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Four to speak on conservation at MSU library fundraiser

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MSU News Service

BOZEMAN – Four individuals noted for their work in conservation and science will participate in “An Evening of Conservation and Conversation,” a fundraising event for the Montana State University Library. Hosted by the Friends of MSU Library, the free event will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Museum of the Rockies’ Hager Auditorium.

As part of the event, Mike Clark, Jim Posewitz, Rick Reese and Cathy Whitlock will discuss their careers, as well as current environmental challenges facing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Todd Wilkinson, journalist, author and Mountain Journal founder, will pose questions and lead the conversation.

The event will also include a Q&A session with the audience. A reception featuring information and resources from local organizations will be held in the museum’s lobby following the conversation. The event is free with a suggested donation. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Clark, Posewitz, Reese and Whitlock were invited to participate in the event because of their vision, legacy and national impact within the conservation and science communities, according to Kenning Arlitsch, dean of the MSU Library.

Arlitsch said each panelist has a special relationship with the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and played a pivotal role in historical conservation efforts and/or scientific research throughout the region.

Clark served as executive director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition from 1994 to 2001 and again from 2009 to 2013. Under his leadership, the organization led opposition to a 1989 bid by Crown Butte Mines to build a gold mine in the mountains near Cooke City, just northeast of Yellowstone National Park. Environmentalists feared that toxic mine runoff would harm nearby rivers and streams and that the mine would irrevocably damage Yellowstone. The effort drew national attention and a visit to the mine site from then-President Bill Clinton. Ultimately, in 1996, Clinton arranged a federal buyout of the company’s interest in the mine—a deal Clark has been widely credited for brokering.

Posewitz, whom Wilkinson has called “a modern manifestation of Teddy Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold,” had a 40-year career at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks before founding Orion, the Hunter’s Institute, a group promoting hunting ethics and education. Posewitz is the author of a book on hunting ethics, “Beyond Fair Chase.” He also led a successful fight in the 1970s against 42 dams that were proposed for the Yellowstone River.

Reese became involved in issues surrounding the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1980, when he and his wife were hired to run the Yellowstone Institute. He went on to become principal founder and three-term president of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in 1983. Reese is also a noted alpinist who took part in a rescue on the Grand Teton in 1967, which was later featured in the documentary “The Grand Rescue.”

Whitlock is a professor of Earth sciences at MSU who earlier this year was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors a scientist can receive. She is the first scientist from a Montana institution to earn the distinction. Over her nearly 40-year career, Whitlock has produced groundbreaking research and has been recognized for her scholarship and leadership in the field of past climate and environmental change.

She was lead author of the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment, a report released by the Montana Institute on Ecosystems that focuses on climate trends and their consequences for Montana’s water, forests and agriculture.

Jason Clark, head of MSU Library’s Special Collections and Archival Informatics, said that Mike Clark and Rick Reese have donated notes, correspondence and documents pertaining to their careers to MSU Library’s Special Collections and Archival Informatics, which holds more than 800 collections relating to agriculture, Montana history, Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Native Americans in Montana, trout and salmonids and other topics.

“Special Collections capture the artifacts and stories that preserve history and help shape the future,” he said. “By donating their papers, Mike and Rick are sharing the legacy of their professional expertise in conservation and are providing a foundation in primary source research for current and future students, historians and conservationists.”

Founded in 1994, the Friends of Montana State University Library helps develop the library’s collections, environment and programs in an effort to enable learning and research for students, faculty and all Montanans.

Visit or call (406) 994-6857 for more information.

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