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Western Illinois Celebrates Geography Awareness Week Nov. 17-23; Featured Speakers Nov. 18 and 20

November 12, 2002

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University’s geography department will celebrate Geography Awareness Week Sunday, Nov. 17 through Saturday, Nov. 23 with two noted speakers, whose presentations are open free to the public.

Adventurer Gary Comer, founder of Lands’ End, will present “Global Warming and the Future of the Arctic” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18 in Morgan Hall 109.

Meteorologist Bill Nichols, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service Quad Cities office, will speak on “Official NWS Winter Outlook Plus Some Experimental Winter Outlooks” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the Union Sandburg Theatre.

“It is a privilege to have Gary Comer and Bill Nichols presenting at Western as part of Geography Awareness Week,” said Christopher Sutton, chair of Western’s geography department. “Their topics will be of interest not only to our students but also to the general public, and we encourage all interested individuals to attend these presentations.”

Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Comer sailed his boat with a crew of seven and six passengers, through the fabled Northwest Passage in 1996. His vessel was the 92nd boat to make it through the Passage and the fastest, completing the trip in just over 16 days.

“We began to realize that the Arctic is the distant early warning area for the effects of global warming,” Comer said in a 2001 interview with Chicago Tribune Magazine. “It is the first part of the world where wildlife and humankind experiences changes brought on by global warming and these changes will be difficult, if not impossible, to cope with.”

Nichols brings more than 25 years of operational and research experience in meteorology to his Nov. 20 presentation, which coincides with Illinois’ Winter Weather Awareness Week Nov. 17-23.

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