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Preview/Review (May 4 to May 18)

A review and previews of fun and informative U events and lectures occurring through May 18

Compiled by Adam Overland

SteelRoots 165
Steelroots structures are at the U's Landscape Arboretum. See more images at U of M Facebook.

May 3, 2011

Steelroots exhibit, U Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
On Apr. 14, the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum hosted artist Steve Tobin, creator of the "Steelroots: Touching Earth & Sky" outdoor exhibition, for a public talk.

Tobin’s exhibit at the Arboretum reminds me of that Tom Waits song, “Underground.” Tobin’s massive steel root structures make visible to us a world largely unknown, out of sight in the loamy darkness below our busy boots, which scurry about on the surface. But the world underground, as Tobin’s work expresses, is a world of life as well.

Perhaps no one structure expresses this notion more clearly than Tobin’s piece, Romeo and Juliet. The inspiration came from a walk along a dried riverbed, he said. In Romeo and Juliet, the roots of two trees on either side of the riverbed—the earth that couched them in life now eroded—reach toward each other for the same water source.

Steelroots Romeo&Juliet 165Romeo and JulietTobin's work has been featured on the covers of The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, and many more. One of his more famous works is a bronze root sculpture at Ground Zero in New York on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway. Called Trinity Root, Tobin made the 9/11 memorial after hearing the story of the 70-year-old sycamore tree that was across the street from the World Trade Center towers and which was knocked over by the impact of the collapsing towers. The tree absorbed the shock waves and fell in a way that shielded the historic St. Paul Chapel at Trinity Church.

A photo album of many of the works in the exhibit, as well as comments from Tobin’s talk, is available for view on U of M Facebook. The exhibit is on display through Jan. 2012.

And now for that wonderful, world-awakening Tom Waits song.

--Review by Adam Overland

Author event: U professor and author Jeff Gillman discusses, How The Government Got in Jeff Gillman book cover 165Your Back Yard, May 4, 4 p.m., U of M Bookstore, Coffman Union. Free. Gardening guru, author, and U associate professor Jeff Gillman will discuss his book, How The Government Got in Your Back Yard: Superweeds, Frankenhoods, Lawn Wars, and the (Nonpartisan)Truth About Environmental Policies. The book goes beyond politics to uncover the scientific, nonpartisan truth behind the biggest environmental issues of our time, from pesticides to plant patents, alternative energy to global warming. Be prepared to be surprised and maybe to lose a few cherished assumptions along the way. The facts behind the issues may turn everything you believed about environmental policy on its head. Gillman will sign copies of his book following the discussion.

Perspectives on Invisible Learning, with John Moravec. May 4, 1–2:30 p.m., 227 Burton Hall. Free. Learning is changing in our world, and this forum is an invitation to explore some of the best ideas that are emerging from around the planet and are contributing to a new ecology of learning.

In an era of globalization and "flattening" of our relationships around the Earth, how can we learn better? What happened to learning as we moved from the stable structures of the 20th century to fluid structures of the 21st century? What roles do schools and colleges play when you can learn in any context and at any time? Do we continue with formal learning or do we formalize informal learning?

John Moravec is a faculty member in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development and the Innovation Studies Master of Liberal Studies graduate programs at the University. He is the co-founder of the Horizon Forum, a roundtable on the future of education at all levels, and is the editor of Education Futures.

Horticultural Club Annual Plant Sale. May 5–7. It’s gardening time, and the U’s Horticultural Club annual plant sale is a great place to get started. Students grow and propagate most of the plants sold at these events themselves. Although the event lasts a few days, if you’ve got your eye on a particular plant, you better go on day one—they go fast. A complete list of plants is available online.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's Mary L. Griggs annual garden 165National Public Gardens Day. May 6, U of M Landscape Arboretum. Download a free admission voucher from Better Homes and Gardens. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has been named one of the top 10 gardens in America by USA Today. Now is your chance to see it for free on a day celebrating gardens nationwide. National Public Gardens Day, now in its third year, celebrates the vital role public gardens play in promoting environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conservation, and education. More than 500 North American public gardens participate. Share your thoughts on the vital role of public gardens by contributing to an art mural-in-progress at the Arboretum on National Public Gardens Day, 10–11 a.m.

Out of Bounds: Challenging the Status Quo. May 6, noon–1 p.m., 120 Elmer L. Andersen Library. Free. The library’s First Fridays series explores the concepts of suppression and expression in the varied collections held by the University of Minnesota Libraries. This session features two topics: “Wired Communities/Wired Lives: Social Issues in Computing,” presented by the Charles Babbage Institute, and “Literary Manuscripts: Silences and Outbursts,” presented by the Upper Midwest Literary Archives.

Spring Raptor Release. May 7, 11 a.m.–2 p.m., release at 1 p.m. Hyland Lake Park Reserve Visitor Center, 10145 Bush Lake Rd. Bloomington. Free. I finally made it to this annual program of the College of Spring Raptor Release, bald eagle--165A bald eagle at last year's Spring Raptor ReleaseVeterinary Medicine's Raptor Center in 2010. I joined thousands of people wandering the grounds of beautiful Hyland Lake Park Reserve, snapping photographs of birds of prey, including owls, eagles, falcons, and hawks. It’s an amazing event, and this year, the weather (finally) looks promising. During this annual celebration, participants can watch raptors return to the wild and learn about and photograph eagles, falcons, hawks, and owls. There will also be live raptor programs, children’s activities, and a climbing wall. The release is co-sponsored by Three Rivers Park District and The Raptor Center. Pets are not allowed at the event.

One Heart, One Mind, One Universe: A special visit by His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama. May 8–9. You have to wonder at the resilient optimism in these words of the Dalai Lama:

"Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way to achieve a lasting world peace. Even if it is not achieved during my own lifetime, that is all right. More human beings will come—the next generation and the one after that—and progress can continue. I feel that despite the practical difficulties and the fact that this is regarded as an unrealistic view, it is worthwhile to make the attempt. So wherever I go, I express this, and I am encouraged that people from many different walks of life receive it well."

The Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Tibetan American Foundation will host a special Twin Cities visit by the Dalai Lama, his first official trip to the state since 2001. The theme is "One Heart, One Mind, One Universe." Events range from a full-day retreat to a two-hour lecture.

MOMENTUM 2011: Sustainable Seas: The Vision, the Reality. May 12, 7:30–9:30 p.m., Ted Man Concert Hall. Cost: $15 for U staff, faculty, and alumni. Oceanographer, National Geographic explorer-in-residence, and deep-sea diver Sylvia Earle will headline an entertainment-filled evening looking at the wonder of Earth’s oceans. Distinguished as Time magazine’s first Hero for the Planet and named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, Earle has conducted pioneering research on marine ecosystems and led more than 100 expeditions beneath the sea. Minnesota’s own Mason Jennings will open the evening with an acoustic performance.

Technologies and How to Find and License Them at the University of Minnesota. May 16, 4:30–7:30 p.m., 150 West Bank Office Building. Free. During his 26 years at Honeywell, Jay Schrankler held key management and executive roles spanning the aerospace business to automation and control solutions. In April 2007, he was appointed the executive director of the U’s Office for Technology Commercialization. Schrankler’s group is responsible for mining the University for key inventions and determining the best route to commercialization. This comes in the form of technology licenses and in new venture start-up companies created by the University’s Venture Center.

Find more Twin Cities events using the U's events calendar.

University events and lectures preview/review is a periodic column (about every two weeks) highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on the UMTC campus. Faculty and staff are invited to contribute. Review submissions should be no more than 500 words, previews 200 or fewer. Both are subject to review by the Brief editor.