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Member Spotlight - Cazenovia Forum

Updated: 3 days ago

Cazenovia Forum Lecture Series

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, November 17th at 7 PM VENUE: Cazenovia High School Auditorium 31 Emory Ave, Cazenovia, NY

"Erie Canal - Past, Present and Future"

Panelists: Jamie Kowalczk, Derrick Pratt and Matt Urtz

We tend to take the Erie Canal for granted if we think about it at all. We know it was important long ago, but what does it have to do with today? A lot, actually. The Canal is far more than an artifact and its legacy lives in upstate New York’s history, economy, and culture. To provide a sense of the Canal’s importance and influence, the Cazenovia Forum is hosting a panel discussion at 7 p.m., on Friday Nov. 17 at the Cazenovia High School Auditorium. Local historians and planners Jamie Kowalczk, Derrick Pratt and Matt Urtz will discuss the evolution of the 524-mile corridor that carried people and ideas along the canal and spurred action on abolition of slavery, women’s rights, utopian communities, new religions, and much more. In 2000, the U.S. Congress established the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, a new kind of National Park. This designation brings resources and visibility to long-standing local efforts to celebrate how the canal has shaped our communities. Kowalczk, Assistant Director of the Madison County Planning Department, helped initiate the creation of the Old Erie Canal Community Working Group to help revitalize canal-side communities and enhance the Old Erie Canal waterway and Old Erie Canal State Historic Park. She is currently overseeing the development of the Old Erie Canal Local Waterfront Revitalization Program which aims to create a unified long-term vision for the Old Erie Canal corridor.

Pratt, Director of Education & Public Programming at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, is a native of Chittenango. Previously he served as Director of Programs at Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. Urtz has been Madison County Historian since 2010. He was awarded the Emily Marshall Champion of Tourism by Madison County Tourism in 2022. The award is given annually to those who have had a significant impact on the tourism industry in Madison County. The Cazenovia Forum hosts a regularly scheduled public affairs lecture series that offers an opportunity to hear nationally and internationally known experts on a variety of key issues and to engage in thoughtful discussion. For more information, go to:

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