2017 Speakers

July 7 Stephen H. Gehlbach, MD, MPH

Another Kind of Plague

As a species, we’ve successfully combatted a variety of epidemic diseases through our history. Some, that once devastated continents, like cholera and bubonic plague, have been drastically reduced in scope, others, virtually eliminated. Smallpox, which left its deadly mark on millions over centuries, has been officially eradicated, and polio is on that pathway.

But our successes have spawned a new public health scourge- a “plague” that comes not from invading viruses or bacteria but from within ourselves by way of our own actions, fears and misconceptions. We’ll examine the manifestations of this unique 21st century epidemic and explore its cause.

Dr. Gehlbach received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and medical degree from Case-Western Reserve University. He went on to obtain clinical training in pediatrics and earned an M.P.H. degree in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He served as a member of the Epidemic Intelligence Service with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in Atlanta. He has been a member of medical school faculties at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Duke University and the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa.

In 2004 he retired as dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after 16 years of service. Though officially retired he continues teaching epidemiology and preventive medicine at UMass medical school. In 2010 he received a Fulbright award to Lebanon where he taught and advised students in a health sciences program.

Dr. Gehlbach is the author of two books on epidemiology education: Interpreting the Medical Literature, now in its fifth edition, and American Plagues: Lessons from Our Battles with Disease which was published in an updated version last year.

He has served on the boards of several New Hampshire non-profit organizations including the Peterborough Players, Monadnock Conservancy, the New Hampshire Institute of Art and regional advisory board of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.


July 14 Emily Chetkowski and Applewood Highland Heather

Side by Side, Saving the Newfoundland Pony

For hundreds of years, Newfoundland Ponies inhabited the rugged island of Newfoundland, Canada. A breed created by nature via survival of the fittest, the pony was nearly annihilated by the greatest challenge of all: mass slaughter at the hands of people. Going from 7000 ponies to a few hundred in just 20 years, today there are only 250 breeding ponies left in the world. Forty live in the U.S.A. Thirteen of those are under the protection of Villi Poni Farm in Jaffrey.

Founder, executive director of Villi Poni Farm, and Newfoundland Pony advocate, Emily Chetkowski has shared her life with Newfoundland Ponies since the early 2000’s when she first learned of their plight. She is part of an international effort through which over 80 ponies have been found and saved. Awareness has risen worldwide and breeding efforts have increased.

Emily is a former children’s author, new to Jaffrey. She splits her time between caring for people as an Adult Family Care nurse and caring for Newfoundland ponies everywhere. She was one of the first Americans on the Newfoundland Pony Society Board of Directors based in Newfoundland. She was a key part of the rescue and repatriation of a large herd of ponies, moving them 4000 miles across Canada back to Newfoundland.

Emily will be sharing the story of the Newfoundland pony and lessons she has learned accompanied by beautiful Applewood Highland Heather who will surely enchant you and steal your heart away.

Applewood Highland Heather, born in 2001, is a native of Canada. She is a large pony who can be ridden or driven and who will cheerfully pull a sleigh. She is patient and kind with children and is a wonderful mother to her foals. Heather is also Emily’s heart.


July 21 Paul Hutchinson

Emerson, Monadnock, and the Birth of the Summer Camp Movement

Summer Camp is one of the most common shared experiences for American youth. It first took root in nineteenth-century New Hampshire.  Inspired by the work of philosophers, novelists, and poets, summer camp provided an experiential Romanticism, wherein children could live out the imagery that emerged on the written page.  The Monadnock Region not only hosted one of the first summer camps in America, it has been a hot bed of innovation in outdoor education for well over a century.  Dr. Hutchinson will discuss the early outdoor education movement, its links to the  Transcendentalists, and how Monadnock helped inspire ideas that led to an iconic American experience.

Dr. Paul J. Hutchinson is a Lecturer at Boston University Questrom School of Business teaching in both the undergraduate and MBA programs. Hutch has worked with over 45,000 participants in team-building and leadership programs since he began practicing experiential education in 1996. He has led back country, challenge course, and urban team-building programs throughout the United States and Europe.

Hutch earned his PhD in American and New England Studies at Boston University. His dissertation, Crafting an Outdoor Classroom: The Nineteenth Century Roots of the Outdoor Education Movement, argues that the pedagogy of experiential education resulted from changing perspectives on youth and wilderness in nineteenth century America.


July 28 Ann McClellan

Tiny Trees, Big Stories

The awe-inspiring bonsai and penjing of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. have fascinating tales to tell, having played invaluable roles in international diplomacy and as instruments of presidential influence. From their beginnings in Chinese antiquity to the dynamic forms shaped by modern masters from across the globe, these small bonsai and penjing trees and landscapes in pots allow our imaginations to experience and connect with nature in new and astonishing ways. Even the tiny trees that are not actually old are fashioned to look as if they have been aged by time, creating fascinating, irresistible living vignettes of nature’s beauty at its most sublime.

