Kent State's Fourth Annual Water and Land Symposium Focuses on Sustainability and Resilience on the Land-Water Continuum

Photo of Cynthia BarnettThe fourth annual Water and Land Symposium at Kent State University will be held Oct. 5-6 at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Kent, Ohio. This year, the symposium is co-sponsored by Kent State’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Cleveland Water Alliance. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

The theme of this year’s symposium is “Sustainability and Resilience on the Land-Water Continuum” and will feature keynote speaker Cynthia Barnett on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. Barnett is an environmental journalist and author of “Mirage,” “Blue Revolution” and “Rain: A Natural and Cultural History,” long-listed for the National Book Award and finalist for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. Following her keynote address, she will sign books during the reception and first poster session.

Barnett has written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Discover Magazine, Salon, Politico, Orion Magazine, Ensia and many other publications. Her numerous journalism awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades, which recognize outstanding journalism in 11 southeastern states. She teaches environmental journalism and nature, and adventure writing at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. 

“This year’s keynote speaker, Cynthia Barnett, has called for a new water ethic that invites us to rethink our relationship with water,” said Anne Jefferson, Ph.D., associate professor in Kent State’s Department of Geology and symposium co-chair. “Her work draws from the sciences, history and the arts, making her the perfect keynote for a wonderfully multidisciplinary symposium.” 

On Thursday, Oct. 6, there will be a full day of plenary and breakout sessions focused on the themes of Water and Sustainability, Restoration and Conservation, and Risk and Resilience. Thursday’s events feature 17 expert speakers from around the region and across the country, along with panel discussions and a poster session. 

Kent State faculty members Andrew Curtis, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Geography; Chris Blackwood, Ph.D., associate professor; Darren Bade, Ph.D., associate professor; and Lauren Kinsman-Costello, Ph.D., assistant professor; all from the Department of Biological Sciences, will present at the symposium. Other presenters include Tom Meixner of the University of Arizona; Truman Young of the University of California, Davis; Melissa Kenney of the University of Maryland, who also is an AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow; Sarah Godsey of Idaho State University; Laura Johnson of Heidelberg University, who also is the director of the National Center for Water; Karin Kettenring of Utah State University; Matt Davies of the Ohio State University; Connie Hausman of Cleveland Metroparks; Mark McCabe of Gresham Smith and Partners; Wendy Kellogg of Cleveland State University; Harry Sarvis of the Ohio EPA Central Office; and James White of the Cuyahoga County Port Authority. 

With more than 30 researchers working across multiple colleges and departments, Kent State has considerable strength in a broad range of the aquatic and terrestrial sciences and related disciplines.

For more information about this year’s Water and Land Symposium or to register, visit

AquaHacking 2017 Information Sessions to Be Held Oct. 5 From 3-5 p.m. in McGilvrey Hall

Informational sessions on the Aquahacking 2017 competition will be held on Oct. 5 from 3-5 p.m. (before the Water and Land Symposium) in McGilvrey Hall, rooms 234 and 240 on the Kent Campus. One room will have an issue-generation session to identify issues for Aquahacking; the other room will have an introduction for potential Aquahackers. The issue-generation session is intended for stakeholders, such as watershed groups, Lake Erie recreation enthusiasts, interested citizens and corporate partners. The Aquahacking session will include an introduction to Aquahacking designed to introduce potential Aquahackers to datasets and approaches to hacking important Great Lakes water issues. If you would like to attend or to get more information, please contact Patrick Lorch at 440-253-2167 or To learn more, visit

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Photo Caption:
Cynthia Barnett, an environmental journalist and author of “Mirage,” “Blue Revolution” and “Rain: A Natural and Cultural History,” is the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Water and Land Symposium at Kent State University that will take place Oct. 5-6.

Media Contacts:
Jim Maxwell,, 330-672-8028
Kristin Anderson,, 330-672-7907

POSTED: Thursday, September 29, 2016 10:20 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 07:34 PM
Jim Maxwell