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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 24, 2004

Photo: "Blue Branch," taken along the Cedar River by photographer Larry Mendenhall.

UI's Iowa Project On Place Studies To Celebrate 'Wild Iowa' Oct. 7

A University of Iowa group is teaming up with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to present "A Celebration of Wild Iowa," A Symposium and Conversation on What the Wild in Iowa Is and Can Be, on Thursday, Oct. 7, from 2:30 to 9 p.m. in the South Room of the Iowa Memorial Union. The Iowa Project on Place Studies and the Agrestal Fund of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation are presenting this celebration in honor of the 40th anniversary of The Wilderness Act.

The event is intended to celebrate the agrestal spirit, agrestal meaning "not domesticated or cultivated; growing wild in the field," said Thomas Dean, the symposium organizer and founder of the Iowa Project on Place Studies. "The goal is to focus on the concept and reality of 'the wild,' especially here in the state of Iowa where virtually no 'wilderness' exists, allowing us to increase our level of trust for wildness in each of the many forms it may reveal itself."

Dean and other "Wild Iowa" participants will be guests on "Talk of Iowa," WSUI, AM 910, on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m.

The spirit of the celebration will continue throughout the fall through the "Wild Iowa Essay Project," which encourages Iowans of all ages to think and write about the state of wildness, specifically as it exists in Iowa. Information about the essay project is available on the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation website,

The symposium will feature a panel discussion with Elizabeth Hill, author of "Hiking Iowa;" Cornelia F. Mutel, UI staff member in the IIHR, Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research; Robert Sayre, UI emeritus professor of English and vice-president of the Johnson County Heritage Trust; and Robert Sessions, professor of philosophy and humanities at Kirkwood Community College.

Visual art by Iowa artists Mark Müller, Larry Mendenhall and Elizabeth Hill will be on display throughout the day. North Liberty writer Steve Semken will read from his new book "The Great Blues" about the great blue herons, and Iowa City singer-songwriter Dave Moore will provide music. The event will conclude with a screening of "America's Lost Landscape: The Tallgrass Prairie," followed by discussion with producer Daryl Smith of the University of Northern Iowa.

The film and discussion are free and open to the public. To attend the full symposium registration is required by Friday, Oct. 1, and the $20 fee includes a vegetarian buffet dinner. Additional information including a registration form is available online, or by contacting Dean at 319-335-1995,

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Thomas Dean in advance at 319-335-1995.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Thomas Dean, 319-335-1995,