FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Friday, August 13, 2010
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Author Reading and Conservation Training in Albany August 17
Native Albanian, O.Victor Miller, and NPR Commentator, Diane Roberts, to read from “UnspOILed” anthology, followed by training by 30-year veteran conservation lobbyist, Neill Herring, a fixture in the Georgia legislature with clients including the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club and many of Georgia’s Riverkeepers. The training will directly assists citizens desiring to become more politically active conservationists.
Albany – The Albany Audubon Society and the Flint Riverkeeper invite the public to join them for an evening reading and training session – “UnspOILed: An Evening of Environmental Inspiration and Action,” beginning at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 17 at the Bridge House/Albany Welcome Center at Turtle Park.
When Florida lobbyists and legislators pushed to eliminate the long-standing ban protecting the Gulf of Mexico against oil drilling last fall, a group of writers wondered how they could make their voices heard. In a horrifying coincidence with the disaster at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. “UnspOILed,” an anthology of primarily Florida writers writing on behalf of the Gulf, was released in June by the Tallahassee-based Red Hills Writers Project (www.unspoiledbook.com).
Albany native, author and retired Darton professor, O.Victor Miller, will read Aug. 17 from his essay published in the anthology. He will be joined by writer Diane Roberts, who teaches creative writing at Florida State University and is an NPR Weekend Edition commentator. In addition, writer Dawn Radford, raised in the Florida Panhandle, will read from her essay.
“When we began this project last fall, the thought of the Gulf Coast being ruined in our lifetime was only a distant nightmare,” said Susan Cerulean, a Tallahassee writer and one of the anthology’s editors. “Now, as our project came to fruition, we are heartbroken, terrified and furious.”
Cerulean and more than three dozen writers who donated their essays, poems and short stories, recognized that, prior to the catastrophe, there was no unified voice to match the lobbying power of big oil. “We hope that our book will help generate support in favor of protecting our most precious coastline,” she said.
A. James Wohlpart served as another of the book’s editors and is a professor of environmental literature at Florida Gulf Coast’s University. Author and environmentalist, Janisse Ray, of Reidsville, Georgia is the book’s third editor.
“If there was ever a time to stop drilling and move toward clean, renewable energy sources, this is the moment,” Cerulean said.
Following the reading, the audience is invited to a reception and book signing. For those interested in attending, at 7 p.m., Neill Herring will begin a 90-minute training session for citizens interested in becoming more politically active conservationists. Herring, a native of Dalton, Ga., worked to oppose Georgia Power Company rate increases and its policy of overbuilding power plants in the 1970’s, and was a part time writer for several Atlanta weekly newspapers. He became a lobbyist at the General Assembly in 1980, opposing a Georgia Power Company bill that would have forced ratepayers to pay for a power plant before it was built. Those echoes can still be heard today in legislation that Herring helped fight in the 2009 session, legislation that passed over strong bipartisan opposition. Herring continued to work part-time as a lobbyist until relocating to Macon in 1985, becoming a full-time lobbyist shortly after that. He started as a contract lobbyist for the GA Chapter of the Sierra Club in 1989 and has represented primarily conservation groups since that time. Herring has also represented a labor union, a farm organization and lawyers for workers’ compensation clients and employees’ rights. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, call (229) 435-2241. # # #