Judy Braus, World Wildlife Fund
How do we educate a nation about biodiversity? What are the key concepts, skills, attitudes, and actions that will help slow the loss of biodiversity worldwide and create a more sustainable future? This overview of "Windows on the Wild" explains the approach that World Wildlife Fund is taking to reach students, teachers, and nonformal educators, and why WWF places so much value on local, state, national, and global partnerships.
Marianne Cramer, Central Park Conservancy
Ten years ago, the Central Park Conservancy, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, embarked on a program to manage and restore Central Park's 130 acres of woodland landscapes. Although the goal of the original designers of the Park, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, was to create picturesque woodlands imitating the scenic beauty of the Adirondacks, the new mission proposes the restoration of the diversity of the ecosystems originally present on the site -- the eastern deciduous forest and affiliated natural habitats -- which are increasingly endangered in our region by urban and suburban sprawl. Beset by problems typical of most large-scale parks in densely populated urban areas, Central Park's woodlands have become a laboratory for examining whether decline in health and diversity can be reversed and, equally important, for determining whether urban dwellers who view the Park as their own backyard can be engaged in its ongoing stewardship. This presentation documents the analytical work, incremental management projects, and public outreach that are the foundation for a long-term management and restoration program.
David Ehrenfeld, Rutgers University
The next quarter century is likely to be very different from the last, with changes that include a diminished public awareness of nature and many fewer biologists with a working knowledge of systematics and natural history, against a background of global economic breakdown and frequent, local military conflicts. Conservation biologists can prepare for these changes.
Carol J. Fialkowski, The Field Museum
Chicago Wilderness is a first-of-its-kind collaboration of 34 diverse organizations working together to preserve and restore the biodiversity of the Chicago region. Focus will be on the goals of Chicago Wilderness, the role that research is playing in informing program development, and the education and outreach teams that reach diverse audiences at multiple entry points.
Gary Hartshorn, Organization for Tropical Studies , Duke University
Tropical forests contain a disproportionately high percentage of the world's terrestrial biodiversity. In forest-rich tropical countries, most of the forests are unprotected, hence available for development or conversion. Unless tropical forests are brought into sustainable production, very few of these unprotected forests will survive well into the next century. The integration of sustainable forestry and biodiversity conservation must become an urgent priority.
Paul W. Johnson, Natural Resources Conservation Service
In America, 70 percent of our land is made up of farms, ranches, and private forests. That land need not be just food and fiber factories. It can and must protect and enhance biological diversity. Only then will we truly have a "Geography of Hope."
Michael J. Novacek, American Museum of Natural History
The living world is a delicate web of connections, a network of species reproducing, growing, feeding on one another, competing for the same resources, evolving, and going extinct at an alarming rate. The building blocks of these finely tuned and, as we are increasingly aware, highly vulnerable systems, are the species themselves. Systematics is the science that is central to the problem of understanding the diversity of these species and the impact of their current and projected extinction on the well-being of the planet.