Chile presentation closes series

Marlene Brueggmann

The Barnes & Noble Booksellers Caf? was a bit crowded Thursday night.

Nearly 50 people scrambled in and vied for seats for the semester’s final presentation of the “Far Away Places With Strange-Sounding Names” series. And some still had to stand in the back.

Brian Coutts, department head of library public services, introduced presenter David Keeling of the geology and geography department as the “everywhere man.”

Keeling, who has been to Chile 10 times, led his audience in a colorful and informative journey from Chile’s northern deserts to the glaciers at the southern tip of the continent.

Chile, with a population of 16 million, stretches along the coast of western South America. It is twice the size of Montana and one of the three largest countries in South America.

According to Keeling, Chile is an enjoyable and very safe travel destination.

“Your dollar will go a long way,” Keeling said.

The highest mountain in the southern hemisphere, Aconcagua, can be found in the Chilean Andes. Keeling said the area is popular for climbing and skiing and has some of “the best powder snow on the planet.”

The Chilean economy is dependent on timber, copper and fruit and vegetable exports, but has also developed a reputation for producing excellent and reasonably priced wine.

Keeling supported his lecture with photographs, satellite pictures and maps.

It was the first time Bowling Green resident Billie Prins and her husband, Rudy, a biology optional retiree, attended an installment of the “Far Away Places” series.

“We never take time to go,” Billie Prins said, “although we should.”

Prins said the idea to go came from her husband, who had previously spent six months in Chile.

Billie Prins said she and her husband are considering going to Chile for a year to teach. Rudy Prins is currently pursuing his teacher certification in English as a second language at Western, and Billie is also taking some classes.

Aaron Brewer, a senior from Chester, W. Va., attended the presentation to fulfill a class requirement. Unlike the Prinses who got front-row seats, Brewer had to stand through the entire presentation.

But he said he enjoyed it anyway.

“I was surprised that it was as interesting as it was,” Brewer said.

He said he found Keeling’s information about the Chilean economy helpful because it tied in with the paper he had to write for his class.

Coutts said he is very pleased with the success of the series.

“I like to think that these things are educational,” he said. “You learn something. I learned a lot about the world.”

Reach Marlene Brueggemann at [email protected]