SUNY Cortland to offer sneak preview of NOVA series

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Fiery eruptions, titanic floods, the grinding of giant ice sheets and massive impacts from space all molded the North American continent. This week at SUNY Cortland, the public can take a sneak peek at a brand-new NOVA documentary that explores all of these major geological processes.

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The College will host a partial screening of “NOVA: Making North America,” an exciting biography detailing the continent’s formation, on Thursday, Oct. 22, before the documentary airs in full on PBS in November.

A panel discussion that includes faculty members from SUNY Cortland’s Geology Department and College President Erik J. Bitterbaum will be held in conjunction with the event, which begins at 7 p.m. in the David J. Vittor ’67 Lecture Hall in Sperry Center, Room 105.

The two-hour event is free, but attendees are asked to register in advance online.

WSKG Public Media, a PBS affiliate based in Binghamton, N.Y., selected SUNY Cortland to host the early screening due in large part to the strength of the College’s geology faculty members.

“We’re excited to partner with SUNY Cortland,” said Nancy Coddington, the manager of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content, services and programming for WSKG Public Media. “The documentary will be spectacular, and we’re just as excited to highlight the College’s scientists, including President Bitterbaum.”

Other SUNY Cortland panelists include Professor and Department Chair David Barclay, Distinguished Teaching Professor Robert Darling, Associate Professor Gayle Gleason, Associate Professor Li Jin and Distinguished Professor Christopher McRoberts.

NOVA’s three-part mini-series tells an engaging story of how the continent formed, how life evolved and how the land continues to shape lives today. The series considers breathtaking landmarks such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park as well as the constant tug-of-war between creative and destructive natural forces. “Making North America” is hosted by paleontologist Kirk Johnson, who also serves as director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The SUNY Cortland event will screen excerpts from each of the three episodes before the series airs in full on WSKG three consecutive Wednesdays beginning Nov. 4.

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