Ann McClellan’s newest book is Bonsai and Penjing, Ambassadors of Peace & Beauty, about the national collections of small trees and landscapes in pots. It joins her previous two books about the cherry blossom trees in Washington, D.C., reflecting her ongoing interests in Asian art and nature’s beauty.  Her earlier professional career included executive positions at the Smithsonian Institution and World Wildlife Fund. The Smithsonian provided extensive opportunities for her to experience first-hand the full spectrum of Asian arts, while at World Wildlife Fund she expanded her understanding of and appreciation for the natural world. Her lifelong love of nature and trees in particular developed from her childhood winters spent in New Jersey on a campus laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted and summers spent in the magnificent woods of New Hampshire’s Monadnock Region. She treasures bonsai and penjing as profound expressions of the best that people together with nature can create.


August 4 Mary Drew and Lt. Terry Choate

New Hampshire’s Silent Killer


New Hampshire has recently gained national attention as it now ranks 2nd in the country for fatal overdoses per 1000 people, and second to last in the country for providing affordable, accessible treatment to people who have struggles with alcoholism and addiction.  Individuals and entire communities must invest in carrying out a comprehensive agenda that includes drug and alcohol abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support services to make a collective impact. Come learn where we stand as a state, what is being done, and how you can help.

Mary Drew completed a two-year fellowship with the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, assigned to the NH Bureau of Drug & Alcohol Services, where she became an Internationally Certified Prevention Specialist.  She founded Reality Check in 2009 to help reduce alcohol abuse, drug use, and drug overdoses. She is a Substance Abuse Prevention Skills trainer, a Recovery Coach, and a Recovery Coach Academy trainer. Mary is also the Director of Welfare for the towns of Jaffrey, Rindge, and Marlborough.

Lt. Terry Choate is dedicated to reducing drug-related issues by interrupting channels of distribution and does community presentations on drug trends, symptoms of addiction, reducing stigma, and increasing supportive services. He is a Lieutenant for the Jaffrey Police Department specializing in drug interdiction, and the owner of Blue-U Defense Corporation which teaches workplace violence recognition, safety, and signs of use.


August 11 Christine Destrempes with Blyth Hazen & Sam Kelly

Taking Art off the Wall: Creating Meaningfully

Breaking down the barrier between the elite world of art and the general public, three artists tackle a unique method to engage entire communities in public-participation art. They will show how art can be not just a product but also a process, with a potential for building community, inciting change though conversation and creation.

Christine Destrempes has over thirty years of experience as a graphic designer, marketing consultant, painter, and printmaker. She was a creative director in magazine publishing, owned and operated a graphic design agency, and has worked as a freelance graphic designer. Her paintings and monotypes have been exhibited nationally and are in numerous corporate and private collections. Her work can be viewed at www.destrempes.com. Christine was founder and director of Art for Water and is now the Executive Director of Art & Dialogue (www.artanddialogue.org). She lives on Lake Skatutakee in Harrisville, NH.

Sam Kelly is a recent graduate from the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s BFA program. Originally training as an oil painter, Sam delved into the world of installation, printmaking and fiber arts for her senior thesis exhibition. Sam’s latest work can be viewed at www.samkellyartist.com. Along with her art practice, Sam is the co-founder of Flock Gallery NH, a nomadic pop-up gallery, and The Millennial Press, a community letterpress shop located at her alma mater. Both groups have helped to enrich the arts community at NHIA and the surrounding city of Manchester. Sam’s combined interest in installation, social issues and community outreach has led her to her position at Art & Dialogue.

Blyth Hazen is a professor at Montserrat College of Art, in Beverly, MA where she teaches a variety of courses, from puppet making to animation and 3-D game design. She is currently involved in creating new team-based and community engaged projects for Montserrat’s Studio for Experiential Learning. Examples of her sculptural, robotic and programmed animations can be seen at www.blythhazen.com. Her current work involves collaborations with other artists on stories for both print and animation.


August 18 Larissa MacFarquhar

Impossible Idealism and the Urge to Help

Charity may begin at home, but where should it end? Should we help the worst off, or should we take care of our own people first? Is need more vital than loyalty? Should we help strangers even at the expense of the people we love? Larissa MacFarquhar will consider these questions by telling the stories of people who live lives of extraordinary moral commitment.

Larissa’s profiles are known for giving her readers a sense of intimacy with her subjects. When she tells a story, the listener gains an understanding of the motivations of the person profiled. We will learn not only the extraordinary things these “do-gooders” do, but also why they do them.

Larissa MacFarquhar is the author of Strangers Drowning: Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Urge to Help, which came out in paperback last year. Since 1998 she has been a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where her profile subjects have included Barack Obama, Noam Chomsky, and Hillary Mantel. Her father, Rod, summers in Jaffrey.


Contact Us