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Published on December 16, 2019

History students visit ECSU Arboretum, meet textbook author

Students in Prof. Balcerski’s Environmental History class had a busy week. As part of their assigned reading of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, they went on a field trip to the ECSU Arboretum, a 20-acre natural area extending from the northwest corner of campus. In the words of Thoreau, they “went to the woods…to live deliberately.” After exploring the grounds, they read chapters from the book and then discussed their findings in the context of their natural surroundings.

Students posing for group photo

Students sitting on a rock reading books

 Dr. Daegan Miller

During the next class meeting, students met Dr. Daegan Miller, author of the acclaimed history, This Radical Land: A Natural History of American Dissent (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Dr. Miller discussed his experience reading Thoreau and answered questions during a lively Q&A session. Following the class, Dr. Miller signed copies of his book, which was assigned as reading during the semester. He shared advice on such topics as ethical living, environmentalism, and graduate school. Thanks to Dr. Stacey Close, Vice President for Equity and Diversity, and the History Department for sponsoring Dr. Miller’s visit to Eastern.

The class will continue its study of environmental history through field trips of the power plant and sustainable energy facilities. The students will also help to organize events as part of the Campus Sustainability Month that takes place each October.