Nov. 16 double-header offers Leopold program, Kephart film

Western Carolina University will present a double-header event focusing on two early 20th-century Americans who were pioneer conservationists and remain respected as outdoor authors Thursday, Nov. 16, in the ground floor auditorium of H.F. Robinson Building.

Aldo Leopold

Aldo Leopold, a founder of wildlife management science and author of “Sand County Almanac,” will be the topic at 5 p.m. David Henderson, director of WCU’s Environmental Science Program, will speak on “The Gavilan and the Gila: Aldo Leopold, Two Rivers and Wilderness.” Last spring, Henderson traveled through Mexico and New Mexico following a route taken in the 1920s and 1930s by Leopold, whose thinking and concepts about wilderness and land health were shaped by his experiences along those two rivers. Those views helped establish 558,014 acres of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico as the first designated wilderness area in 1924. The program will be hosted by WCU’s Department of Philosophy and Religion in celebration of UNESCO World Philosophy Day.

Horace Kephart

Horace Kephart, a proponent for the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and author of “Camping and Woodcraft,” is the subject of an 80-minute documentary to be shown at 7 p.m. Kephart, an Ivy League educated librarian who came to the Smokies as a freelance writer and editor, died in 1931 near Bryson City. “Kephart, His Life and Legacy” was produced by his great-granddaughter Libby Kephart Hargrave, who will briefly discuss the film following its showing. The program is hosted by WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception and meet-and-greet will take place between the two programs in the first floor lobby of the Robinson Building. An exhibit featuring artifacts from the Mountain Heritage Center’s Kephart collection will be on display and DVDs of the film will be available for purchase.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.