Accidental Paradise Series

Accidental Paradise Series

Access all of our programs in the Accidental Paradise Series and On the Waterfront Series, led by Dr. David Frew, JES Scholar-in-Residence

Our series are designed to allow you watch to a program individually--no need to watch all of the programs in succession!

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Otto Jennings and Succession: "The Force" that Created Presque Isle

David Frew, Ph.D.

April 27, 2020

During the summer of 1908 a University of Pittsburgh botany professor was collecting plant samples at Cedar Point, Ohio when a colleague suggested that he shift his study efforts to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania. Dr. Otto E. Jennings traveled to Presque Isle the following summer and began a 50-year tenure on the peninsula. During his time there, Jennings discovered, documented and dated the impact of Presque Isle's unique style of succession on the peninsula. He also shifted his professional focus from plant-gathering to sand spit geology.

Jennings brought colleagues, including his wife Grace, who was also a biologist, to Presque Isle. He built a research station in park's interior and initiated a system of overall biological studies of Presque Isle as he worked to preserve the park and its plant-life. His work, which catalogued and dated Presque Isle's early formation as well as its plant, aquatic, insect, and animal life, stands as a monument to the scientific study of and continued protection of the peninsula. It also explains the "force" that has been at work, systematically growing Presque Isle from west to east.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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Creating a State Park: Road Ways and Other Major Decisions That Led to Presque Isle Becoming a Pennsylvania State Park

David Frew, Ph.D.

March 18, 2020

These days we drive onto Presque Isle and take the roadways for granted. During the early years of the state park, however, decisions regarding where and how to connect the peninsula with the mainland had enormous and lasting consequences. Beginning with the earlier recommendations of celebrated urban planner, John Nolan, Presque Isle embarked upon a series of politically motivated engineering decisions that will influence our park forever.

In addition to Nolan, the most important early players in the creation of the state park and its roadways included Isadore Sobel (the unsung hero), Waldameer Park, Erie Waterworks, Sherman Fairchild (inventor of aerial photography), the Erie Yacht Club and a strange downtown political committee that controlled all park decisions.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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Lake Erie Water Levels: An Existential Threat to Presque Isle

David Frew, Ph.D.

February 23, 2020

Presque Isle has been experiencing extraordinarily high water levels for the last few years. The high water levels and storm surges have been assaulting the peninsula's bathing beaches, washing away replenished sand. Even more disconcerting, water has been threatening Presque Isle's interior, as well, dropping trees and eroding infrastructure, including trails and roadways.

On several occasions during 2019 and 2020 there were "blowout events" during which water crossed Presque Isle, extending from the lake to the bay and closing roads. These recent examples serve as reminders of the loss of the way in the 1940s. These recent treats help to remind us of the fragility of the entire peninsula, which is dependent upon a thin layer of sand and soil to anchor the root structures of the trees and brush that is essential to its existence.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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THE ERIEZ INDIANS - WHO WERE THEY? WHERE DID THEY COME FROM? HOW DID THEY DISSAPPEAR?

David Frew, Ph.D.

February 9, 2020

Join us on a deep dive into one of the most fascinating topics from the pages of Accidental Paradise. Our city and even the lake, itself, was named after an early Native American tribe, the Eriez. Somehow, however, the entire people simply disappeared a few years after European arrival (1492).

A series of chance meetings plunged Dr. David Frew into a long and complicated relationship with Indian history, and in particular with Iroquoian culture, religion and politics. His near obsession has led him to audit gradual classes in anthropology, travel to Mayan ruins in Mexico and Central America and meet with chiefs from the Six Nations Reservation in Brantford, Ontario.

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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ACCIDENTAL PARADISE: STORIES BEHIND THE STORIES

David Frew, Ph.D. and Jerry Skyrpzak

December 10, 2020

With the imminent release of the much-anticipated book, "Accidental Paradise: 13,000-Year History of Presque Isle," authors David Frew and Jerry Skrypzak join book editor Pat Cuneo and Jefferson Vice President Ben Speggen to discuss the book, its highlights, and how it came to be.

The book, published by the Jefferson Educational Society, in cooperation with Tom Ridge Environmental Center Foundation, is the result of a three-year project that delves into the natural history, personalities, and major events involving the peninsula over the decades -- and centuries -- combined with photographs, illustrations, charts, and maps.
The authors talk about the research and adventures of creating the book, which is available for purchase through the TREC Foundation at Presque Isle, co-sponsor of the book (accidentalparadise.com).

To watch this video on YouTube, click HERE

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ON THE WATERFRONT: EXPLORING LAKE ERIE'S WILDLIFE, SHIPS, AND HISTORY

David Frew, Ph.D.

August 5,2020

Dr. David Frew gives us an exclusive look into his "On the Waterfront" series. David Frew, Ph.D., is a prolific writer, author, and speaker who grew up on Erie's lower west side as a proud "Bay Rat," joining neighborhood kids playing and marauding along the west bayfront. He has written for years about his beloved Presque Isle and his adventures on the Great Lakes. In a new series of articles for the Jefferson, the retired professor takes note of life in and around the water, which he reviews in conversation with Jefferson Vice President Ben Speggen.

To watch this program on YouTube, click HERE!

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HOW TO BE HAPPY: THE MODERN SCIENCE OF LIFE SATISFACTION

David Frew, Ph.D.

April 27, 2020

Previously scheduled as a Satellite Program in Fairview with the Erie County Public Library on April 13, Dr. Frew leads a journey into the history of and the modern science of happiness, including psychology, economics, medicine, and religion.

Returning to his organizational psychology roots, David Frew, Ph.D., explores the science and art of experiencing happiness. Dr. Frew was an early leader in the fields of job satisfaction and self-esteem.

His early research suggested that both of these work-related metrics were directly connected to personal happiness and he has further developed his understanding of the components of happiness.

To watch the video on YouTube, click HERE!