Society & Culture

Lecture on John Muir’s travels through the Southeast to be held March 25

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia College of Environment and Design’s Environmental Ethics Certificate Program will sponsor a lecture by James B. Hunt March 25 at 4 p.m. in Room 214 of the Miller Learning Center.

Hunt, author of “Restless Fires: Young John Muir’s Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf in 1867-68,” will deliver a lecture on John Muir’s travels through the South in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. “Restless Fires” provides a detailed rendering of Muir’s thousand-mile walk to the Gulf of Mexico based on both manuscript and published accounts. Hunt particularly examines the development of Muir’s environmental thought as a young adult.

“Most people associate John Muir with California and the Sierras, and few know that as a young man he made a rugged solo trip from his home in Indiana all the way to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Dorinda Dallmeyer, EECP director. “He even visited Athens, calling it ‘the most beautiful town I have seen on the journey so far.'”

The legacy of Muir’s walk is found in the insights generated by his background, reading and experiences with the Southern environment and people during the walk. His journal gives evidence of a young man resolving what he wants to do with his life. Muir comes to an understanding about how human beings fit into nature. In Muir’s view, nature provides humans a moral touchstone when they recognize their small part in the “divine harmony.” A walk in nature gave humans a sense of their limits, a lesson in humility, he said.

Hunt is professor emeritus of history at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, and cofounder of the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship. Hunt taught American, Latin American and World History while at Whitworth University. For 25 years, he provided faculty leadership to students traveling to Central America for the university’s five-month study/service program. These travels were the inspiration for his writings on the youthful travel of American leaders including John Quincy Adams, Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams and Muir.

The lecture is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the lecture.

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