2017 Theodore Roosevelt Symposium

Theodore Roosevelt: The Naturalist in the Arena

September 14-16, 2017

When seven-year-old "Teedie" Roosevelt came upon a dead seal in front of a New York City shop, he measured it, gazed on it in wonder, and eventually obtained the skull for what would become the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History. His scientific curiosity, boyish enthusiasm, and love of the outdoors persisted through his hectic life as a public servant. 

Online registration is available at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/. September 10 Update: All talks remain free and open to the public. Registration for meals and the field trip has closed.

Campus Map (PDF)

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Confirmed speakers include:

Darrin Lunde - "A Field Guide to Roosevelt the Naturalist"

Theodore Roosevelt went through several stages as a naturalist. As a boy he expressed his interest through natural history museums. As a young man he harnessed his ethos as a hunter to transform himself into a conservationist, and he put this ethic to effect as a politician. Finally, in the last decade of his life, TR brought all of these attributes together when he led the Smithsonian African Expedition. Recognizing how Theodore Roosevelt progressed through all of these stages as a naturalist is the key to understanding the complex natural history of this incredible man.

Author of The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History, Darrin Lunde is a Supervisory Museum Specialist in the Division of Mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Previously, he worked at the American Museum of Natural History, where he led field expeditions throughout the world. Lunde has named more than a dozen new species of mammals and provided valuable scientific insights on hundreds of others. He is also the author of several children’s books including Meet the Meerkat and Hello, Bumblebee Bat.


Char Miller - "Kindred Spirits: The Remarkable Partnership of Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot"

Char MillerTheodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot were lucky in each other. Even before these two dedicated conservationists took on the lofty positions that would define their legacies—Roosevelt as president and Pinchot as the founding chief of the U.S. Forest Service—they had developed a close working relationship. One of its key outcomes was the national commitment to carefully manage America’s treasured public lands and the extraordinary array of natural resources they contain. Using historical images and archival material, Char Miller will give us a deeper understanding of these men’s dynamic friendship and transformative leadership, and make the case that we, too, are lucky to have had such principled individuals guiding our environmental policies at a pivotal time.

Char Miller is the W. M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and serves as a Senior Fellow of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and a Fellow of The Forest History Society. An award-winning teacher and scholar, MIller's recent books include America's Great National Forests, Wildernesses, and GrasslandsNot So Golden State: Sustainability vs. the California DreamSeeking the Greatest Good: The Conservation Legacy of Gifford Pinchot, and Gifford Pinchot: Selected Writings. He frequently contributes essays, commentary, and reviews to newspapers, journals, and online venues.


Barb Rosenstock - "Friendship Under Five Inches of Snow: Roosevelt and John Muir in Yosemite"

“...I want to drop politics absolutely for four days and just be out in the open with you.”  When TR wrote to naturalist John Muir in March of 1903, it started a friendship that changed America. How did an extroverted avid hunter and an introvert who literally hugged trees find common ground in one of our America's great wild places? From prejudices about Roosevelt, to discoveries about her own connection with nature, Barb Rosenstock tells her story of mining Roosevelt and Muir’s relationship and personalities to create relatable history for children.

Barb Rosenstock is the author of narrative nonfiction and historical fiction picture books for children, including The Camping Trip that Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks, winner of the California Library Association’s Beatty Award, among many others. From the story of artist Vasily Kandinsky in her Caldecott Honor book, The Noisy Paint Box, to biographies of Jefferson, Franklin, and DiMaggio, Rosenstock’s books tell stories that engage children in the stories of our past.


Duane Jundt - “I So Declare It”: Roosevelt’s Love Affair with Birds

Theodore Roosevelt’s reputation as the foremost conservationist president is assured and his hunting exploits are the stuff of legend. What is less well known is that Roosevelt was an avid birdwatcher and a champion of preserving America’s threatened bird species and habitats. And TR was no late comer to birding; he enjoyed observing and cataloging birds as a boy and he never recovered from this addiction. As President, Roosevelt acted decisively on behalf of America’s birds, but his interaction with birds also had a marked effect on him. This talk will explore the role birds and birding played in the life of an American president.

A graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead and the University of Notre Dame, Duane Jundt taught American and European history for 20 years, most recently at Northwestern College in Iowa. He is a regular presenter on Roosevelt at nature centers and state and national parks across the Midwest and West. Jundt has authored numerous blog posts, review essays, articles, and conference papers on Roosevelt. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and frequently contributes to the TRA Journal.


Melanie Choukas-Bradley - "President Roosevelt’s Explorations of Rock Creek Park"

President Roosevelt’s residence at the White House didn’t stop him from pursuing his love of nature, birding, and strenuous rock scrambles and point to point hikes. Learn about his adventures exploring Rock Creek Park, the wild stream valley that runs through the nation’s capital, in the company of friends and family, the French Ambassador Jean Jules Jusserand, other colleagues and soldiers, all of whom struggled to keep up with the indomitable president. Roosevelt has a trail named for him in Rock Creek Park and a 90-acre island memorial in the middle of the Potomac that is administered by the National Park Service and celebrates its 50th anniversary this fall. The presentation will be accompanied by stunning slides of Rock Creek Park and Theodore Roosevelt Island through the seasons.

Melanie Choukas-Bradley is the author of several natural history books, including City of Trees and A Year in Rock Creek Park, winner of a 2015 IPPY award. Melanie is a naturalist who leads nature walks, tree tours, and nature-oriented cycling and paddling trips for Smithsonian Associates, the United States Botanic Garden, the Audubon Naturalist Society, Casey Trees, the Nature Conservancy, the Rock Creek Conservancy, and Friends of Theodore Roosevelt Island. She teaches natural history and lectures widely. She is currently working on her fifth book, tentatively titled A Year at Theodore Roosevelt Island.

(subject to change)

All times are in Mountain Standard Time.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

6:00 p.m. Registration - May Hall 
7:00 p.m. Welcome and Introductions
7:30 p.m. Keynote Address: Darrin Lunde
  A Field Guide to Roosevelt the Naturalist
8:30 p.m. Book Signing with Darrin Lunde

Friday, September 15, 2017

8:00 a.m. Registration/Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks
9:15 a.m. Char Miller
   Kindred Spirits: The Remarkable Partnership of Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot
10 a.m. Q & A with Char Miller
10:30 a.m. Break & Book Signing with Char Miller
10:45 a.m. Barb Rosenstock
   Friendship Under Five Inches of Snow: Roosevelt and John Muir in Yosemite
11:25 a.m. Q & A with Barb Rosenstock
11:45 a.m. Break & Book Signing with Barb Rosenstock
Noon Lunch
1:00 p.m. Duane Jundt
   “I So Declare It”: Roosevelt’s Love Affair with Birds
1:40 p.m. Q & A with Duane Jundt
2:00 p.m. Break
2:15 p.m. Melanie Choukas-Bradley
   President Roosevelt’s Explorations of Rock Creek Park
3:00 p.m. Q & A with Melanie Choukas-Bradley
3:30 p.m. Break and Book Signing with Melanie Choukas-Bradley
4:30 p.m. Social in Stoxen Library
5:15 p.m. Dinner
7:00 p.m. Elkhorn Cottonwood Campfire - music and cowboy poetry at Beck Auditorium in DSU's Klinefelter Hall

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Field trip to Medora, North Dakota

8:00 a.m. Registration for Field Trip/Breakfast
8:30 a.m. Depart for Medora 
9:30 a.m. Clay Jenkinson
   Intersecting Genius, 1886: William Hornaday, Theodore Roosevelt and the Saving of the Buffalo
10:20 a.m. Panel with guest scholars - A wide-ranging discussion and synthesis of symposium themes 
11:15 p.m. Lunch and field trip
4:15 p.m. Closing reception

Please make travel and hotel arrangements early to ensure availabilty. Discounted guest rooms are available for symposium registrants at the following hotels:


10-minute drive from Dickinson State University
532 15th Street West, Dickinson
(701) 483-5600
$79 plus tax
RESERVATION CODE "Theodore Roosevelt Symposium"
Reservation deadline is August 14, 2017


40-minute drive from Dickinson State University
301 3rd Avenue, Medora
(701) 633-6721
$119 plus tax
Reservation deadline is August 21, 2017