2017 “Understanding and Improving Renewable Energy Materials – From Atoms and Up; Advancing Science to Meet Community Needs” Dr. Maria KY Chan from Argonne National Laboratory.

2016 “Climate Change, Polar Canaries, and the Upper Midwest” Ross Powell and Reed Sherer of NIU shared their Antarctic research finding on climate change and related this to our own region of the planet.

2015 “GMOs: Threat or Promise? What's a Consumer to think?” Travis Frey of Monsanto and Stephen Moose, plant geneticist at the University of Illinois sparred with farmers/activists Chuck Noble and Pat Trask over questions concerning agricultural production of genetically modified crops.

2014 “Sustainabilty and Agriculture” A panel of local farmer including individuals following current modern practices and those following organic or renewable methods/practices discussed the question of farming and sustainability.

2013 “Wildland Fire in a Changing Environment” Kelly Martin, Chief of Fire and Aviation for Yosemite National Park (and Freeport native), discussed the role of fire in ecosystems, and how climate change will affect this role and its management.

2012 "Endgame: An Evening with Derrick Jensen" -- Jensen, an award-winning author and environmental activist, discussed the attention-getting premises of his non-fiction work "Endgame," including why industrial civilization is not sustainable and how economics dictate social policies. Not one for coddling his audiences, Jensen offers a revolutionary message of change capable only through a dramatic restructuring of society. As reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jensen is a "formidable thinker unafraid of showing us, with unsettling precision, the countless ways we are allowing ourselves and our planet to be killed."

2011 "Immigration: America's Past, Present and Future"  The Boyer Colloquium was created to help students and the community understand the importance of the inter-relationships between ethics, economics, and ecology. The impact of immigration, legal and otherwise, affects each of these in an interrelated fashion. The Boyer Colloquium Committee believes that if communities understand the issues, the history of previous decisions, and ramifications of prior actions, they will be better positioned to make informed decisions. The May 2008 Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on a Postville, IA meat packing plant resulting in the arrest of nearly 400 undocumented workers will be discussed as a microcosm of issues facing many American communities. The panelists will draw lessons and suggest solutions for the broader American society, but particularly rural areas.

2010 "A Conservationist Manifesto."  The speaker was Scott Russell Sanders, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University and author of over 20 books.  His writing examines the human place in nature, the pursuit of social justice, the relation between culture and geography and the search for a spiritual path.

2009 "The Frugal Citizen's Guide to Global Warming: How We Can Save Money, Rescue the Economy and Save the Planet, Too." Jay Butera presented upbeat thinking on sustainability, global warming, and students' amazing power to change their world.

Jay Butera is an entrepreneur, writer and speaker living near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Brown University and the Haverford School, he has independently studied the issues and technologies of energy and global warming for over 20 years.

2008 "Pain or Progress" explored both sides of industrial expansion in agricultural communities. The presenter, Dr. Richard Shaten, discussed the impact of wind farms, mega farms, retail expansion, and highway construction in our communities.

Richard Shaten has a Ph.D. in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin , masters’ degrees in Agriculture and Applied Economics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Energy Analysis and Policy. He is Chair of the Economics Department at Madison Area Technical College and teaches Environmental Economics.

2007 The 2007 Boyer Colloquium featured two topical presentations. The first was titled “Local Solutions to Global Problems." The speaker was Wilson Rickerson, a Boston-based consultant focusing on state and municipal clean energy and climate policy. He is currently the Policy Advisor to the Center for Sustainable Energy at Bronx Community College, where he helps manage New York City's Million Solar Roofs Initiative, and an Adjunct Policy Fellow at the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Delaware (from where he completed his graduate studies).

The second Boyer presentation for 2007 was titled "Flying after Oil." Although debated and denied frequently, a massive shortfall in oil production is coming faster than many are willing to admit. Dr. Alex Kuhlman assesses the situation and its effect on the airline industry, and reminds us to start thinking about tomorrow. Visit to read more.

2006 "Planting Seeds for a Positive Future." Working with fruits harvested from the various Take Five for the Environment programs, Highland Community College biology and ecology instructor Keith Blackmore demonstrated how our culture can live it up as we power down for a sustainable future.

2005 The topics for the 2005 Boyer Colloquium were the ethical, legal, and environmental dimensions of land use. The speaker was Dr. Eric Freyfogle, the Max L. Rowe Professor of Law at the University of Illinois, where he teaches environmental law. He has written several books, including Bounded People, Boundless Land : Envisioning a New Land Ethic and The Land We Share: Private Property and the Common Good. Dr. Freyfogle is a native of central Illinois and has a long history of activity in local, state, and national conservation efforts.

2004 Dr. Jack Herrmann, DVM, MPH, Diplomate, American College of Theriogenologists, Wendy Parker, a Congressional Science Fellow working with the Environment and Public Works Committee in the U.S. Senate, and Terry Feinberg, Extension Educator, Community and Economic Development, University of Illinois Extension, provided a panel discussion with the title "Chemical and Cancer Risks: Challenges for Communities".

2003 Michael Duffy, Associate Director, Professor of Economics, Agricultural Extension, Iowa State University was the featured speaker.

2002 Richard Pirog and John Hendrickson presented a program entitled "Local Food Systems: The Load Less Traveled," an examination of energy inputs for conventional and local food distribution systems.

Richard Pirog is the Education Coordinator at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture located in Ames Iowa.

2001 A panel of experts representing differing points of view discussed the theme of "Land Use and Development."

2000 Dr. Kamyar Enshayan, adjunct professor at the University of Northern Iowa teaches environmental studies. His topic for the April 27, 2000 colloquium will be "A Tale of Two Chickens: Why Buying Locally-grown Food is Essential."

1999 Gary Gardner of the Worldwatch Institute spoke on the role of education as it relates to environmental protection.

1998 Thomas Welch, Chairman of the Maine Public Utility Commission discussed the ethics of governmental regulation of the environment. His speech was titled "Utility Regulation, the Environment, and Bureaucratic Ethics."

1997 Gary Snyder, noted environmental poet and speaker read from his poetry and examined the "Ethics of Capitalism" in protecting the environment.

1996 Gordon Durnil, author of The Making of an Environmental Conservative spoke to the topic of "Creating a Sustainable Society."



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