HCSS_webHigh Country Speaker Series

This speaker series is held in conjunction with the Eagle Valley Library District each winter.  Each year we have sought to bring our community notable and passionate speakers who offer a unique view of our natural surroundings.  This winter’s theme is Mountain Culture and the Environment – Creating Cohesion.

These evening programs will begin at 5:30 pm.  All programs are free and will be held at either the Avon Public Library or Walking Mountains Science Center.


Developing Deep Roots for Sustainability and Community in Nepal

Friday, January 30, 2015 | 5:30pm | Reception to Follow
Presenter: Jim Nowak
Location: Walking Mountains Science Center

Discussion Highlights: Jim Nowak’s presentation “Developing Deep Roots for Sustainability and Community in Nepal” will focus on his personal experiences working with indigenous populations in remote regions of the Himalayas, empowering communities to become sustainable and improve their quality of life through advancing education and health while reducing poverty. A longtime mountaineer, Nowak will discuss his inspiration for founding the dZi Foundation in the mountains of Colorado as well as what community, culture, and mountains represent in the highest part of our world.

Jim_110x110Speaker Bio: Jim Nowak is co-founder and President of the dZi Foundation. Since 1997, Jim’s leadership has taken the dZi Foundation from a grassroots organization – originally formed to save girls at risk – to a thriving non-profit now serving over 29,000 individuals in the remote villages of eastern Nepal. The dZi’s growth from a kitchen table operation to one of the Himalayan region’s most respected non-profits is a direct result of his knowledge, passion, and commitment to those the dZi serves.

Having been avid rock and ice climber for the past 43 years, this was the entry point to Nepal. An expedition to Pumori 23,424’, lead him to taking a significant redirection of his life 13 years ago, when the dZi Foundation was formed. Jim has worked for the Ore House Corporation throughout the western US, building restaurants from pouring the foundation all the way to opening the doors. He was a four-color scanning technician doing digital enhancement of photographs in nation-wide magazine publications. Along with many years of contracting of homes and being a master tile setter. Just for flavor he was also a forest fire fighter, one of the best jobs he says he ever had, with the exception of the current position he holds with the dZi Foundation.

High Culture: Mountains and our Minds

Friday, February 27, 2015 | 5:30pm
Presenter: John Calderazzo
Location: Walking Mountains Science Center

Discussion Highlights: John Calderazzo will speak about what landscapes, especially those capped by snow, can tell us about history, humanity, and culture.  As a writer, CSU professor, and an expert on communicating science to the public, Calderazzo will discuss his time traversing volcanoes throughout the world and learning from local inhabitants the role volcanoes, mountains, and the environment have in daily life and creating culture. “High Culture: Mountains and our Minds,” is his creative approach to discussing the effects of mountains on our way of life.

John C 110x110Speaker Bio: John Calderazzo’s essays, poems, and short stories have appeared in AudubonHigh Country News, Orion, North American Review, and elsewhere.   His work has been included in Best Adventure Writing, and his books include Writing from Scratch: Freelancing and Rising Fire: Volcanoes & Our Inner Lives–for which he clambered over volcanoes in Italy, Mexico, Montserrat, and Hawaii.  At CSU, he co-founded an innovative climate change across the curriculum educational program (changingclimates.colostate.edu), and he now teaches scientists traditional story-telling techniques to communicate better with the public.  Since 1986 he has taught creative writing at Colorado State University, where he’s won a Best CSU Teacher award.  His nonfiction students have gone on to write hundreds of books, essays and articles, including a recent New York Times #1 bestseller and a Pulitzer Prize series of feature stories.

Moving Mountains: Strong Women in a Man’s World

Thursday, March 26, 2015 | 5:30
Presenter: Jennifer Jordan
Location: Avon Public Library

Discussion Highlights: Jennifer Jordan will discuss the perspectives and treatment towards women in the mountaineering community while exploring how these dynamics can have an overarching effect on the experiences and relationships women have with the greater outdoors. “Moving Mountains: Strong Women in a Mans World” will be draw upon her own personal experiences as well as researched accounts of other women who have been on some of the biggest and deadliest mountains in the world.

Jennifer_110x110Speaker Bio: Jennifer Jordan is an award-winning author, filmmaker and journalist with years of experience on K2.  Her 2005 book Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2 won the National Outdoor Book Award for Best Mountain Literature and was selected as an Editors Choice by the New York Times. Savage Summit helped propel Jordan to her current position as one of the strongest female voices in the mountaineering community. After the release of her book she was approached by National Geographic to create, write, and co-produce the documentary Women of K2 which was shown in numerous world famous film festivals including the Banff Mountain and Telluride Mountain Film Festivals.

Jordan has worked as an on air host of All Things Considered for NPR’s Boston affiliate, created, produced, and hosted her own syndicated talk show on NPR’s satellite network, and directed The Forum, Harvard University’s premier speaker’s arena at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her cinematographer husband Jeff Rhoads and Harry, the canine star of her children’s book series.


The Yampa River: Free Flowing & Wild Forever

Friday, April 10, 2015 | 5:30pm
Presenter: John Fielder
Avon Public Library,

Discussion Highlights: Join Colorado nature photographer John Fielder and river rat Pat Tierney as they photograph and write their way down the entire length 200-mile length of the river from the Flat Tops Wilderness to the Yampa’s confluence with the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. “The Yampa River: Free Flowing and Wild Forever” consists of Fielder’s sublime images of mountain tundra wildflowers, eagles and elk, and the various canyons of the Yampa, supplemented with Tierney’s human and natural history text. John Fielder is your host of the 75-minute multi-media presentation that includes powerful music to enhance the imagery, and Fielder’s stories of life on the trail and down the river. Includes more than 200 photographs.

John Fielder 110x110Speaker bio: John Fielder has worked tirelessly to promote the protection of Colorado’s ranches, open space, and wildlands during his 33-year career as a nature photographer and publisher. His photography has influenced people and legislation, earning him recognition including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award in 1993 and, in 2011, the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s first Achievement Award given to an individual. Over 40 books have been published depicting his Colorado photography. He lives in Summit County, Colorado, and operates a fine art gallery, John Fielder’s Colorado, in Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe. He teaches photography workshops to adults and children. His latest book is The Yampa River: Free Flowing & Wild Forever available June 1, 2015.