Acclaimed Naturalists, Authors Speak At Tech

SOCORRO, N.M. February 11, 2011 – Acclaimed naturalists and authors Doug and Andrea Peacock will give a special presentation, “New Mexico: Land of Man-Eating Bears, Gas Town Blues and Elephant Hunting.”

Doug and Andrea Peacock. Photo by Fenia Hiassen
The Montana-based authors will discuss the interrelationship between oil-and-gas-reliant culture and climate change, and how Americans might cope with the transition to a post-fossil fuels world. They will also discuss Doug’s work with grizzly bears, his history with Ed Abbey and his current historical research about archaeology, climate change and the peopling of North America. The event begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Weir 102. The talk will be followed by refreshments and a book signing.

The Peacocks were interviewed on Democracy Now!. Click here to see the interview.

The Peacocks are co-authors of The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears, which was released in 2006 and re-released in 2009 as In the Presence of Grizzlies: The Ancient Bond Between Men and Bears.

Doug Peacock is a naturalist, outdoorsman, and author. He is best known for his book Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness, a memoir of his experiences in the 1970s and 1980s, much of which was spent alone in the wilderness of the American West observing grizzly bears.

Doug has published widely on wilderness issues ranging from grizzly bears to buffalo, from the Sonoran desert to the fjords of British Columbia, from the tigers of Siberia to the blue sheep of Nepal. Peacock was named a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2011 Lannan Fellow for his work on a new memoir about archeology, climate change and the peopling of North America.

Andrea is a journalist who has covered Montana politics and Western environmental news for alternative news weeklies across the West, as well as Mother Jones, Amicus Journal, Counterpunch and High Country News. A former editor of the Missoula Independent, Peacock is the author of Wasting Libby: The True Story of How the WR Grace Corporation Left a Montana Town to Die (and Got Away With It). She was a 2010 Alicia Patterson Fellow, and is currently working on a book about the ways oil and gas production affects Western communities.

After serving as a Green Beret combat medic during the Vietnam War, Doug Peacock felt so disillusioned with human society that he sought solace in the beauty of the wilderness. Although he had little background in science, his field experience with bears soon brought him recognition as an expert in grizzly behavior. He was a friend of author Edward Abbey, and served as the model for the character George Hayduke in Abbey’s famous novel The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Doug’s 2005 book, Walking it Off: A Veteran’s Chronicle of War And Wilderness, continues his memoirs, in the wake of Ed Abbey’s death. He ventured into the Southwest deserts to walk off the scars left by his friend's death. In the process, he revisited Vietnam in flashbacks, remembering the cantankerous friendship with Abbey, and almost died in his journey to recover from “this terminal disease called life” in Nepal.

He regularly speaks in schools about wilderness, conservation, and the need to preserve our wilderness. He is the chairman of the board for Round River Conservation Studies.

The presentation is part of the Visiting Speaker Series, hosted by the Communication, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Department.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech