The Woodward News

Local News

August 4, 2012

Woodward hosting 'The Dust Bowl'

Woodward, Okla. — A presentation on the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, offered by the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA), comes to Woodward Aug. 16.

A 40-minute excerpt of the Ken Burns film "The Dust Bowl" will be given at 7 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the Woodward Conference Center.  The presentation is free and open to the public.The full-length 2-hour documentary will then debut on OETA Nov. 18 and 19, starting at 7 p.m. both nights.

Officials say Burns is a noted producer of documentaries which appear often on the Public Broadcasting System. His films are highlighted by use of archival footage and photographs and often focus on notable events in American history, according to Ashley Barcum, OETA's public information manager.

Other sponsors for the film include the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD), the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Following the preview there will be a panel discussion including the Dust Bowl survivors featured in the film, historians and conservation experts, Barcum said. Some of those who lived through the Dust Bowl are expected to attend.

"Among the communities reviewed, there were survivors from Goodwell, Boise City and Beaver," Barcum said.

And closer to Woodward, she said, "Charles Shaw from Vici and Wayne Mitchell of Mooreland lived through the events."

While the complete set of panelists had not been finalized as of late last week, Barcum said that the evening's emcee has been chosen.

"Clay Pope, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, will serve as the host for the evening, and then as moderator for the panel discussion," she said.

Pope said the OACD is proud to be involved with the presentation of the "Black Sunday" excerpt and take part in the panel discussion.

"This provides an opportunity to inform people about the Dust Bowl," he said. "And it gives us (OACD) a chance to let the people know we're involved in the care of their natural resources."

Pope said that it was caring for natural resources, through changes in planting practices and the advent of irrigation, that helped the region recover from the Dust Bowl.

"We've gone back to grass growing, rather than the widespread breaking of the soil," he said.

And the benefits of these resource management procedures have included preventing another Dust Bowl, he said, noting, "we haven't seen the dust storms return like they were happening in the 30s."

"With our approach to current conservation methods, we remember history," Pope said. "You know the saying. If we don't remember history, we're doomed to repeat it."

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