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2010 Pilster Great Plains Lecture, October 28, 2010

Michael Forsberg & Dan O'Brien

The inaugural Mari Sandoz Heritage Society’s Pilster Great Plains Lecture Series featured nature photographer and Nebraska native Michael Forsberg with writer and novelist Dan O’Brien.

Forsberg shared his work documenting the vast Plains landscape—its lakes, prairies, plants and animals through the photography from his book, Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild. Through this book and his lectures, Forsberg has created an exquisite, bittersweet love song to the Great Plains, demonstrating that the Plains are a dynamic but often forgotten landscape—overlooked, undervalued, misunderstood, and in desperate need of conservation.

Forsberg earned a degree in geography with an emphasis in environmental studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and later worked at NEBRASKAland Magazine as a staff photographer and writer for six years before starting his own photography business and gallery. Forsberg and his wife and business partner, Patty, have developed exhibitions of photographs from his books. His images have appeared in publications including Audubon, National Geographic, Natural History, National Wildlife and in books published by National Geographic and Smithsonian. He is also the author of On Ancient Wings: The Sandhill Cranes of North America.

Dan O’Brien is a rancher-falconer-writer who is also a great storyteller. He recounted some of his experiences with Forsberg, and discussed the critical importance of water in sustaining life on the Plains. O’Brien is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction. His works include Spirit of the Hills; The Contract Surgeon, winner of the 2000 Western Heritage Award for Fiction; Buffalo for the Broken Heart, chosen as the One Book South Dakota Selection for 2009; The Indian Agent; and a short story collection, Eminent Domain, which won the Iowa Short Fiction Award.