The Irish potato famine subject at next Chats

Posted:  Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 3:45pm

 Skidompha Library's and Chats with Champions Committee welcomes Bob Emmons Thursday, March 14 at 10 a.m. Emmons will speak about the cause of the potato famine in Ireland in the library's Porter Meeting Hall. Please allow time for parking.

Approximately 36 million people in the United States have Irish ancestry. This is the third largest ancestry group, surpassed only in numbers by Americans with German or African origins. Nearly two million Irish immigrated to the United States in the 1840’s and 1850’s. The major reason for this mass migration was due to the famine and disease resulting from a pathogen that caused late blight disease of potato. The Irish famine was the worst to occur in Europe in the 19th century. The behavior of the English government before and after the destruction of the potato crop greatly aggravated the crisis. The political situation will be discussed during this presentation but the emphasis will be on the plant pathology aspect. How the actual pathogen was discovered and the ‘germ theory’ proven is one of the major scientific breakthroughs of the 19th century.

Emmons was a professor for 31 years at the State University of New York campus in Cobleskill, New York. He taught in the Agriculture School and specialized in Integrated Pest Management, a discipline that emphasizes using environmentally friendly practices to minimize pest problems. He is also the author of a textbook on turf grass management. Awards he received include the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Certificate of Merit, and the Distinguished Service Award from the Golf Course Superintendents' Association of America. Bob is on the board of both the South Bristol and Skidompha libraries. 

He and his wife Holly, also a former professor at Cobleskill, live in South Bristol.  

You can hear his humorous talks on Skidompha Library's Owl Radio podcast station, too! Recordings of many previous Chats are available on Skidompha Library's page. For more information call 563-5513 or online at Chats with Champions is a free community event. The library is located on Main Street in Damariscotta.