The Sno-King School Retirees organization and Humanities Washington invite the community to “After the Blast: Mount St. Helens 40 Years Later,” a presentation by Eric Wagner, a member of the 2021-2023 Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau. This free event takes place Thursday, Feb. 16, in the Edmonds School District Education Service Center Board Room, 20420 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood.
On May 18, 1980, the world watched in awe as Mount St. Helens erupted, killing 57 people and causing hundreds of square miles of destruction. Everyone thought it would take ages for life to return to the mountain, but scientists who visited soon after were stunned to find plants sprouting up through the ash and animals skittering around downed trees.
Ecologists have since spent decades studying life’s resilience in the face of seemingly total devastation. Through their work, the eruption of Mount St. Helens has become known as the greatest natural experiment in Pacific Northwest history. In his talk, Wagner takes you on a journey through the blast zone. He explores not just the surprising ways plants and animals survived the eruption, but also the complex roles that people have played, all while showing how fascinating Mount St. Helens still is 40 years after the blast.
Wagner is a writer and biologist. He holds a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Washington, where he studied penguins. He is the author of three books, including After the Blast: The Ecological Recovery of Mount St. Helens. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Orion and High Country News, among many other places.
Sno-King School Reitrees will host a meet and greet from noon to 12:30 Feb. 16, followed by brief business items. Wagner’s presentation will begin at 1 p.m. Humanities Washington is a statewide nonprofit whose mission is to spark conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across Washington state.