical Counseling Association, a referee for The Journal of Ethics: An International Philosophical Review, and an Adjunct Philosophy Instructor at Carroll College.

Mark Smillie is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Carroll College. He received a B.A. from Thomas Aquinas College, and a Ph.D. in 1992, from the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in medieval philosophy, the Philosophy of Human Being, and teachers applied ethics courses in Bioethics, Business Ethics, and Environmental Ethics.  He recently co-edited the book, Augustine and the Environment. He has given papers/presentations on Thomas Aquinas, Catholic Identity, End of Life Decision-Making, Artificial Intelligence, and other issues.

Michael Chapman has been a loyal volunteer of the Merlin team since we opened our doors for business in the Winter of 2015.  In addition to research and assistance with many of our community events, Michael donates his time and expert photography skills to Merlin CCC, helping us capture memorable moments at numerous of our organization activities.  He also plays an integral role in the development and implementation of our philosophy walks and symposiums.  A compulsive philosopher and perpetual student, Michael has a B.S. in science from the US Naval Academy and graduate work in solar energy and the future of climate via an Interdisciplinary Studies program at the University of Montana.  He regularly audits philosophy courses at Carroll College, has consistently served as a firetower watchman in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and enjoys writing, philosophy, history of ideas, brain and neuroscience, complexity science, evolution, nature photography, and much more.

Jim Robbins has written about the West and western issues for the New York Times since 1980 from his home in Helena, Mont. He has also traveled around the globe writing for numerous magazines, from the cloud forests of Peru for Conde Nast Traveler to the spicy peppers of the Yucatan in Mexico for Smithsonian to the Yanomami Territory of northern Brazil for Vanity Fair. He is the author of six books, three of them about nature and three about the human nervous system. His most recent books are The Wonder of Birds and The Man Who Planted Trees, published by Random House, which are illuminating looks at the relationships between people and nature and an investigation into how little we really know about our world.

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