94th ESA Annual Meeting (August 2 -- 7, 2009)

WK 28 - Next Steps Toward a Natural History Renaissance

Wednesday, August 5, 2009: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
Pecos, Albuquerque Convention Center
Joshua J. Tewksbury
Thomas Fleischner and Karen M. Reagan
Natural history – the observational, descriptive, and comparative study of the natural world – forms the foundation of ecological research, the grist for the creation of both ecological and evolutionary theory, and the backbone for conservation. Natural history also provides a key pathway to nurturing the fundamental human emotional connection to the non-human world. Our sense of place, and our society’s willingness to prioritize open space, natural landscapes, and the species that inhabit these areas, depends upon a broad base of support for amateur and professional naturalists. Yet in the last 75 years, we have seen a steady decline in the practice of natural history in research, education, and society. This workshop will build on the energy generated by the related symposium “Natural History: The Basis for Ecological Understanding and a Global Sustainable Society” and explore practical steps to promote a renaissance of natural history in research, education, and society. We will use focus groups to examine: (1) efforts to catalyze and organize the systematic collection, organization, and dissemination of natural history information in ecological research; (2) barriers to support for natural history in education, from K-12 through undergraduate curricula, and strategies for overcoming these barriers; and (3) the importance of increased public appreciation of, and participation in, natural history. We will conclude with a discussion aimed at articulating pressing needs in each of these realms, and the identification of the most pressing priorities and promising opportunities for NGOs, including the Natural History Network, ESA, and The Nature Conservancy.

Registration Fee: $0

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