Willson Center / EECP Odum Lecture

The Environmental Ethics Certificate Program (EECP) is a non-degree program offered as an enhancement to an undergraduate or graduate degree. The EECP provides an interdisciplinary forum for students, faculty, and the community to discuss social and scientific responsibilities toward our environment. Co-sponsored by the EECP and the WIllson Center, the Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture is hosted by Dorinda G. Dallmeyer, director of the EECP

Eugene Odum (1913-2002) was an influential University of Georgia instructor from 1940 until his retirement in 1984. He is considered to be the “Father of Modern Ecology” and was the author of the pioneering book Fundamentals of Ecology. Odum was instrumental in the creation of the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia, the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory near Aiken, S.C., and the Sapelo Island Marine Science Institute.

Eugene Odum


Barry Lopez

Barry Lopez is an essayist, author, and short-story writer, and has traveled extensively in remote and populated parts of the world.

He is the author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award; Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist, for which he received the John Burroughs and Christopher medals; and eight works of fiction, including Light Action in the CaribbeanField Notes, and Resistance. His essays are collected in two books, Crossing Open Ground and About This Life.

His most recent books are Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape (2006), a reader’s dictionary of regional landscape terms, which he edited with Debra Gwartney, and Outside (2015), a collection of six stories with engravings by Barry Moser. His new book, Horizon, will be published in March 2019 by Penguin Random House.

Lopez contributes regularly to Harper’sGrantaThe Georgia ReviewOrionOutsideThe Paris ReviewManoa, and other publications in the United States and abroad. His work is widely translated and appears in dozens of anthologies.

Lopez has served as the Welch Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame and the Glenn Distinguished Professor at Washington & Lee University. He has also taught at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and other venues, and read or spoken at nearly a hundred universities. He travels regularly to Texas Tech University where he is the university’s Visiting Distinguished Scholar. He is a recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the John Hay Medal, Guggenheim, Lannan, and National Science Foundation fellowships, Pushcart Prizes in fiction and nonfiction, the St. Francis of Assisi Award from DePaul University, the Denise Levertov Award from Image magazine, and honors from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Association of American Geographers, the New York Public Library, the Nature Conservancy, and the American Society of Magazine Editors. In 2002 he was elected a Fellow of The Explorers Club.

In addition to being part of the Global Georgia Initiative public event series, Lopez’s talk is presented as The Georgia Review‘s Earth Day Lecture and the Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture.

This event is associated with the Global Georgia Initiative research group in Coastal Studies, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

It is presented in partnership with The Georgia Review, the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, the Sustainability Certificate Program, and the department of English.

The Global Georgia Initiative presents global problems in local context by addressing pressing contemporary questions, including the economy, society, and the environment, with a focus on how the arts and humanities can intervene. Global Georgia combines the best in contemporary thinking and practice in the arts and humanities with related advances in the sciences and other areas. The series is made possible by the support of private individuals and the Willson Center Board of Friends.

Barry Lopez


David Haskell

David Haskell is an author and professor of biology at The University of the South. Among many other awards, Haskell’s book The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature won the 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies and was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

His visit to UGA was co-sponsored by the Willson Center, the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, and the Integrative Conservation Ph.D. Program. Haskell’s lecture was the keynote for the Third Annual Symposium on Integrative Conservation.

The Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture is named for Eugene Odum (1913-2002), a UGA instructor from 1940 until his retirement in 1984. He has been called the “father of modern ecology” and was the author of the pioneering book Fundamentals of Ecology. Odum was instrumental in the creation of the Institute of Ecology at UGA, the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, and the Sapelo Island Marine Science Institute.

David Haskell


Zygmunt Plater

Zygmunt Plater, professor of law at Boston College, gave the 2015 Odum Environmental Ethics Lecture, titled “The Snail Darter and the Dam: a very small endangered fish’s travels through the corridors of American power.” The event was co-sponsored by the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program and the Willson Center, with additional support from the Georgia Natural History Museum.

Plater’s latest book, The Snail Darter and the Dam: How Pork-Barrel Politics Endangered a Little Fish and Killed a River, was published by Yale University Press in 2013. It is his chronicle of a landmark case, Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill – better known as the “snail darter” case – which Plater argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978.

TVA v. Hill is often cited, especially by opponents to environmental regulations, as an example of overzealous enforcement of such policies – in this case, the Endangered Species Act. But the case involved numerous issues aside from the protection of the endangered fish by whose name it is known. Opposition to the construction of the Tellico Dam was also based on the project’s economic viability, as well as to the property rights of small farmers and other landowners.

The court ruled for the group of plaintiffs represented by Plater, but the dam was nonetheless completed the following year after the U.S. Congress passed an amendment to the Endangered Species Act, signed into law by President Jimmy Carter, granting the TVA an exception to the act’s provisions.

Zygmunt Plater