Conversation in a Box

Drying Up Great Salt Lake

As part of our Community Conversation program, we are offering Conversation in a Box to help you create and guide conversations on specific topics.

Inaugural Conversation in a Box: Witnessing The Great Salt Lake

Our inaugural Conversation in a Box is on the Great Salt Lake, which you can request here. In addition, feel free to use the resources below.

Organizations, Websites, and Resources on the Great Salt Lake

Save our Great Salt Lake:

Friends of Great Salt Lake:  

The Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College:

The Great Salt Lake Collaborative:

Sing the Water Song:

Sageland Collaborative:

Think Water Utah/ Utah Humanities:

Take Action!

Find and contact your legislators:

Write the Governor of Utah:

Many Thanks To:

Jim Davis at the bookstore located in the Department of Natural Resources (1594 West North Temple, SLC UT) for his help and knowledge.

Mitzi Davis for her artwork used to create the GSL stickers in your box.

Stefanie at Saltgrass Printmakers for her beautiful artwork on the included postcards.

Companion Information for Witnessing The Great Salt Lake

Sounds of the Great Salt Lake, recorded by Nan Seymour


About Oolitic Sand

Oolitic sand is an unusual sediment that is found in and around the Great Salt Lake. Instead of forming from grains of mineral fragments washed down from higher ground, this sand formed within the Great Salt Lake. It is composed of tiny, light brown, rounded oolites. An oolite has a shell of concentric layers of calcium carbonate that precipitated around a nucleus or central core. The nucleus is usually a tiny brine shrimp fecal pellet or a mineral fragment. Oolites form in shallow, wave-agitated water, rolling along the lake bottom and gradually accumulating more and more layers. In addition to the Great Salt Lake, oolites also form in Baffin Bay (Texas), the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the waters surrounding the Bahamas. Although oolitic sand is collected for its uniqueness, it has also been used to dry flowers and as flux in mining operations.

once we had everything

by Nan Seymour

we had an island full of bison

we had a sky full of flight

we had a sea full of northern shovelers

in fall we had an ocean full of grebes—

divers with ruby eyes and dark lashes

we had everything

meadowlarks tuned the morning

coyotes crooned the night

we had beaches full of sand

and each grain

a spherical world

not ground, but grown

complete concentric rings


around the feces of fairy shrimp

we had circles full of people

bearing stories,

some not easy to tell

and yet the tellers told them anyway–