“LEARNING – JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT!” The 2018 Winter/Spring Learning Sessions are listed below in chronologic order by their beginning date for the month of February. Those beginning in January, March and April are on separate pages. Included with descriptions is biographical information on each instructor. Many sessions are one day sessions but others continue on the same day of the week for two to six weeks.
All learning sessions, except for walking and hiking ones, are held in classrooms on the Charlotte campus of Florida SouthWestern State College at 26300 Airport Road in Punta Gorda. Each classroom has up-to-date audio-visual equipment and there is ample parking with short walks to the “D” building (the only two-story building on campus).
You can register online with your credit card by clicking on the appropriate payment button (FRIENDS member or non-member) or you can call the LLI office at 941-637-3533. Refunds must be requested either by email or in writing through the U.S. mail and will be granted only prior to the first scheduled session.
NOTE: Additional sessions may be added as details are confirmed.
Now make your choices and learn — just for the fun of it!
Thursdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, 10:00 – 11:50 am (4 sessions), Classroom D108 “Two Novels of the Great Plains” with Joan Mountford
While the tales of the gritty pioneers who settled the Plains were told brilliantly by Willa Cather early in the last century, the Great Plains today serve as the inspiration and setting for two powerful modern American novels. Kent Haruf’s Plainsong is set in a small town in Eastern Colorado where the lives of his characters are formed and bound together by the landscape. Jane Smiley’s extraordinary A Thousand Acres, set in Iowa’s fertile farmlands, is a retelling of King Lear & its themes of duty and betrayal. Participants are asked to read to page 152 in Plainsong for the first class meeting. Joan Mountford, a winter resident of Punta Gorda, holds degrees from Tufts University and Simmons College. She lives most of the year in New Hampshire, where she taught high school English for 35 years and presented workshops annually at state and regional conferences. In addition, she teaches at the OLLI of Granite State College and has for a number of years been an occasional columnist for the Concord Monitor, the newspaper in the state capital.
Friday, Feb. 2, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D108 “Making Sense of the Federal Census” with Joanne Ryder
The Federal Census, mandated by the Constitution is a nationwide tally every 10 years for congressional representation and direct taxation purposes, and an official count of the population living in the United States on a designated day at set intervals. But it’s SO much more for genealogists! Learn effective tips for finding your ancestor and navigating this information-packed tool. Joanne’s original genealogy research was in Western Pennsylvania where both sides of her family emigrated from Germany. German genealogy is now her passion! Joanne founded the SW Florida Germanic Genealogy Society, serving as its president, 2006-2014. Today, she is society newsletter editor and webmaster. A past president of the Charlotte County Genealogical Society, she is a member of six other genealogical societies. Joanne presents both general and German genealogy topics, speaking throughout Florida. She has lectured at FSW and recently spoke at the International German Genealogy Partnership conference in Minneapolis.
Tuesdays, Feb. 6 and 13, 10:00 – 11:50 am (2 sessions), Classroom D108 “History of Florida’s Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples” with E. Allen Stewart
Week 1: Geological history of Florida and first Paleo-Indians. Native cultures up to the English taking over Florida from Spain in 1863. Week 2: Influx of Creek, Miccosukee, development of Seminoles, the Patriot War and the three Seminole Wars, American procurement of Florida circa 1821, impact of Civil War on Florida’s Seminoles and Miccosukee, evolution to federally recognized Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes, and present day challenges. E. Allen Stewart III is a retired biologist and professional engineer (environmental). He is a native Floridian, student of Florida History (including Native American history), with a 40-year career, all in Florida. He continues to work as expert witness and does pro bono work for traditional Miccosukee and other environmental interests.
Tuesdays, Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27; Mar. 13, 20, 27; April 3, 1:00 – 2:50 pm (8 sessions), Classroom D103 “Great Decisions: Lecture” with Don O’Neil
NOTE: 2018 Great Decisions Briefing Book required. Please read Chapter 1 prior to first session. Books will be available at the Coffee and Registration January 16, 2018 or at the LLI Office at a cost of $30. Come join us for discussion, films, insight and understanding of international affairs, US foreign policy and how it influences us in America and the world. These topics have been chosen by the Foreign Policy Association for 2018 and provide background information and policy options for the eight most critical issues facing America each year. This year’s topics include the waning of Pax Americana, Russia’s foreign policy, China and America: the new geopolitical equation, media and foreign policy, Turkey: a partner in crisis, US global engagement and the military, South Africa’s fragile democracy, and global health: progress and challenges. Don O’Neil is a retired USAF Veteran, a former Police Officer, and a business owner for 20 years. He held president and vice president positions in the burglar and fire alarm industry for 24 years and is Vice President on the LLI Board of Directors.
