The Student Conference on Conservation Science-New York offers several dynamic, interactive workshops for attendees.
Workshop Session I
Art in Conservation: Poetry and the Natural World in Mexico
Organizers: Deborah Diemont, Department of Environmental Resources, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University; and Stewart Diemont, Department of Environmental Resources, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
This workshop will explore how the arts, in particular poetry, can be used to provide perspective about local ideas toward the natural world and help in designing conservation and restoration strategies that meet the needs of communities, particularly in lesser-developed regions. It will feature texts and video footage of readings by Mayan and Zoque indigenous poets. Poetry brings to light unique and culture-specific perspectives on nature that are important considerations for conservation and restoration. The Tzeltal Maya language integrates humans with their environment (e.g., the word for tongue translates as “leaf of the mouth”). We have incorporated poetry into our field course on conservation and ecosystem restoration design in Chiapas, Mexico. Our students have read poems about the natural world by well-known Mexican poets, and attend a tri-lingual reading by indigenous poets from Chiapas during which poets read their work in their native Maya and Zoque languages as well as Spanish, which we translate into English. At the end of the field course, we ask students to present an original poem about their Mexico experience. Examples of these student poems will also be provided, and workshop participants will be invited to draft a poem based on their own field experiences.
Benefits of Student Engagement in Public Participation in Scientific Research Projects
Organizer: Chanda Bennett, Manager of Education, WCS – New York Aquarium.
Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR) refers to organized research projects in which members of the public volunteer their time to engage in scientific investigations. Citizen volunteers of all ages, professions, and backgrounds participate in community scientific research in different ways and for a variety of reasons. For students, PPSR projects can be great opportunities to develop or advance science-related skills. Participants in PPSR projects can increase their ability to identify animals in the field, become comfortable using different measurement instruments, and/or learn how to collect field data following specific methods. In this workshop, participants will be exposed to some popular PPSR resources, learn about citizen science projects coordinated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, and gain some practice with an emerging animal monitoring PPSR under development at the New York Aquarium.
Biodiversity Conservation in the City: What are the next big questions in urban conservation biology?
Organizers: Dr. Mark Weckel, Postdoctoral Conservation Research and Teaching Fellow, American Museum of Natural History; Dr. Timon McPhearson, Assistant Professor of Ecology, The New School; Emily Nobel Maxwell, Urban Conservation Director, The Nature Conservancy; Dr. Ellen Pehek, Principal Research Ecologist, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
This workshop will bring students and professionals together to identify and discuss the big questions facing the field of urban conservation biology. The workshop will begin with a brief overview of the concept of urban biology, followed by brief talks by three professionals discussing their work and how it relates to conservation biology. The four workshop presenters will then lead breakout groups to address major themes of urban conservation biology such as where the field is going, what (if anything) differentiates it from its parent discipline, and whether urban conservation holds any lessons for conservation at large.
Expanding your teaching toolbox: An introduction to active and scientific teaching approaches
Organizer: Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski, Associate Director for Capacity Development and NCEP Project Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History.
In graduate school, most of us get a heavy dose of content knowledge, which is certainly important to our future work as academics or practitioners. However, many of us do not receive the same sort of training on how to communicate this information, whether in the form of teaching, running workshops, or organizing meetings. This workshop will focus on how active, student-centered, and evidence-based approaches can be more effective than traditional lecture-based approaches in promoting student learning. During this workshop, we will review the principles of scientific teaching, and discuss a number of tools for active teaching and classroom assessment. Participants will be able to practice application of some of these tools, and will take home a “toolbox” of materials and resources.
Workshop Session II
Balancing Social and Ecological Needs in Conservation Planning and Protected Area Management
Organizers: Joshua Fisher, PhD Postdoctoral Research Scientist & Lecturer, the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4), the Earth Institute, Columbia University.
Managing protected areas such as forest conservation concessions, marine protected areas, and landscape-scale conservation corridors requires conservation planners to balance multiple competing social, ecological, and economic considerations. Often, the interests of stakeholders are incompatible with ecological constraints. Likewise, the needs and interests of the myriad stakeholder groups are often competing, and are all too often points of real conflict. Faced with these dilemmas, conservation managers and planners must explore ways to maximize ecological gains while minimizing the social costs associated with conservation. This workshop will provide exposure to practical tools designed to assist conservationists achieve that balance, and emphasize the need to include participatory approaches in environmental problem solving, and will likewise highlight the importance of using physical and social scientific data to inform conservation planning.
A biocultural approach in conservation practice: Conceptual and practical tools for linking biological and cultural diversity
Organizer: Georgina Cullman, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History.
Interest in biocultural approaches is growing as conservation initiatives increasingly work with diverse local stakeholders to advance conservation objectives. A growing consensus in conservation practice posits that initiatives are more effective and sustainable when they explicitly integrate human needs and aspirations with conservation objectives. A biocultural approach takes as a given that human societies and the environment affect and are affected by one another in a reciprocal relationship, necessitating a holistic approach in conservation practice. This workshop will introduce the history, origin, and application of the concept of biocultural diversity and will explore the implications of a biocultural approach for conservation project design, implementation, and decision-making. This workshop will address questions such as: How do you design a project that addresses biocultural diversity? How do you find funding for such a project? How do you translate results from biocultural research into action? Workshop participants will evaluate existing biocultural projects to identify factors that lead to their success and will propose methods that reorient existing traditional conservation projects to incorporate a biocultural perspective.
What am I Going to Do with the Rest of My Life?! Exploring Careers in Conservation
Organizers: Alexandra E. Sutton, Duke University; Rae Wynn-Grant, Columbia University; Cynthia Malone, Columbia University; Dr. Mary E. Blair, Assistant Director for Research and Conservation Planning, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History.
Interested in industry? Aching for academia? Never gonna give up non-profits? Pretty sure you're perfect for policy? Wooed by science writing? Then bring your curious self to our workshop, where we'll be doing some self-assessment activities, discussion options in conservation careers, and small-group sharing about the challenges and rewards of the work we'd like to do. We invite senior scientists to speak about their experiences, post-docs and graduate students to group-share their goals, and undergraduates and high schoolers to discuss their developing ideas. All you need is a notebook, pen, and your creative mind – group activities, games, worksheets, and cookies are on us!