Dear Friends of the Bill Lane Center,
2020 has certainly been an unusual and unprecedented year. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Bill Lane Center has been working remotely since March. While this has, sadly, led to the cancellation of some of our signature location-based programs, such as the Eccles Family Rural West Conference (planned for March 2020 in Nevada’s Carson Valley) and the annual Sophomore College field course (planned for September 2020 in the Columbia River Valley) we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish in spite of the pandemic, including record attendance at our 17 virtual programs. Our workshop on wildfire management, for example, shifted to an online format over the summer -- which turned out to be a historic, catastrophic wildfire season for the West. This year has shown us just how important our research on the links between health and environment can be. Although we haven’t been able to travel, the events of 2020 have reaffirmed our commitment to the vibrant places of the West -- and the people in them. Thanks to those of you who have joined us, from all corners of the West and beyond, for our online programs. We hope to see you, online or in person, soon.
We sponsored a number of courses this past year covering topics that are foremost in Westerners’ minds as the region contends with ongoing demographic, environmental and economic shifts.
The Lane Center also hosted a record number of in-house research assistants in 2020. Twenty-two research assistants, supervised by Iris Hui, Morris Fiorina from the Hoover Institution, Didi Kuo from CDDRL, and me, dove headfirst into pressing problems facing the West this summer. Projects focused on the response to and impacts of COVID-19, environmental regulation and air quality, wildfire management, and groundwater legislation. Read more about our student research here.
Our student researchers created a number of reports, articles, presentations, and other products based on their research. One highlight not to be missed is “Portraits of a Pandemic,” a podcast co-created by Hannah Kelley, ‘22, Aja Two Crows, ‘21 and Sophia Boyd-Fliegel, ‘21. Traveling between Seattle and the Navajo Nation, this podcast considers the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Native communities.