Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2014 (July 10, 2014)

100 Years of Extinction

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July 11, 2014

news pigeons
Illustration by John James Audubon

Sept. 1, 1914, marked the death of the last passenger pigeon, a species that once numbered in the billions before rapidly declining and disappearing altogether. The story of this extinction is being told across the country to mark the centennial, in part as a cautionary tale for our time. A group of Beloit faculty and staff see the anniversary as an interdisciplinary teaching moment, a chance to explore the history and concept of extinction, current environmental issues, environmental history, and humanity’s impact on the environment.  

To that end, the college will present two major events in addition to offering courses, exhibits, and projects involving students and the larger community. One of the main events is a speaker series, scheduled to take place during September and October. The other is a performance art event that will feature open mike readings, music, and dance in downtown Beloit, all taking place in front of a large-scale video projection simulating the passage of a flock of pigeons. The computer-generated flight, excerpted and adapted from the movie From Billions to None, will be projected onto a downtown building on Sept. 27, during Homecoming and Family & Friends Weekend.

Highlights include:

  • Sept. 24: Lecture by Joel Greenberg, author of A Feathered River Across the Sky
  • Sept. 27: Flyover simulation; downtown Beloit, 6 to 10 p.m.
  • Oct. 22: Film screening: From Billions to None and discussion with filmmaker David Mrazek

For details, see or search “ghostflock” on social media.

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