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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 22, 2007

Public Invited To Explore 'Restoring Wildness' At March 2 Symposium

Humans' complex relationships with the wild will be explored during the "Iowa Concourse on the Wild" symposium from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 2, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library.

"Restoring Wildness" is the theme of the symposium, sponsored by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's Agrestal Fund, the Iowa Project on Place Studies at the University of Iowa and Midland Roots Regional Culture Initiative. The event is free and open to the public.

Following on a 2006 symposium "Live Well, Live Wild: A Community Concourse on Undomesticating and Rewilding," participants will continue the conversation that explores the human relationship with the wild.

Organizer Thomas Dean, special assistant to the UI president, founder of the Iowa Project on Place Studies and an adjunct assistant professor of literature, science and the arts, said the symposium will engage participants in presentations and discussions that ask how people can bring the wild back into their imaginations, their values, their actions, their communities and their land.

"In today's controlled and managed world, how can we bring more wildness back into our lives?" Dean said. "In the natural world, we have tried to control nature to such an extent that our human activity is fundamentally altering it.  So part of the question of wildness deals with returning nature back to itself and to let it be itself without our human meddling."

Symposium participants will also examine how the principles of wildness can play a role in all aspects of their lives, Dean said.

Discussion session topics will include restoring prairie, the village, spirituality and ethics. Sessions leaders will include Dick Baker, UI professor emeritus of geoscience; Lonnie Gamble of Abundance Ecovillage in Fairfield; Steve Brower of the Leopold Heritage Group in Burlington; and Nancy Aams-Cogan, a chaplain and writer from Iowa City, among others.  The day will also feature special readings and performances, including a reading by Michael Clark of his essay "Deep Time," a winner in the 2006 Wild Iowa Essay Project, and an oral poetry performance by Joe Plum, a bardic poet from Lovilia.

The concourse is free and open to the public.  No registration is required.  Schedule updates can be seen at

For more information or special accommodations to attend this symposium, contact Dean at 319-335-1995 or

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

CONTACTS: Media: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077,; Program: Thomas Dean, 319-335-1995,