Friday, Feb. 9, 10:00 – 11:50 am (one session), D 108 “Tips for Finding Your AWOL Ancestor” with Joanne Ryder
Are you beginning to think your ancestor was abducted by aliens? They can’t be found anywhere? There’s no paper trail! Before you assume they were missed, learn some tips for locating these stubborn ancestors in a variety of online databases. Joanne’s original genealogy research was in Western Pennsylvania where both sides of her family emigrated from Germany. German genealogy is now her passion! Joanne founded the SW Florida Germanic Genealogy Society, serving as its president, 2006-2014. Today, she is society newsletter editor and webmaster. A past president of the Charlotte County Genealogical Society, she is a member of six other genealogical societies. Joanne presents both general and German genealogy topics, speaking throughout Florida. She has lectured at FSW and recently spoke at the International German Genealogy Partnership conference in Minneapolis.
Monday, Feb. 12, 10:00 -11:50 am (1 session), Meeting Room O117 (between the cafeteria and auditorium) “The New Deal: The Past Points the Way to the Future”with Arne H. Carlson
A review of where we have been starting with FDR's New Deal and working our way to today and tomorrow. Discussion followed by questions and answers. Named in a St. Paul Pioneer Press poll as one of the top three (Humphrey and Mondale the other two) Minnesota political figures that have made a “great or major contribution” to the state, Arne Carlson has served in elective office for 30 years in Minnesota. He was a member of the Minneapolis City Council from 1965-67, a State Representative from 1971-78, the State Auditor from 1979-91, and finally as Governor from 1991-1999. After leaving public office, Carlson served as Chairman of the Board of American Express Funds (Columbia Funds). In 2007, he was named Large Mutual Fund “Director of the Year” by Fund Direction Magazine. He most recently retired from service as trustee of Schwan Foods and speaks regularly on public policy and good governance.
Monday, Feb. 19, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D201 “Cooperation and Survival” with Kate Borduas
Species are more alike than they are different. Most species survive by cooperating- or at least, not competing. Why is that true when we know Darwin proved "survival of the fittest"? Kate Borduas is a self-described “adult-onset” Naturalist. A transplant from coastal Maine, she is trained as a Florida Master Naturalist and as a Certified Interpretive Guide. She will explore why & how species survive by cooperating rather than competing.
Mondays, Feb. 19 and 26, Mar. 12 and 19, 1:00 - 2:50 pm (4 sessions), Classroom D103 “The Path Forward in our Confusing Political and Economic Reality” with Howard Goldson and Miles Williams
During the Cold War there were clear differences to consider and decide. That clarity disappeared between 1989 & 2001. September 11th made visible a global economy with shifting centers of production and a worldwide workforce. It also exposed the inability of governments to adequately protect their people & institutions. This course will discuss this history and seek a path into a brighter future in an admittedly confusing world that lacks any apparent answers. Howard Goldson received a Juris Doctor degree from St. John’s Univ. and practiced law in New York for 50 years before retiring in 2009. In the 1980s, he completed course work for a Master’s degree in philosophy at SUNY Stonybrook but never wrote the dissertation to receive the degree. Since his retirement, he devotes his time to abstract painting and studying philosophy (the area of social justice). Miles Williams served in the Peace Corps in Colombia. He received a PhD in political science from Vanderbilt and has taught in Colombia, Mexico, Sweden, and the US.
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D108 “What’s STEM Got to Do With It?” with Elaina Gyure
Making Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and History work together in a museum setting. With the merger of the Imaginarium Science Center and the Southwest Florida Museum of History has come a new opportunity to unite two different subjects and audiences into one cohesive museum experience. You will learn how history and STEM can be taught together to create an interdisciplinary picture of southwest Florida for people of all ages to appreciate. We will discuss specific local historical subjects and their relation to our modern, STEM-based world. A southwest Florida resident since she was four, Elaina Gyure is the Collections Manager at the IMAG History and Science Center. She has her BA in history and historic preservation and community planning from the College of Charleston in South Carolina and is a Master’s candidate in museum studies through the University of Leicester in England. This learning session is scheduled one week before the optional LLI tour of the IMAG History and Science Center February 27, 2018. Join the Collections Manager on a tour of the IMAG History & Science Center to see the combination of STEM and history in action. Look behind the scenes at how museum exhibits are planned and designed and get some hands-on experience with artifacts and even some animals! You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the Virtual Reality exhibit, which includes a “tour” of Fort Myers’ namesake fort and the new Battle of Fort Myers experience. NOTE: Participants provide their own transportation and pay admission to the museum.
Monday, Feb. 26, 10:00 – 11:50 am (1 session), Classroom D201 "Extinctions: Past and Future" with Kate Borduas
Cataclysmic events created changes in conditions so abruptly that species had no opportunity to adapt, and disappeared from the face of the earth. Scientists have recorded five of those events in the past, will there ever be a Sixth? Kate Borduas is a self-described “adult-onset” Naturalist. A transplant from coastal Maine, she is trained as a Florida Master Naturalist and as a Certified Interpretive Guide. She will examine those earlier extinctions and also highlight today's threats to the world’s most endangered species.