2015-16 Feather River College Book in Common:

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert


  • To show, in a public way, that FRC values learning through reading
  • To bring the Feather River College Community together through a common experience
  • To bring literate, engaging stories, and relevant topics to the Feather River College Community
  • To recognize our shared humanity

Report to Board of Trustees

December 10, 2015

Book in Common Project - Dr. Chris Connell

The book for the 2015-2016 academic year is The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert.

Fall 2015 Semester

  • Several field trips to locations where species are threatened or are an area of concern.
  • Once-a-month “Brown-bag” lunch discussion open to all those who are interested in the book. Free ranging discussion.
  • The Sixth Extinction used in several classes during Fall Semester.

Spring 2016 Semester

  • On-Campus lecture series on topics related to The Sixth Extinction. 
  • FRC sponsored Film at Town Hall Theater for college and local community
  • Possible public lecture
  • Continued Brown-Bag lunch discussions
  • Sixth Extinction used on classes
  • Process to begin choosing next years Book in Common begins in January.

Purpose of Book in Common

Many colleges and universities adopt a common reading for the academic year. The purpose of a common reading is to create campus and community wide intellectual discussion about a significant current topic, social issue, or literary work. By presenting various opportunities to engage with the book, students, staff, faculty, and community can develop an understanding of the book within different contexts and points-of-view. Books, as repositories of knowledge, records of experience, and explorations of personal and cultural themes, foster deep and complex understanding and provide the basis for a healthy and vibrant society. The Book in Common is one way that FRC dedicates itself to giving students the tools to engage, comprehend, and shape the world around them.

Upcoming Events

Next fieldtrip:

TBD during Spring Break – Fossils in Taylorsville

More information coming soon.

Hello FRC Community,

This is just a brief report back from yesterday’s lively and thought provoking Book in Common discussion. There were seven people in attendance to discuss the first two chapters of The Sixth Extinction. Two general inquiries emerged: 1) Does the author imply that it is human nature to consume and destroy. 2) Would the world be a more environmentally friendly place without the advent of agriculture?  Our session ended before we could come to any agreement on these two enormous topics, so we agreed to resume the discussion at our next session.

Next month’s Book in Common discussion will be facilitated by Chris Connell. The discussion will focus on Chapters 3 and 4. I have included a link for Chris Williams’s Marxism and Environmentalism as a possible source for more general discussions about issues raised in the book.

Marxism and the Environment | International Socialist Review

“The analysis of Nature into its individual parts, the grouping of the different natural processes and objects in definite classes, the study of the internal anatomy of organized bodies in their...


Please join our next discussion. If you have any questions or suggested readings please send them to Book in Common Brown Bag Lunch co-coordinators Bridget Tracy and/or me.


Joan Parkin

Study Guides and Interesting Links

  • Study Guide
    coming soon
  • Youtube.com Videos
    coming soon
  • Important Links
    coming soon
  • Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction Fieldtrip Summary, Fall 2015

    On Tuesday, September 1st about 15 students went to Spanish Creek with Plumas National Forest wildlife biologist Colin Dillingham to learn about Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs, a California species of special concern. We learned the protocol for surveying and monitoring frogs and tadpoles, and saw lots of both.

    On Friday, September 11th, 13 students went out on pontoon boats at Lake Almanor with Plumas Audubon Society’s David Arsenault and Josh Duey to monitor Western and Clark’s Grebes, which are threatened by climate change and numerous other human-caused concerns. Nesting success has been drastically low in 2015.

    On Thursday, October 15th, 23 students went to Butterfly Valley Botanical Area with Plumas National Forest Ecologist Kyle Merriam to learn about California Pitcher Plants, a carnivorous species found in only 8 places on Earth. These special plants, which live in unique fens, get their nutrients from insects they lure in and digest.

For as long as humans have walked the Earth, we’ve been making changes to it – oftentimes with little or no comprehension about the far-reaching consequences of our actions. But in her book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, Elizabeth Kolbert opens our eyes to the powerful and possibly catastrophic mass extinction unfolding right in front of us.

Elizabeth Kolbert won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction for The Sixth Extinction, which is now out in paperback. She traveled the globe to tell the fascinating and important story of how our planet is under assault— and why we should all be concerned.

Kolbert is a staff writer for the New Yorker, a two-time National Magazine award winner and the author of the 2006 bestseller, Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

Please submit suggestions for the FRC Book in Common 2016

Send email to cconnell@frc.edu or ktrutna@frc.edu