Last American Man Visits PSU

April 20th, 2006 by Adam

At age 17, Eustace Conway moved into the wilderness and began to live off the land, much as a pioneer man of the 18th century would have done. Now 44 years old, Conway continues to commit his life to preserving the natural resources around him and living as simply as possible, without electricity, running water or modern machinery. Conway’s lifestyle and teachings have been a source of inspiration to audiences around the country and visitors to Turtle Island Preserve, his 1,000-acre property in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Conway, the subject of a biography called Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert, will share his life experiences and philosophies about “living lightly” with the PSU community and the public, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. in Boyd Hall Room 144. In celebration of Earth Week, this lecture is sponsored by Common Ground, PSU’s environmental/social justice campus organization.

Lydia Perry, president of Common Ground, is not only a great admirer of Conway but a personal friend. She spent two weeks at Turtle Island Preserve, learning about Conway’s way of life and outreach efforts. She calls Conway a “living hero” who has the power and charisma to change minds and lives. When Common Ground decided to center its Earth Week festivities around the theme of “living lightly,” Perry knew Conway would deliver the perfect keynote address.

In addition to living a simple lifestyle, Conway also devotes his time to outreach. Campers – both adults and children – come to Turtle Island Preserve to learn traditional skills such as building, tracking, trapping, cooking over a fire, gardening, blacksmithing, edible plant identification and a variety of other natural crafts, survival skills and activities. Conway also offers resources for educators and schoolchildren who want to learn more about historic Appalachian homesteading.

Conway says about Turtle Island Preserve, “We created a place where people can get in touch with the roots of humanity and connect with the resources and abilities that sustain our existence. We simplify our day to food, shelter, water, and clothing, which enables us to see more clearly the picture of how we fit into the bigger circles of life; our food chain, water cycle, ecosystem and environmental economics.”

For more information on Eustace Conway, please visit his Web site at For more information about his upcoming lecture, please contact Lydia Perry, president of Common Ground, at (603) 535-5467 or at

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.