SCCS-NY 2021 Plenary Speakers 

close-up photo of Kristina Douglass

Kristina Douglass

Our relationship to the environment, past and future: lessons from engaged archaeological research

Tuesday, October 5th at 10:15am EDT

For the past 18 months, the spread of COVID-19 has dominated news cycles and is at the forefront of local, national, and international concerns. The coronavirus pandemic is one of many human-driven socio-ecological crises we face as a global community. In August of this year, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international body of researchers who evaluate and synthesize the science of climate change, released their latest report. The report documents in sobering detail the extent to which our planet’s climate is changing due to human activity. And, like the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis intersects with and compounds other problems, such as biodiversity loss, and food, energy, and water insecurity. The exceptional challenges of the present moment can seem insurmountable, but they present an opportunity to draw from deeper time and learn how people and ecosystems adapted to changing conditions in the past.

I became an archaeologist because I believe in the power of storytelling. Storytelling is fundamental to human evolution and is what defines humans as a species. We have all had the experience of learning from our elders, those who came before us. If we think about it, we have millions of years of cumulative human experience on the planet to learn from. Our ability to pass knowledge from one generation to the next is central to our survival. Archaeology can inform our approaches to contemporary conservation by telling the stories of how ancient peoples shaped landscapes, responded to past climate change, interacted with diverse species of plants and animals, and sustained livelihoods over centuries and millennia.

Plenary Discussion

A collage of the four alumni panelists - Sam in a purple shirt, Kaitlyn holding a bird, and headshots of Leo and Andrea.

Inspiring careers in conservation: SCCS-NY alumni share their journeys in the conservation field

Wednesday, October 6th at 10:15am EDT

What's next after presenting your research at the Student Conference on Conservation Science? A panel of SCCS-NY alums will share their inspiring journeys in conservation, moderated by CBC Biodiversity Scientist and SCCS alumna Dr. Samantha Cheng. 


Leo Douglas, Clinical Assistant Professor, New York University

Kaitlyn Parkins, Associate Director for Conservation and Science, NYC Audubon

Andrea Reid, Assistant Professor, The University of British Columbia