Watershed Moments


The “Watershed Moments” special initiative is designed to explore our varied relationships with the environment, culturally and historically. 

To experience how journalism, media and the humanities can help us analyze significant environmental issues, “Watershed Moments” programs will include a Statewide Read of The Water Knife and Dry, an environmental journalism panel, film discussion series, and the statewide tour of the Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways. “Watershed Moments” is part of the national initiative on “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” administered through the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Water/Ways is brought to North Carolina by the North Carolina Humanities Council and is sponsored by National Humanities Center, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Sea Grant, NC Water Resources Research Institute and Our State Magazine.

Statewide Read

The Council’s keystone program of “Watershed Moments” is its public Statewide Read. The Council has selected two works for the Statewide Read, The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi as the adult text and Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman as the young adult text. The Statewide Read reflects the Council’s current and extensive North Carolina Center for the Book programs, which are designed to promote reading, discussion, books and libraries. Beginning in late summer 2020, the Statewide Read is estimated to engage thousands of North Carolinians in common conversations about environmental challenges and access to information.

  • Join Us for Virtual Live Monthly Events Featuring Special Guests and Opportunities to Discuss Dry and The Water Knife

    • November 17, 2020: "Climate Fiction: Where Science and Stories Meet" 
      Join us as we kick off the Statewide Read with a panel discussion on the science behind science fiction featuring Dr. Deborah Thomas and Dr. Jack Scheff of UNC-Charlotte and journalist and author Jacqui Castle in conversation about the themes of natural disasters, climate change, and the water supply as presented in Dry. The panel will be moderated by North Carolina Humanities Council Trustee, Ed Sheary.  Register Here 

    • December 9, 2020: Breakout Book Discussion of Dry Come ready to talk, listen, and learn in this highly interactive session!  Join us as we break out into small groups to discuss Dry.  Group discussions will be led by book leaders, who will lead you through a set of discussion questions about the book and how the humanities, literature, and journalism build understanding about important issues in North Carolina. Register Here 
    • January 19, 2021: Panel Discussion of The Water Knife

      Join us on January 19, 2021 for a panel discussion on the science behind science fiction featuring author and professor emeritus Dr. John Kessel and journalist and author Jacqui Castle in conversation about the themes of natural disasters, climate change, and the water supply as presented in The Water Knife. The panel will be moderated by Charlotte Readers Podcast host, Landis Wade. Register here

    • February 16, 2021: Breakout Book Discussion of The Water Knife
      Join us as we break out into small groups to discuss The Water Knife
    • March 16, 2021: Panel Discussion about Environmental Journalism and Disaster Reporting
      Join us for a panel discussion with special guests who will examine and discuss how real life journalists report about disasters and the environment in North Carolina.    

    • April 22, 2021: Statewide Read Finale 
      Join us for a conversation with the authors as we celebrate and reflect upon the North Carolina Humanities Council's Statewide Read

Environmental Journalism Panel

A panel of journalists will discuss their experiences covering natural disasters and examine how natural disasters can have lasting affects in local communities.

  • March 16, 2020: NCHC hosted Zoom Moderated Panel: Journalism

Film Discussion Series

In partnership with Working Films, headquartered in Wilmington, the Council will support screening a series of documentaries that address environmental issues and equity. The screenings will be accompanied by interactive discussion panels and will take place in a variety of locations across the state. Program dates and locations will be announced later in 2020 on the Council’s website.

Water/Ways Exhibit

Diving into why water is essential, Water/Ways will give six small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations the capacity to catalyze community conversations about water’s impact on American and North Carolina culture. Water/Ways is part of the Council’s Museum on Main Street program, a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Water/Ways will be on view for approximately six weeks in each of the following communities, beginning in Burnsville in May 2020; Franklin, Wake Forest, Washington, Wrightsville Beach, and Graham. With program support and grant funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, North Carolina exhibit sites will develop complementary exhibits to Water/Ways, offer public programs and facilitate educational initiatives to increase understanding about what water means culturally, socially and spiritually in their own community. Local program activities for Water/Ways will be announced by each exhibit site.