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Sharon Matola, Subject of 2012-2013 Campus Read Book, to Speak Oct. 2

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 3:36 pm / September 12, 2012

Boise State’s Campus Read program will present advocate Sharon Matola, the title subject of “The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the Student Union Simplot Ballroom. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw,” by Bruce Barcott, is Boise State’s 2012-13 Campus Read book. It tells the story of Matola, a former circus performer who founded the Belize Zoo. It is known as “The Best Little Zoo in the World” because of the impact it has had in bringing about awareness of the biodiversity in Belize.

As the story goes, Matola is a true eccentric, riding around on a motorcycle and keeping a three-legged jaguar as a pet. But when a web of corporations, CEOs, banks and bureaucrats conspire to purchase, dam and destroy one of the great rivers of Central America — and one of the final habitats of the scarlet macaw — she bands together a ragtag army of local villagers and starts a campaign to save the remaining birds.

Her dramatic struggle brings alive the worldwide battle over globalization, demand for energy, environmental destruction, the fate of the planet’s species, and the realities of economic survival in a tiny Third World country.

As this year’s Campus Read selection, copies of “The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw” were presented to incoming first-year students over the summer and the book is being discussed in University Foundations 100 classes throughout the year. Print and digital copies also are available at Albertsons Library and the Boise Public Library.

Campus Read selections encourage students to read beyond textbooks; raise awareness and tolerance of intergenerational and cultural likenesses and differences; promote academic discourse and critical thinking; provide an introduction to the expectations of higher education; integrate an academic and social experience into the campus community; and create a sense of community by increasing student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction.

Author Barcott will visit campus in March during the spring semester. He is an environmental journalist and a 2009 Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction. His previous book, “The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier,” was a recipient of the Washington State Governor’s Award and was recently re-issued in a 10th anniversary edition. Barcott lives in Boulder, Colo. His articles appear in Outside Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine and numerous other publications.

Visit http://academics.boisestate.edu/undergraduate/about-campus-read/ for details about upcoming Campus Read activities.