SCCS-NY 2020

Eleventh Annual Conference - October 7-9, 2020
SCCS-NY 2018 Group Photo

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and its partners invited students, postdocs, and early-career professionals to take part in the 11th annual Student Conference on Conservation Science – New York (SCCS-NY), which was an entirely virtual meeting.

As a part of the only international series of conservation conferences featuring students, SCCS-NY provides opportunities for emerging scientists to professionally network, gain experience, and present and get feedback on their work. Interactions with peers as well as leaders in science, policy, and management will encourage collaborations, inspire further research, and create lasting professional connections.

“This is the only conference where I’ve seen mentorship being provided to students, and this is absolutely amazing. The feedback is very helpful and a chance to talk to mentors during lunches and during breaks is extremely valuable.”                 - Ph.D. Student

SCCS-NY 2018 presenter

*note all times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

2020 Plenary Speakers

Headshot of SCCSNY plenarist Kevin Olival

Conservation in the time of COVID-19: linking biodiversity conservation and human health

Plenarist: Kevin J. Olival, Vice President for Research, EcoHealth Alliance, New York

The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed families, societies, and economies around the world and led to >1M deaths. Yet, SARS-CoV-2 is just one of many pathogens to have recently "spilled over" from wildlife to people, and these emerging infectious disease events are increasing in frequency with roughly ~2-3 new diseases each year. Why and how are new diseases emerging? The answer is simple (even if the process may be complex): increasing, anthropogenic ecological changes (e.g. deforestation, wildlife trade, climate change) are providing growing opportunities for human-wildlife interactions and viral spillover. This talk will address how biological conservation and virus surveillance and pandemic prevention research are entirely synergistic, and should not be viewed as opposing. The relatively new, multidisciplinary field of One Health research is advancing rapidly – linking ecologists, conservation biologists, virologists, veterinarians, molecular biologists, and public health scientists in new and exciting ways to understand threats to wildlife and human populations. The COVID-19 pandemic has simultaneously provided challenges to on-the-ground conservation research, and opportunities to improve public awareness of the global ecological crisis and its linkages with human health. Dr. Olival will address these issues by charting his own personal career path and research experience.

Plenary Speaker: Kevin Olival

Headshot of SCCSNY 2020 plenarist Dan Canham

Expanding your leadership in an ever-changing world

Plenarist: Dan Canham, leadership development expert

The pace of change in the world is incredible. As the earth’s population expands and wealth in some areas increases, so do the demands on natural resources. These challenges are complex, interwoven and often, unknown. Those who step into the realm of conservation are fighting a difficult fight, but not an impossible one. These new conservation challenges require new approaches to leadership. One that is adaptive and experimental. One that embraces risk and is willing to fail in the pursuit of success. During the talk, we will discuss reframing what leadership is, and how to develop the new skills and ideas needed to expand your adaptive leadership capacity. We will also discuss each person’s greatest resource…themselves. Each of us has tremendous unused capacity. Understanding how to unleash our potential is critical to developing our leadership capacity and make an impact on conservation. Finally, we have to engage and empower others. We need to engage different groups, including those who don’t agree with conservation’s goals. Without others, it becomes nearly impossible to progress on conservation’s biggest challenges. Dan Canham will share his leadership journey and personal insights on overcoming challenges, embracing change, and keeping a positive attitude throughout it all. 

Plenary Speaker: Dan Canham


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Major funding for the 2020 Student Conference on Conservation Science - New York (SCCS-NY) has been provided by Marshall M. Weinberg. In grateful recognition of his longstanding generosity toward the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, this year’s SCCS-NY is presented in his honor.

The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation thanks our SCCS-NY partners: 

Logos for Princeton University and Yale School of the Environment

and conference contributors:

Pace University