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12th annual Theodore Roosevelt symposium begins Thursday

Experts and historians spanning the country and beyond travel to Dickinson State University annually to participate in the three-day Theodore Roosevelt symposium at the Theodore Roosevelt Center.

This year's 12th edition, entitled "Theodore Roosevelt: The Naturalist in the Arena," begins at 6 p.m. Thursday with registration at the May Hall.

Five speakers will discuss Roosevelt as a conservationist and it how intertwined with his public service. One of the speakers is Char Miller, director and W.M. Keck professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

Miller, an author and award-winning teacher, will head a discussion titled "Kindred Spirits: The Remarkable Partnership of Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot." It will examine connections between the 26th U.S. president and the first-ever chief of the U.S. Forest Service.

He has long been excited with the prospect of speaking at the symposium.

"I've been so jealous of those who have preceded me to the symposium," Miller said. "Every year, I have looked at the conference brochure and wished I could be in Dickinson, so I am really looking forward to speaking with the audience about our shared interests in Roosevelt and the world that he and Pinchot helped create; and to then get a chance to see the rough terrain that Theodore Roosevelt once lived on, worked and wrote about: a dream come true."

A college professor for more than 35 years, Miller has always admired Roosevelt and Pinchot, leading to a career as an environmental historian.

"In truth, Pinchot and Roosevelt led me to this field," he said. "I was initially intrigued because these two individuals came from families of great wealth — they could have done anything; and were talented enough to have done exactly that. Instead, both of them choose careers in the public sphere in politics, not the norm among their peers. But that original question became less compelling as I realized that their individual and collective work as conservationists changed the way Americans in general thought about how to interact with landscapes, natural and built.

"They were convinced if we acted in the best interests of those who we would not live to see, that by thinking of the future, we'd do right by the present. I love their commitment and will talk about why we need to be thinking the same way about those who will replace us across the 21st century."

Other speakers during the three-day symposium are authors Duane Jundt, Darrin Lunde, Barb Rosenstock and Melanie Choukas-Bradley.

For additional information on the symposium, visit the center's website " target="_blank">

Patrick Bernadeau

Patrick Bernadeau is a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press. He can be reached at his office number (701) 456-1211 or email him at Joining the Dickinson Press in July 2017, he was previously a freelance sports writer for Treasure Coast Newspapers ( in Stuart, FL as well as carrying bylines from the Associated Press, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today and Naples Daily News. Prior to his move to Dickinson, he resided in Port St. Lucie, FL, earning a Bachelor's Degree from Florida Atlantic University. Patrick was born and raised in Brockton, Mass and is an avid Boston sports fan. Born to Haitian parents, Patrick's favorite meal is Griot with Banana Peze, Pikliz (Fried pork with smashed plaintains and a spicy vegetable relish) and a tall glass of Cherry Coke.