This past May, the Santa Cruz chapter of SCB had the opportunity to host the 18th annual Bay Area Conservation Biology Symposium (CBS) here on the UCSC campus. This was particularly exciting for us, since it was the first time the conference was hosted in Santa Cruz!
The Bay Area Conservation Biology Symposium is meant to bring together researchers and professionals working in conservation all over the California Bay Area. With 150 registrants, we played host to a diverse array of students, professors, researchers, as well as professionals working in wildlife management and at conservation non-profits! Participants came from University of California Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz campuses, Sacramento State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, and non-profit groups such as Island Conservation, Pathways for Wildlife, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, the Greater Farallones Association, and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars program to name just some organizations!
Our esteemed keynote speakers, Dr. Jim Estes and Dr. Karen Poiani, come respectively from the worlds of academic research and applied conservation, and both are based out of lovely Santa Cruz! In Estes’ talk “Ecology and conservation biology: a 50-year retrospection on change,” he described changes in the field of conservation biology over the last 5 decades through the lenses of motivation, values, participants, and technology. He extolled students to look both forward and backward in their pursuit for conducting effective and relevant conservation research. In the afternoon, Poiani shared her wisdom from her years of experience with the Nature Conservancy and now as CEO of Island Conservation on the importance of empathy and human engagement in conservation practice in her talk, “What will it take to be a Conservation Action Hero in the Anthropocene?”. A shared theme between the two talks was increasing equity among conservation the future of conservation.
In addition to the two keynote addresses, this year’s CBS also featured 37 research presentations, 20 research posters, as well as a new addition: an expert panel on environmental law, “Law in the age of deregulation,” featuring Nicholas Whipps (moderator), Jenny Loda, and Dr. Tim Duane.
This event was made possible by support from Society for Conservation Biology, UCSC’s Graduate Student Association and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, and UCSC Giving Day donors. We would also like to thank all our presenters and attendees, without whom there would have been an event! After the symposium, some attendees joined us for a celebration at Equinox Winery, where 20% of proceeds from the evening went to the Peninsula Open Space Trust.
It was an inspiring day! We’re all looking forward to the upcoming 2018 Conservation Biology Symposium, and we hope to see all our friends there!
Title photo credit: Justine Smith