Snow-capped mountains of Central Idaho
Central Idaho mountains Snow-capped mountains of Central Idaho © ©Laura Speck

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Idea of Nature Lecture Series


Sponsored in part by The Nature Conservancy, the goal of Boise State University's Idea of Nature Lecture Series is to promote interdisciplinary inquiry about the environment and to foster dialogue across the campus and community.

These lectures are free, open to the public and will be held virtually by Zoom.

To register, email with your name and the event you would like to attend. A link will be emailed to you before the lecture.

More information available on Boise State University Idea of Nature Series website.


Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 6 PM

The Hemingway Literary Center presents

“Thomas Cole and the Destruction of American Nature”

Alan Wallach, Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History Emeritus, William and Mary College

Thomas Cole (1801-1848), today remembered as the “founder” of the Hudson River School, influenced two generations of American landscape painters. His followers--Asher B. Durand, Frederic Church, Albert Bierstadt, among others--lauded expansion and material progress. By contrast, Cole lamented the destruction of nature that progress entailed. His paintings and writings, which celebrate a nature untouched by modernization, went against the mainstream opinion of his time. Today they seem prophetic.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 6 PM

The Department of Anthropology and the Desert Studies Institute present

"Idaho First: How Archaeological Discoveries on the Lower Salmon River Change Our Perspectives on the Peopling of the Americas" 

Loren Davis, Professor of Anthropology, Oregon State University

Who were the First Idahoans? Archaeological research at the Cooper’s Ferry site on the Lower Salmon River indicates that Western Stemmed Tradition people were living in the Columbia River basin between 16,560 and 15,280 years ago until about 13,000 years ago. This exciting discovery is strong evidence for the deep antiquity of human entry into North America during the late Ice Age: a time that horses and other charismatic megafauna roamed Idaho. The First Idahoans arrived before the opening of an ice-free corridor, which favors the hypothesis of boat-supported migration from the Bering Strait down the Pacific coast.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 6 PM

The College of Idaho Henberg Environmental Lectureship and The Nature Conservancy present

"What Does the Earth Ask of Us?"

Robin Wall Kimmerer, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology and tribal member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation

We are showered every day with the gifts of the Earth and yet we are tied to institutions which relentlessly ask what more can we take? Drawing upon both scientific and indigenous knowledges, this talk explores the covenant of reciprocity, how might we use the gifts and the responsibilities of human people in support of mutual thriving in a time of ecological crisis.