Sigurd OlsonThe Sigurd Olson Lecture Series has brought visionary conservationists to speak in Minnesota each spring since the 1982 death of writer, naturalist and wilderness advocate Sigurd F. Olson.

Each year, the lectures highlight current natural resource issues by national conservation leaders. All lectures are free and open to the public. Speakers typically present lectures in Ely, MN at Vermilion Community College and in the Twin Cities.


2014 Sigurd Olson Lecture Series

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, working with Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness, enjoyed presenting the 2014 Sigurd Olson Lecture Series, featuring Mike Clark.

As head of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition during the Clinton years, Clark led a successful decade-long effort to halt a proposed gold mine on the edge of Yellowstone National Park. The mining area has since been reclaimed by the U.S. Forest Service and a vibrant tourist economy remains intact.Clark will talk about how the campaign to stop the mine was organized, the challenges of protecting public landsMike Clark when mining operations are proposed, and how public lands provide the economic engine for many rural areas adjacent to protected public lands and wilderness areas.His talk, entitled “Yellowstone: More Precious than Gold,” offered important lessons for Minnesotans who are grappling with the risks posed to wilderness from copper-nickel sulfide mine proposals like PolyMet and Twin Metals.


Past speakers:

  • 1999 – Steve Whitney, Charlie Raines, Christine Weller – “The Endangered Forests of Washington’s Cascade Crest”
  • 2000 – Julie Wormser, Bob Perschell – “The Great Northern Forest”
  • 2001 – Dave Foreman – “Rewilding North America”
  • 2002 – Jaime Pinkham – “Voices of Wilderness”
  • 2003 – Bob Ekey – “Yellowstone to Yukon”
  • 2004 – Pete Morton – “Environmental Land Economic Impacts of Drilling in the Rocky Mountains”
  • 2005 – Flip Hagood – “Our Land, Our Youth, Our Future and the Role of Environmental Education”
  • 2006 – Lee Frelich – “Conservation Challenges and Policy Responses for BWCAW Forests – An Ecological Perfect Storm”
  • 2008 – Will Steger and J. Drake Hamilton – “Eyewitness to Global Warming”
  • 2009 – Jerry Greenberg and Frank and Audrey Peterman – “Science, Politics, and Values in Conservation and Resource Management”
  • 2010 – Brian O’Neill – “Yellowstone and the BWCAW: A Political History of Two Landscapes”
  • 2011 – Amy Vedder – “From Gorillas to Grizzlies:  a Conservation Journey”
  • 2012 – Spencer Phillips – “Wildland Conservation and Local Economies”
  • 2013 – Tim Bristol – “Watersheds: Clean Water, Wild Places, and Healthy Communities”