I took time to see the sites around Madison yesterday including the UW Arboretum. It was there in the 1930s that restoration pioneers including Aldo Leopold began practicing and studying ways to restore prairie. Much of the forests and prairie at that time in Wisconsin had been decimated in an effort to increase agricultural production. Now the oldest prairie restoration in existence, the Arboretum still acts as a world class research location as well as a place for the community to learn about and practice ecological restoration. While it was comforting to see restoration activities familiar to our work in Upper Newport Bay (for example, invasive species removal), it was less comforting to see they've been working these species for 80 years. But it was Leopold, when asked if his project was successful, who said: give it a thousand years. With that said, please join us soon for a restoration event!
My SER conference presentation took place Monday afternoon and was a wonderful experience. I shared our program with 13 participants and led a conversation focused on developing best practices for managing volunteers in community-based restoration programs. Many of the participants were in similar coordination roles as mine with their programs. Representing projects from California, Arizona, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Ohio, South Africa, and Lebanon, each participant brought great experience and insight to share as we worked toward making each of our programs better. While my expectation is that we continue to grow our "community of practice" through expanded conversations over time, we settled on two main topics during this 2-hour session including "Using Volunteers in Science and Monitoring" and "Mitigation and Consulting in Combination with Community-Based Restoration". Both of these topics stretch the traditional boundaries of community-based restoration and, through our continued effort to improve our methods, we'll show how well we can integrate volunteers into the larger field of ecological restoration.
It's time to get started! I'm looking forward to a keynote speech from Paul Hawken, whose ideas about sustainability I've been reading about since grad school. Then it's on to a talk from William Jordan III who has done as much as anyone to define the science and discipline of ecological restoration. These are just two of the hundreds of presentations to come in a great conference.
Welcome to Madison, Wisconsin! I made the journey from Orange County through Chicago without much trouble at all. From temperatures in the 90s at home to the 50s in Wisconsin. The "traditional" fall season is in full swing with cool weather and trees starting to turn yellow and red. And of course, with every trip I take east, I'm always impressed by how much water there is everywhere! Cruising over Wisconsin farmland on the way to Madison, it was easy to see a multitude of small lakes and freshwater wetlands dotting the landscape.
Once downtown, I registered at the conference and submitted my presentation to be readied for my meeting room. The halls were filled with people excited to finally be here including myself! I overheard a conversation and I share the sentiment: what an opportunity to be surrounded by people all working toward the same goals of ecological restoration. We each have our own restoration stories and here we get to share our successes and challenges with hundreds of other practitioners. I look forward to hearing all about these stories throughout the week.
My presentation takes place on Monday afternoon from 1:30 to 3:30pm. Wish me luck!
The cultural landscape of Madison is of a city proud of its heritage and its quality of life. Irvine's own Wyland Foundation named Madison one the top 12 cities in the nation for its water conservation measures. Dane County's (of which Madison is a part) farmer's market was ranked #1 in the nation by the Huffington Post in 2009. This is just a few of the many awards and high rankings the city has received. Check them all out here. What a place!
I manage the Community-based Restoration and Education Program based in Newport Beach, CA. I'll be writing on updates around Upper Newport Bay and news in the world of community-based habitat restoration.