Forsberg to receive book prize, open Olson Seminar series Sept. 8

Released on 08/26/2010, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2010

WHERE: Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q Street [map]

Lincoln, Neb., August 26th, 2010 —
Michael Forsberg (photo copyright to Joel Sartore)
Michael Forsberg (photo copyright to Joel Sartore)
Dust cover of
Dust cover of "Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild"

Lincoln photographer Michael Forsberg will receive the Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize from the Center for Great Plains Studies and deliver the center's first 2010-11 Paul A. Olson Seminar in Great Plains Studies Sept. 8.

Forsberg won the $5,000 award for "Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild," produced with noted writer Dan O'Brien, Great Plains scholar David Wishart and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser, and published by Chicago University Press.

Three broad geographic regions are covered in detail in "Great Plains," evoked in the unforgettable images taken by Forsberg. Between the fall of 2005 and the winter of 2008, Forsberg traveled nearly 100,000 miles across 12 states and three provinces, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, to complete the photographic fieldwork for this project, underwritten by The Nature Conservancy. Complementing Forsberg's images and firsthand accounts are essays by Wishart and O'Brien, and a foreword by Kooser, the 13th poet laureate of the United States.

In his Olson Seminar presentation 3:30-5 p.m. at the Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St., Forsberg will describe how "Great Plains" is an extension of several years of dedicated work trying to put a face to the native wildlife, landscapes and conservation challenges in the heart of the North American continent. In a photo-driven presentation, he will offer a look into what it took to pull the book together, share some stories from the field, and what he learned along the way. His talk will end with a multimedia piece taking the audience on a journey through the lingering wild of the Great Plains.

The seminar and a 3 p.m. reception in the gallery are free and open to the public.

Forsberg earned a degree in geography with an emphasis in environmental studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and worked briefly as a seasonal ranger in the National Park Service before joining NEBRASKAland magazine as a staff photographer and writer. He worked at the magazine for six years before starting his own photography business and gallery.

Forsberg's seminar is the first of three fall-semester Olson seminars at UNL. Future seminars (both 3:30-5 p.m.):

* Wednesday, Oct. 13 -- "Unmasking Nebraska's 'Desert in Disguise,'" David Loope, Schultz chair in stratigraphy, UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

* Wednesday, Nov. 17 -- "Colonizing the Senses: New Sensory Regimes for Indigenous Children on the Great Plains and in Australia, 1880-1940," Margaret Jacobs, professor of history and director of the Women's and Gender Studies Program at UNL, and the winner of the 2010 Bancroft Prize.

The Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize was created to emphasize the interdisciplinary importance of the Great Plains in today's publishing and educational market. Only first edition, full-length, nonfiction books published in 2009 were evaluated for the award. The other finalists were "Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought" by David Martinez (Minnesota Historical Society Press); "Sex, Murder, and the Unwritten Law: Courting Judicial Mayhem, Texas Style" by Bill Neal (Texas Tech University Press); and "North for the Harvest: Mexican Workers, Growers, and the Sugar Beet Industry" by Jim Norris (Minnesota Historical Society Press).

The Center for Great Plains Studies is an interdisciplinary, intercollegiate, regional research and teaching program chartered in 1976 by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Its mission is to promote a greater understanding of the people, culture, history and environment of the Great Plains through a variety of research, teaching, and outreach programs.

For more information, contact the center at (402) 472-3082 or visit

WRITER: Tom Simons, University Communications, (402) 472-8514