Saturday, September 27, 2008

NV Council for History Educators Conference on Public Lands Day

What a great day! I attended the Nevada Council for History Educators Conference at the Boulder Dam Hotel in Boulder City, NV. The conference, coordinated by Dr. Linda Karen Miller, was about Boulder City and Hoover Dam: Then and Now: Teaching and Writing Local History. Senator Harry Reid was originally scheduled to speak about his book on the history of Searchlight, NV. However, as we all know, he is busy on Capitol Hill taking care of more important matters relating to our nation's economy.
Former Nevada State Assemblywoman and current Nevada State Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, both representing Boulder City spoke about past history and current issues facing Boulder City.

Former Nevada State Assemblywoman Gene Segerblom

Nevada State Assemblyman Lynn Stewart

Following these two wonderful speakers were National Park Service Ranger Amanda Rowland, who spoke about historical resources around and at the bottom of Lake Mead, and Dr. Fran Campbell, who spoke about the history of African-Americans and the building of Hoover Dam.

Dr. Fran Campbell

National Park Service Ranger Amanda Rowland

Conference attendees from both northern and southern Nevada also toured the Boulder City Museum in the Boulder City Hotel and cruised on Lake Mead to Hoover Dam on board Forever Earth.

Also while on board, Dr. Linda Miller spoke about using the Library of Congress to teach with primary sources. All-in-all, it was an informative and enjoyable conference.

I also enjoyed watching people take advantage of Lake Mead National Recreation Area on Public Lands Day, where the weather was partly cloudy and the temperature was approximately 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Lake Mead is about a 40 minute drive from the center of Las Vegas. Lake Mead's water originates from a combination of snowmelt from more northerly states into the Colorado River, and runoff from rain along the river's entire meandering path through 9 western states.

The runoff is the reason it is so important not to put anything on your plants, lawns or on the ground that you wouldn't want to drink. Any chemical you put on things outside, gets washed into storm drains and eventually flows into the freshwater rivers, lakes and streams that people and animals use for drinking water. This is another reason we shouldn't be using the planet's freshwater - which is less than 1% of all water found on earth - as coolant, especially for nuclear power plants that leave it contaminated for many half-lives or thousands of years. That is not clean energy!

The lake is now 115 feet below it's highest level, as shown by the more lighter-colored "bathtub ring" in the second, third, fourth, and fifth pictures below. There is great concern about the possibility that Lake Mead will be dry in the next few decades. This will directly impact the availability of potable water in the highly populated, arid, desert Southwest and the bountiful farmlands Southern California, further downstream, that produce a percentage of our nation's (and the world's) fruit and vegetables. Here is a great example of something that, when it happens in Vegas, will absolutely not stay in Vegas. It also serves to illustrate how a change in precipitation patterns in one part of our country greatly impacts the entire country and beyond. We desperately need to do something about global warming.

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