Bryan Hazlett and Ryan Allen holding a copy of On Commo

Briar Cliff University Hosts “On Common Ground” Book Signing

August 25, 2023

Briar Cliff University hosted a book signing, and prairie walk celebrating the release of “On Common Ground: Learning and Living in the Loess Hills” edited by Ryan Allen and Brian T. Hazlett. This guidebook is a collection of writers as they explore and reflect on the landscape of the Loess Hills. 

The book combines natural history essays, short stories, and poetry and was designed to increase the understanding of how unique and fragile the First Bluffs and prairies of the Loess Hills are through storytelling.

“We’ve designed our book launch to provide the campus community and the public with a few experiences that inspired its contributors,” said Dr. Hazlett, Professor of Biology at Briar Cliff University. “This insight should allow all to better enjoy On Common Ground.”

The launch begins with a walk in the Sioux City Prairie led by Dr. Bill Zales followed by music and poems by Mike Langley and readings guided by contributors of the book including Briar Cliff University Alum, Melanie Krieps Mergen, and Scott Moats.

The book project was initiated to expand the across discipline scholarship and research of faculty, students, practicing conservations, artists, and creative writers. It was also undertaken to support the Franciscan value of Reverencing Creation by creating a primer on the Loess Hills that Briar Cliff University can use in its core values curriculum.  

Grantors for the project include the National Endowment for the Arts, Iowa DNR Conservation Education Program, and the Margaret Ann Martin Everist Foundation.   Briar Cliff University has committed to using the book for the next three years in the “First Year Experience” courses.

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