National Park Partners presents the 14th Annual Moccasin Bend Fall Lecture Series, sponsored by Greg A. Vital, to be held on Sept. 16, Oct. 14, and Nov. 11. The Moccasin Bend Fall Lecture Series brings thought leaders and subject matter experts to share stories and experiences related to National Parks, conservation, history, American Indian culture, and more.
This year the series will be held inside the IMAX Theater in downtown Chattanooga. All lectures are on Monday evenings, and are free and open to the public with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and all lectures begin at 7 p.m. More information can be found in the Our Projects section of the National Park Partners website, npp-ccm.org.
Theresa Pierno is the first featured guest speaker and will be presenting her talk, “Celebrating a Century of Advocacy: The National Parks Conservation Association Turns 100” Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. Ms. Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, will reflect on the past 100 years of partnership with the National Park Service, highlighting the many achievements of this beneficial relationship and the goals of NPCA for the next 100 years.
The second lecture in the series will take place on Monday, Oct. 14, featuring Dr. James Pate presenting his talk, “Dragging Canoe and the Chickamauga Cherokees.” Dr. Pate, renowned author and Emeritus Professor of History at the University of West Alabama, will outline Dragging Canoe's leadership in the active resistance to the surrender of Cherokee lands, beginning before the Revolutionary War and continuing until his death in 1792.
The final lecture will take place on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, and will feature Timothy B. Smith, Ph.D., and National Park Service historian, Jim Ogden, for a discussion on “The Chickamauga Battlefield and the Civil War Reconciliation Movement.” Dr. Smith of the University of Tennessee-Martin and Mr. Ogden will have a lively discussion detailing the first reconciliation of Civil War veterans at Chickamauga, which gave rise to the battlefield preservation movement and the mixed results of attempts to heal a divided nation. Presented in partnership with the Chattanooga Area Historical Association and the History Department of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
BIOS: 14th Annual Moccasin Bend Fall Lecture Series
Monday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.
Speaker: Theresa Pierno
Topic: Celebrating a Century of Advocacy: The National Parks Conservation Association Turns 100
Theresa Pierno is President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. She joined NPCA in 2004 after a distinguished career in public service and natural resource protection, and has helped to solidify the organization's role as the voice of America's national parks.
As president and CEO, one of Ms. Pierno’s top priorities for the organization is connecting more diverse and younger people to our national parks. “For me, it’s about making sure that we have more people, diverse communities, young adults connecting with these places and understanding that national parks play a primary role in the foundation of our democracy and the future of our ecosystems. Protecting parks is protecting both of these things that are so fundamentally important to all of us.”
In addition, under Ms. Pierno’s leadership, the organization’s strategic focus is on ensuring that as the leading advocate for national parks these places continue to be protected and have the resources and infrastructure they need to thrive in their second century.
Prior to becoming president and CEO, Ms. Pierno served as NPCA’s chief operating officer and played a critical role in the recruitment of talented, diverse and experienced staff, led the development of strategic priorities with a focus on water and land use policy, and helped to ensure the financial health of NPCA through revised management practices and successful fundraising efforts. Further, in an effort to engage and inspire new park stewards and advocates, she formed NPCA’s Next Generation Advisory Council—a group of young rangers, civil servants, public land advocates, educators, students and activists with a strong desire to lead national park advocacy efforts well into the future.
Ms. Pierno first joined NPCA in 2004 as vice president of Regional Operations. In that role, she successfully doubled the field program to include more than 60 staff working in 24 offices across the country. The move further enhanced NPCA’s connection to national parks and their gateway communities and helped to solidify the organization’s role as the voice of America’s national parks.
Ms. Pierno is the co-founder and co-chair of America’s Great Waters Coalition, a group of 70 member organizations working together to protect and restore waters in and around our national parks that are central to the health of the ecosystem and the recreation of their visitors. Prior to joining NPCA, she served as a vice president for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Maryland executive director.
Monday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m.
Speaker: Dr. James Pate
Topic: Dragging Canoe and the Chickamauga Cherokees
James P. Pate is an independent scholar/writer and an emeritus professor of History at the University of West Alabama where he served as a department chair, dean of General Studies, and vice president for Academic Affairs (1967-1995). He also served as dean of Arts and Letters at Southeastern Oklahoma State University (1995-1998), vice president for Academic Affairs at Northeastern State University (1998-2005), and campus dean at the University of Mississippi-Tupelo (2005-2014).
Dr. Pate is a graduate of Delta State University and earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Mississippi State University. He has also published The Reminiscences of George Strother Gaines: Pioneer and Statesman of Early Alabama and Mississippi, 1805 - 1843 (University of Alabama Press, 1998); “When This Evil War Is Over”: The Correspondence of the Francis Family, 1860-1865 (University of Alabama Press, 2006); and Cherokee Newspapers, 1828-1906: Tribal Voice of a People in Transition (Cherokee Heritage Press, 2012 ). He has received grants for his research and historic preservation work, including archaeological investigations at the Fort Tombecbé/Fort Confederation site (1736-1797). He negotiated the transfer of this eighteenth century French-British-Spanish site to the University of West Alabama in 1986.
Dr. Pate has received numerous honors and recognitions for his professional and civic activities and completed post-doctoral study in Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management (1985) and in the Price-Babson College Fellowship Program for Entrepreneurship Educators (2001). He and his wife Betty live in Vestavia Hills, Al., and they have three children and eight grandchildren.
Monday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.
Speaker: Timothy B. Smith, Ph.D.
Topic: Chickamauga Battlefield and the Civil War Reconciliation Movement
Timothy B. Smith (Ph.D. Mississippi State University, 2001) is a veteran of the National Park Service and currently teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. In addition to numerous articles and essays, he is the author, editor, or co-editor of 18 books, including award winners Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (2004), Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation (2012), Shiloh: Conquer or Perish (2014), Grant Invades Tennessee: The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson (2016), and The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi (2018). His book on the May 19 and 22 Vicksburg assaults comes out in the spring of 2020, and he is currently writing a book on the Vicksburg siege. He lives with his wife Kelly and children Mary Kate and Leah Grace in Adamsville, Tn.