This presentation covers humankind’s water use and food supply interactions with Arizona’s ecology from Clovis Culture hunter-gatherers to proto-farmers to Hohokam irrigation canals, Hopi and Tohono O’odham dry farming, and present-day American farmers. We will examine archaeological studies of how overhunting and climate change affected the wooly mammoth populations and the experiments with agriculture that followed. From proto-farmers attempts to increase growth of certain plants to some of the earliest irrigation canal projects in North America.

The Southwest’s indigenous people developed methods to survive the regions’ harsh climate. The Hopi and Tohono O’odham cultures not only altered their physical environment but developed a cultural belief system that espoused frugality and harmony with their natural surroundings. This presentation will also look at the life works of Professor Robert Forbes, who served at the University of Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station in the early 1900s and went on to father Arizona’s first groundwater laws as an Arizona legislator in the 1950s.

About the Lecturer
Jim Turner moved to Arizona in 1951 and earned his masters degree in U.S. history from the University of Arizona in 1999. He has been an Arizona historian since 1976 and he retired from the Arizona Historical Society in 2009 to write Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon State. He taught Arizona history at Canyon del Oro High School for his student teaching in 1976, for the University of Arizona in 1999, for Central Arizona College 2009-2011, and has been a presenter for Elderhostel and Arizona Humanities for the past ten years. He is now an author and editor for Rio Nuevo Publishers, where his books include The Mighty Colorado from the Glaciers to the Gulf, Four Corners USA: the Wonders of the American Southwest, and The Navajo Code Talker Manual.

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