Keynote Speaker

Dr. Elliott West
Elliott West is a Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas, and a specialist in the social and environmental history of the American West. He is an award-winning author and nationally-known speaker. His recent book “The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado, traces the various groups that have impacted the grass- and woodlands of Kansas and the plains, ranging from the pre-horse Indian, on to the rise of the tribal horse culture, and white trappers, traders, and settlers. His keynote address will also present the historical extent and composition of riparian forests, particularly in central and western Kansas. Additional background on Dr. West can be found on his website.

Additional Plenary Speakers

Dr. Jim Sherow
Jim Sherow is an Environmental History professor at Kansas State University. His brand new book (published 2007) is entitled "The Grasslands of the United States: An Environmental History". It deals with issue of grassland formation, and the place of trees in the grasslands. It is a rather wide sweeping work, covering 10,000 BP to the present, and emphasizes the co-evolutionary role of humans and plants in the formation of the grasslands encountered by Europeans a mere 400 years ago. Additional background on Dr. Sherow can be found on his website.
Larry Rutter
Larry Rutter is retired from Kansas State Historical Society. He has extensively researched the Timber Claims and various homesteading acts and soil bank programs that lead to much of the windbreak tree planting in central and western Kansas.