On October 10-13, 2012 Mount Royal University successfully hosted Under Western Skies 2: Environment, Community, and Culture in North America. Scholars, activists, and community members made up 40 multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary panels, with multiple keynote speakers, including environmental historian Donald Worster. Six hundred ninety four individuals registered for the event, including several hundred MRU students. This is up from the first conference, which saw 432 registrations. Once again, Wilfrid Laurier Press is planning to publish a peer-reviewed volume of selected work from the conference (the first volume, edited by R. Boschman and M. Trono, is forthcoming next year).
As was the case with the inaugural conference in 2010, NiCHE support ($2,000) was critical to enhancing student involvement and elevating the public profile of the second event. Conference organizers were able to provide financial assistance to graduate students from across North America and to make it possible for MRU students to attend at no cost. NiCHE funds also allowed for website development and support, with the UWS2 site linked to the NiCHE website.
Planning is already underway for the 2014 conference, which will have the core theme of environmental technologies.
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