International green movement leaders representing more than 50 countries chose Chattanooga for the summer 2008 Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) annual meeting. More than 1,500 biologists, scientists, economists, policy makers, and conservationists will examine the earth “From the mountains to the sea,” the theme created by Dr. David Aborn, associate professor in The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences.
“The 2008 Global Meeting of the SCB will be the opportunity to show international conservation professionals the natural beauty of the region through many field trips opportunities. From the summit of Lookout Mountain to the depths of the Tennessee River, Chattanooga and the surrounding area offers thick forests, limestone caverns, underground waterfalls, beautiful mountains and scenic waterways. This makes Chattanooga and the South Eastern region of the USA one of the most bio-diverse region in the world for freshwater species,” Aborn said.
From July 13-17, attendees will examine major ecosystems separately and as a connected entity, with a two-day focus on freshwater river mussels. Symposia session organizer Ryan Evans says freshwater mollusks are indictor species that depend on clean water. And indications are freshwater river mussels are among the world’s most environmentally threatened organisms in the world. Pollution, alteration of waterways, and the button and jewelry industry each have played a role in the lives of these filter feeders.
“The SCB meeting provides a perfect opportunity for the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society to introduce these diverse and unique animals to the broader conservation community. Our take home message to SCB is that no other faunal group in North America has experienced such a drastic level of decline or extinction,” Evans said.
This year’s conference plenary speakers include:
CHUCK COOK, director of The Nature Conservancy’s coastal and marine program in California, has worked extensively with the fisheries industry to improve fisheries management and marine conservation. It is clear who owns land. But who owns the water, or the fish, or the right to fish? Cook and his colleagues work to resolve those questions by lobbying federal fishery managers and regulators to adjust permitting systems to allow for conservation easements.
WINONA LADUKE, an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band of Anishinaabeg, is a graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities who has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. LaDuke has received the Reebok Human Rights Award, the 1997 Ms Woman of the Year Award, the Global Green Award, was nominated by Time magazine as one of the country’s fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age, and numerous other honors.
JEFFREY A. MCNEELY, IUCN Chief Scientist and President of the Asia Section of SCB. He has published 40 books and some 500 technical and popular articles on a wide range of conservation issues, seeking to link conservation of natural resources to the maintenance of cultural diversity and to economically-sustainable ways of life.
DIANE RUSSELL, a Biodiversity and Social Science Specialist for USAID, has twenty years experience in international research, development and conservation and has lived and worked in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. She has served as a social scientist with the Biodiversity Conservation Network (BCN) in Asia-Pacific and most recently as co-leader of the Trees & Markets theme at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi. Russell has a Masters in Environmental Management from Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a PhD in Anthropology from Boston University.
BILL MCKIBBEN, a writer and avid environmentalist, is currently a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont who has written several books, and contributes regularly to publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Orion, and Mother Jones. McKibben’s books vary in nature; however, it was his first book, The End of Nature, that is considered the first public-oriented alarm about climate change. Since then, McKibben has written on several subjects, ranging from alternative energy, to outdoor adventures, to the risks associated with human genetic engineering. His most recent book, Deep Economy, states the need “to move beyond growth… begin pursuing prosperity in a more local direction, with cities, suburbs, and regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy…” McKibben has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000.
Visit the conference website at http://www.conbio.org/activities/meetings/2008/. For more information, please call The Office of University Relations at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 423/425-4363.