Credit: Screenshot from Twitter.com

After seven marathon days of projects, narratives, and figures, the World Parks Congress was winding down. The lessons from each stream were summarized, and a few master plenaries offered closure. One was dedicated to storytelling, a theme previously discussed by Clara Rowe in an earlier post. Panelists on this plenary were leaders in their respective communication fields: Beth Foster (Vice President of Communications for National Geographic Society), Thomas Friedman (award-winning journalist and author in the New York Times), Adrian Steirn (award-winning wildlife photographer), and Jeff Koinange (a host on the Kenya Television Network).

Their brief presentations under the heading “Inspiring Solutions – Communicating the Message and Stories for Protected Areas” were beyond refreshing, punctuated by stunning photography and fantastic anecdotes. Steirn used the example of…

Penan community, Sarawak. Toponyms are added to maps as they are recorded (Photo by Bruno Manser Fonds)

An indigenous leader walks around the land, stopping at sites used for hunting, collecting nuts, and worship. The points are recorded using a handheld GPS device and then transferred to a computer. These points are overlaid with other land uses in the territory, and a map is produced. The map shows where oil-drilling sites are located on the same place as the community’s ancient burial ground, and where pollution from the oil operations runs through their main water source. The community now has evidence to make a case against the company. This scene was a novelty just a few years ago, but today, it is a reality for many communities around the world.

Can technology and the way it lets us understand the world help indigenous and traditional communities…

Basking in the afterglow of a lovely Thanksgiving spent at home with my family in Pennsylvania, I thought it appropriate to take a moment and consider what I am most thankful for about F&ES! It’s been such a blessing to even have the opportunity to study here in the first place. But there are so many things about the school that make it an amazing, unique place to study the environment.

I’m thankful for the classes I’ve taken this semester and professors I’ve had, especially my land use and planning seminars. The professors have so much practical experience and expertise in their areas, and are so eager to share with students and really engage with the class. I’m also thankful that this semester, for the first time in two…

After the lines are drawn: The importance of protected areas governance

It’s tempting to think that once we declare a protected area protected, all the species, ecosystem services, and ecosystem functioning within the area will be conserved in perpetuity. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We cannot simply establish protected areas, draw lines on a map, and leave these areas alone. These areas, and the biodiversity within, are still subject to internal and external threats – threats like climate change, invasive species (like these flowers in Blue Mountains National Park), and poaching, to name a few. In order to ensure that protected areas will continue to function and conserve species well into the future, we need to also ensure that these areas are effectively managed. For this reason, one of the streams at the World Parks Congress was focused on…

Closing Plenary of the World Parks Congress: What is the Focus of Conservation for the Next Decade?

 

The closing plenary of the IUCN World Parks Congress was full of inspiring speeches and presentations summarizing the work achieved during the Congress. The closing plenary represents a week-long intense conference and many years preparation. Information presented during this final plenary gives insight into what conservation may look like going forward.

A key part of the IUCN World Parks Congress system was stream designation. To facilitate the many discussions occurring between the 6,000+ delegates, the congress was broken into 12 streams and cross-cutting themes. These represent some of the most important tenets of the conservation movement today. These calls to action for the next decade (until the 2024 IUCN World Parks Congress) will shape conservation for the next decade. Here I’ve listed the key information…

Foresters with Talent

I think there’s always a trepidation when beginning to think about returning to school after spending time working, traveling, or taking time off, as there’s a perception that graduate school becomes a vortex of the “all-work and no-play” mindset. While this, to some extent, is a totally true of the F&ES Program, I’ve found that this school supports and encourages social events just as much as it emphasizes academic and professional networking.

Most students here are creative. It makes sense; as environmental professionals and scientists, we’re asked to find new and innovative approaches to help conserve, protect, manage, and use the environment in ways that promote diversity, social justice, and economic prosperity. In this way, our student body is highly diverse in that it brings together thinkers from different…

Nature Needs Half

A bold statement is reverberating across the International Union for Conserving Nature’s World Parks Congress: Nature needs half. Conservation must think big. It must plan at the scale nature requires. True conservation of nature necessitates that large spaces be protected. As many wilderness managers, research scientists and policy makers have been reiterating throughout the World Parks Congress, this means half of the world’s land and marine ecosystems must be conserved.

The arguments supporting the Nature Needs Half movement range from strict ecological rationales, to climate change mitigation strategies and to emotional pleas for better protection of the earth.

Migratory species threatened by climate change especially need protected spaces where habitat remains. Only spaces geographically large enough and ecologically rich enough can provide the quality and quantity to keep…

Is technology the solution?

The World Parks Congress (WCP) in Sydney has come to an end with a closing ceremony that focused on several main themes: integrating indigenous communities into the decision making processes; recognizing park rangers for their work at the front line of conservation; involving the youth of the world to lead the future of parks, people and the planet; and learning the art of story telling to inspire larger audiences to support conservation. These messages are primary aspects of the Promise of Sydney, which is “the blueprint for a decade of change coming from the deliberations of this World Parks Congress.” It is now up to the delegates and the rest of the conservation community to go back to their countries and “save the world.”

But saving the…

Guilford's Coastal Resilience Plan

Guilford’s Coastal Resilience Plan

UEDLAB SEaside plans

UEDLAB flood plans

GUILFORD PUBLIC MEETING
COMMUNITY COASTAL RESILIENCE PLAN TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014 @ 7:30pm

Nathanael Green Community Center 32 Church Street, Guilford, CT
Please join us for a review of the Guilford Community Coastal Resilience plan as we seek adoption to the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development (PoCD).
The plan seeks to proactively address coastal challenges to ensure a thriving coastal community that protects neighborhoods, ensures public safety, and creates opportunities for citizens and
communities to work together…

Learning, celebrating, and asking at the World Parks Congress

 

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We are all students here at the World Parks Congress.

We are all here with a joint mission and shared worldview – that we need nature, and nature needs us. And, ultimately, we are here to learn from each others’ experiences with the hope that we can make the world a better place. The community of practitioners, scientists, and world leaders at the World Parks Congress bring diverse skills, experiences, and knowledge to the table.  Through collaboration and engagement, we hope to find solutions to shared problems and conservation outcomes that benefit both nature and people.

We know what the challenges are. We know how to solve the problems we face. But something stands in our way.  In our…