Ouachita to host Mark Van Putten in Birkett Williams Lecture Series

Ouachita Baptist University will host Mark Van Putten, J.D., as part of its endowed Birkett Williams Lecture Series on March 31 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, focusing on campus sustainability and conservation, will be held in Mabee Fine Art Center’s McBeth Recital Hall on Ouachita’s campus and is free of charge and open to the public.

Van Putten is the founder and president of ConservationStrategy LLC, a consulting firm located in the Washington, D.C. area focusing on environmental strategy and organizational development. He has 25 years of experience in natural resource conservation, environmental policy making and non-profit management from the local to international levels, including 20 years on the staff of the National Wildlife Federation (NFW), America’s largest membership-based environmental group, serving seven years as president and CEO.

Van Putten was chosen to speak by the faculty of the J.D. Patterson School of Natural Sciences along with several key faculty coordinating Ouachita’s green initiatives as an ongoing result of the Environmental Stewardship Policy adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2008.

“We tossed the issue of campus sustainability around and thought that would be a good change from what we’ve had in the past,” said Tim Knight, professor of biology. He noted that Van Putten “is doing his background on our campus so he can discuss things we are doing and things we might also consider.”

The lecture will precede Arbor Day and Earth Day in April to boost anticipated initiatives on Ouachita’s campus to continue environmental consciousness.

Van Putten is a noted speaker on a variety of environmental concerns, with some of his recent presentations including “A Purposeful Journey: The Quest for Sustainability at the Modern American University” at Rutgers University, “Confronting the Global Water Crisis,” at the Environmental Film Festival and “Water, Sanitation & Health: New Models, Visions & Linkages” at the Interaction Forum. He was recently named one of 30 American “Clean Water Heroes” on the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and served on President Barack Obama’s Department of Interior transition team. Van Putten has also held board membership with the Audubon Naturalist Society, the Environmental Education and Training Institute of North America and the Energy Future Coalition advisory board.

Ouachita’s Birkett Williams lecture series was established in 1977 through a gift from the late Birkett L. Williams, a 1910 Ouachita graduate. His generous endowment established the lectures as an opportunity to extend the concepts of a liberal arts education beyond the classroom by bringing outstanding scholars and public figures to Ouachita’s campus.

For more information, contact Tim Knight at knightt@obu.edu or (870) 245-5528.

By Whitney Crews

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