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Nature’s New Deal: The Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt in New York’s Hudson Valley/ Neil Maher/ April 11, 7pm

Franklin Roosevelt grew up along the banks of the Hudson River on his family’s estate in Hyde Park, New York.  Years later during the Great Depression, New Deal work programs created by President Roosevelt returned to the Hudson Valley to provide jobs to tens of thousands of unemployed New Yorkers. Neil Maher’s interactive presentation traces this history – from FDR’s childhood home to the halls of Washington, D.C. and back again to the Hudson Valley – to illustrate how Roosevelt’s experiences in New York, both running his family’s estate and as Governor, greatly influenced many of his later New Deal conservation programs. 
Dr.  aher will focus in particular on Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and its impact on both the natural environment and local communities of the Hudson Valley region.  This presentation, which is suited for all audiences of any size, includes a multimedia component comprised of film clips from the 1930s and PowerPoint slides, and will help participants understand that the seeds of our contemporary environmental movement were sown in Depression-era New York.

Neil M. Maher was born and raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, where he still lives, and received his Ph.D. in history from New York University.  He has published articles in academic journals including the Hudson River Valley ReviewEnvironmental History, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, in popular on-line publications and blogs such as the History News Network and The Edge of the American West, and has served as Historical Advisor for a PBS American Experience documentary on Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression.  His first book,Nature’s New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement, was published by Oxford University Press in 2008 and won the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Book Award for the best monograph in conservation history.  He is currently completing a second book project, tentatively titled Ground Control: How Apollo Scrubbed the Age of Aquarius, which examines how efforts to put humans on the Moon influenced the social and political struggles of the 1960s, including those of the civil rights, anti-Vietnam War, environmental, women’s, and counterculture movements.  Maher is an associate professor in the Federated History Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University at Newark, where he teaches the environmental and political history of the United States.

About the New York Council for the Humanities
Founded in 1975 and supported by Federal, State, City, and private sources, the New York Council for the Humanities helps all New Yorkers become thoughtful participants in our communities by promoting critical inquiry, cultural understanding, and civic engagement through grants and programs.
This Public Scholars event, which is free and open to the public, is made possible through the support of the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.The Public Scholars program promotes vibrant public humanities engagement across New York State by offering a selection of dynamic, compelling presentations facilitated by humanities scholars. The Public Scholars program is an easy, affordable way for organizations to bring exceptional humanities programming to their community.