Society & Culture

Russell Library to host panel discussion on Endangered Species Act

Athens, Ga. – Inspired by the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Endangered Species Act, the University of Georgia Russell Library for Political Research and Studies will host a panel discussion on Oct. 16 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on Dec. 28, 1973, the Endangered Species Act was designed to protect wildlife on the verge of extinction through expanded conservation efforts. Just one of many pieces of environmental legislation passed during the 1970s, the act signified a shift in American attitudes about the environment.

Featured panelists include faculty members include Brian Drake (history department), Laurie Fowler (Odum School of Ecology), Michael Mengak (Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources) and Terrance Centner (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences).

“We hope our panel can offer diverse perspectives on the ESA and get attendees to think about the context in which it was created, as well as what environmental issues matter most to the public today,” said Jan Levinson, an outreach archivist at the Russell Library who assembled the panel.

“Critics call the standard of protection for endangered species too high and argue that decisions are not made on the basis of sound science,” she also said. “Environmentalists prefer a course of precaution. The original act has been challenged, amended and added to over the decades. Hopefully our panelists will have a robust discussion on where we started with this legislation and where it stands today, considering whether or not the ESA could even pass in Congress now.”

This event is part of a series of October events hosted by the Russell Library and inspired by the ongoing exhibit “Now and Then: 1973” currently on display in the Russell Library gallery. The series continues with “It Was a Big Year: Storytellers and Scholars” Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. where three UGA scholars and three scholars from the Athens community will tell stories around the theme “It was a Big Year.” The series concludes with “Reconsidering Roe: A Dialogue and Deliberation Event,” Oct. 30 at 6 p.m., where the legacy of the landmark court case, Roe v. Wade and its impact and relevance 40 years later are discussed.

For more information on this or other events in the “It Was a Big Year” series, see, email, or call 706-542-5788. To learn more about the Richard B. Russell Library, see