The Conference

Thank you to all who participated in the conference.  It was exhilarating to be a part of the discussion and connections that took place during a packed three days of events.

We will leave this page online for a time to allow internet visitors to learn more about the event. 


The National Parks have been called America’s best idea, but from their beginnings at the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, designating lands as a national park, refuge, or monument has generated controversy that continues to this day.  

On April 7-9, 2016 at Colby College a national conference, Community, Culture, and Conservation: Sustaining Landscapes and Livelihoods, took place.  The conference will bring together noted writers, scholars, performers, public officials, and community members to facilitate discussion, make connections, and seek solutions to economic and conservation challenges faced by communities in Maine, New England, the country, and the world.

The college’s Center for the Arts and Humanities, Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, Environmental Studies Program, and the Colby College Museum of Art were the principal conference sponsors, with other organizations playing a supporting role.

The conference coincided with the 100th anniversary in 2016 of the Organic Act, the law that created the U.S. National Park Service, as well as the centenary of the establishment of Sieur de Monts National Monument, now Acadia National Park, the first national park in east of the Mississippi River and the first national park in Maine.

Confirmed speakers included Bill McKibben, award-winning author, activist, and founder of; Terry Tempest Williams, award winning author; Peter Forbes, co-founder and director of the Center for Whole Communities; Wesley McNair, Poet Laureate of Maine; Lucas St. Clair, Board Member of the Quimby Family Foundation and Elliotsville Plantation, Inc.; Terry Anderson, Former President and Executive Director, Property and Environment Research Center and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University; among many others. The Colby College Museum of Art offered a variety of programs related to the exhibition, Robert Adams: Turning Back, featuring 164 photographs that explore human impact on our forests.

This conference is the capstone of a year of events.  For more information about the Community, Culture and Conservation project, visit the Why 2016? page.

To view the yearlong event schedule, visit the 2015-16 events page.

To see the conference schedule, visit the conference schedule page.

Image: Detail of Virgil Williams, View of Mt. Katahdin from the West Bank of the Penobscot River, 1870, oil on canvas, 26 1/4 x 40 in. Colby College Museum of Art. The Lunder Collection, 001.2008