Raising community awareness of wetlands areas is the goal of upcoming events.
Local environmental groups and members of the Haskell Indian Nations University community have planned several events to promote preservation of the wetlands south of Lawrence.
Spokespeople for the groups have said they hope to raise community awareness of the educational value of the wetlands and the role of nature in American Indian spirituality.
Those issues will be the focus of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that will determine the route of the eastern portion of the South Lawrence Trafficway. County officials have said their preliminary draft of the SEIS will be available Dec. 15. Public hearings will be held in February.
The road currently is envisioned as running along 31st Street south of the Haskell campus, near American Indian worship sites and through the wetlands.
Here is a list of related events:
- A ``Community Wetlands Gathering,'' featuring speakers, musicians, performance artists and poets, will begin at noon Saturday at the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Douglas County Road 13, where construction of the western portion of the South Lawrence Trafficway in under way.
Sponsors of the event are two groups opposed to the trafficway, the Alliance for Environmental Justice and the Beaver Dam Alliance.
The keynote speaker will be Mike Trapp, a University of Toledo sociologist and organizer of nuclear power protests. Trapp, who also is affiliated with the Student Environmental Action Coalition, will speak on participatory democracy, community values and student activism.
- The Coalition to Preserve the Wetlands will sponsor a public forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Haskell Auditorium to get public input for Haskell's response to the notice of intent to prepare the SEIS. Speakers will include environmental policy experts.
Haskell's input into the SEIS process, which is being conducted by Douglas County, the Federal Highway Administration and the Kansas Department of Transportation, is due Oct. 15.
- A public tour of the Baker Wetlands will begin at 8 a.m. Oct. 8 on the boardwalk at the north entrance to the wetlands on 31st Street. Roger Boyd, Baker University biologist, will discuss birds and wild flowers in the wetlands.
- An all-day teach-in will be held at the Haskell Medicine Wheel beginning at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 15.