News & Events

Putnam delivers Libra Distinguished Lecture

The University of Maine at Presque Isle presents David Putnam, UMPI Associate Professor of Science, as the next speaker in its 2021-2022 Libra Distinguished Lecture Series on Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. He will deliver a talk titled “Renewing our relationship with nature through experiential education.”

An archaeologist and climate scientist, Putnam has traveled the world—from Alaska to Mongolia—to participate in scientific endeavors. He has conducted a wide range of research, including a joint climate change-focused research expedition to Mongolia, as well as research connected with documenting wood turtle populations, glacial geology, and archaeology survey work in the North Maine Woods.

The 2015-2017 recipient of the Donald and Linda G. Zillman Family Professorship, Putnam used the funding associated with the professorship not only to participate in two Mongolia research expeditions, but also to take UMPI Environmental Science and Sustainability and Biology students on a field trip to the Deboullie Lakes Ecological Reserve and support an undergraduate student on collaborative field research involving wood turtle populations with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Many of the scientific activities in which Putnam has participated over the years have involved working with scientists and researchers from all over the world, and there have often been opportunities to connect UMPI students directly in the research. He has been able to take students to conduct research in Mongolia three times.

“Throughout most of human history, children have learned through participation in the activities of life, but nowadays our kids spend 12 years learning mostly in a classroom setting, with an additional 2, 4, or 8 years if they go to college,” Putnam said. “Experiential learning is a really important—and necessary—way for students to learn by doing, to take in knowledge at a visceral level, and that helps them retain that knowledge in a much more impactful way.”

The University’s Libra Distinguished Lecture Series was established in 1999. Each year, the LDLS Committee sponsors four to six speakers who come from Maine and beyond, representing a range of disciplines and viewpoints. While the emphasis tends to be on featuring visiting academics, it is not exclusively so. The speakers typically spend two days at the University meeting with classes and presenting a community lecture.

UMPI welcomes the campus and community to hear Putnam speak on April 12. This event is free and open to the public. Face masks are optional for this event. For more information, contact Lisa Smith at 207-768-9525 or email lisa.m.smith@maine.edu.