The Conservation Conference will include several inspiring key speakers throughout the duration of the event. We will update this page as speakers are confirmed.
Opening Plenary: Doug Tallamy
Restoring Nature’s Relationships
Thursday, February 1, 8:15 am
Specialized relationships between animals and plants are the norm in nature rather than the exception. Plants that evolved in concert with local animals provide for their needs better than plants that evolved elsewhere. Tallamy will explain why this is so, why specialized food relationships determine the stability and complexity of the local food webs that support animal diversity, why our yards and gardens are essential parts of the ecosystems that sustain us, how we can use our residential landscapes to connect the isolated habitat fragments around us and produce valuable ecosystem services, and what we can do to make our landscapes living ecosystems once again. Managing landscapes in this crowded world carries both moral and ecological responsibilities that we can no longer ignore.
Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 87 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 34 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug is also a regular columnist for Garden Design magazine. Among his awards are the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence.
Banquet Speaker: Stu Weiss
Smog is Fertilizer: The Long and Winding Road from the Pages of Conservation Biology to a Habitat Conservation Plan
Friday, February 2, during the banquet
The road from scientific discovery to conservation action is rarely straight and narrow, nor is it fast. In this talk, Stu will recount how a revelation in 1993 – that nitrogen fertilization from Silicon Valley smog threatened the listed Bay checkerspot butterfly by driving annual grass invasions in serpentine grasslands, and that cattle grazing was the key to controlling the impacts – was turned into a scientific publication, and then leveraged to eventually create the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan. Publishing the paper in 1999 was only a first step; mitigation precedents for powerplant nitrogen emissions led to mitigation for freeway widening that included a commitment to a regional HCP in 2001. After more than 10 years of additional science and advocacy, including “Operation Flower Power” tours for elected officials and others and building a “Habitat Conservation Now” coalition, the Habitat Plan was adopted in 2013. The 50-year, $665,000,000 HCP/NCCP promises coordinated conservation and long-term stewardship, and the first major conservation acquisition, >1800 acres of mostly serpentine grasslands, was closed in 2015. Nitrogen deposition is a major, if underappreciated, threat to biodiversity of native plants across much of California and the Santa Clara Valley experience provides one model for addressing it.
Stu Weiss, Ph.D. (Stanford University) is Chief Scientist of Creekside Science (www.creeksidescience.com), which provides scientific and conservation expertise to diverse organizations as they cope with the rapidly changing 21st Century environment. He has researched the Bay checkerspot butterfly and serpentine grasslands since 1979, and has authored numerous scientific papers concerning climate/microclimate, population dynamics, nitrogen deposition, and conservation ecology. Creekside Science executes many hands-on restoration projects, including butterfly reintroductions, propagation of endangered plants, and habitat monitoring and management. His research and advocacy were instrumental in the development of the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan, and he is Science Advisor for the Bay Area Conservation Lands Network.
Closing Plenary: TBA
Details coming soon!
Saturday, February 3, 3:00 pm