William Eddy Lecture Series
The William Eddy Lecture Series was established in 2010 by Bill and Pam Eddy to challenge the ways we think about our place in the world by bringing nationally-known speakers to Vermont. Themes for this series have focused on creativity, communication, society and natural history. Each presentation has sparked discussion, reflection and a chance to re-imagine our habits of thinking.
William Eddy Lecture Speakers:
- Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate and best-selling author (2016)
- John Abele, co-founder of Boston Scientific, "Search for the USS Grunion" (2016)
- Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2015)
- David Macaulay, writer and illustrator of The Way Things Work (2014)
- Calvin Trillin, writer and commentator (2014)
- Dr. Geoffrey West, Distinguished Professor at the Sante Fe Institute (2013)
- Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack, authors of The New Universe and the Human Future (2012)
- Michael Specter, The New Yorker staff writer (2012)
- Rob Mermin, founder of Circus Smirkus (2011)
- Steve Curwood, host and executive producer of "Living on Earth" (2011)
- Katy Payne, director of the Elephant Listening Project (2010)
We were deeply saddened when our visionary and dear friend Bill Eddy died in April 2016. His legacy touches many thousands of people through this ongoing lecture series.
Bill Eddy taught in the Environmental Program at the University of Vermont from 1977 through 1998. Prior to that he held positions with the New York Zoological Society, the Conservation Foundation, and the African Wildlife Foundation. He made some 25 trips to East Africa where he began work in the early '60's as director of education for the Tanzania National Parks. There he developed one of the first public awareness programs in Africa devoted to the conservation of wildlife. Subsequently he was asked to develop similar programs for the national parks of Kenya and Uganda. Between 1982 and 1986 he worked with the Rendille tribe, a remote group of camel-raising nomads living in the northern desert of Kenya, to develop culturally appropriate ways to help them understand their own role in the spread of desert.
It was in the course of such work that he became interested in the role which language and culture play in shaping peoples' perception of their environment. As a film maker he has produced several Swahili language documentaries on wildlife conservation which have been seen by literally millions of viewers throughout East Africa. His work with the International Division of the U.S. National Park Service has involved him in many projects covering a wide range of environmental concerns in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Peace Corps invited him to help them develop programs to increase environmental awareness and understanding in a number of African, Central American and Caribbean countries, and to design training programs for Peace Corps volunteers to help them to "see" their own environmental biases before they began working with other cultures.