At least one plenary or keynote session will be offered daily at this year’s Joint Conference!

MONDAY, SEPT 30, 10:10–11:50 a.m.

Joint Plenary: Communicating Sustainable Use of Fish and Wildlife

As society continues to become more urbanized, the general public has become less and less connected to the natural world and to activities in the outdoors, particularly hunting and fishing. This session will be focused on communicating concepts of sustainable use, and how science-based management, including use of our renewable fish and wildlife resources, are critical for continued conservation success.

Featured Speakers:

Rebecca “Becky” Humphries
Chief Executive Officer, National Wild Turkey Federation
The Circle of Life in Today’s World
Zeb Hogan
Research Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Reno
Host of Nat Geo WILD’s Monster Fish television series
Shane Patrick Mahoney
President & CEO, Conservation Visions Inc.
Animal Sentience and Human Empathy: Navigating the Increasingly Complex
Future of Sustainable Wildlife Use

TUESDAY, OCT 1, 10:10 – 11:50 a.m.

AFS Plenary: Environmental Change and Climate Sensitivities in Mountain Lakes

Featured Speaker:

Sudeep Chandra

Associate Professor of Limnology and Conservation Ecology
Associate Director, Castle Lake Environmental Research & Education Program
Director, Global Water Center, University of Nevada Reno



TUESDAY, OCT 1, 1:10 – 1:55 a.m.

TWS’ Aldo Leopold Keynote Address: The View From My Bucket

I am the bucket man because I believe in the value of personal observation from many aspects of life and especially so from an ecological perspective. My generation is from a different era. The field of conservation gradually developed from a time when conservation visionaries assured landscapes were protected by parks and management areas. Today’s generation must deal with highly modified landscapes where these protected sites are now small examples of once vast, diverse biogeographical regions. Thus they face challenges that reach far beyond the local scale to a global one. My 80-year journey is an example of how a naïve kid from a family of modest means seized opportunities to protect and manage the wonderful ecosystems on this planet, and the individuals who are responsible for them. My observational skills were honed on farms where daily observations of crops and livestock were key. My strong attachment for wetlands was widely supported by key aspects of family life and values, friends, neighbors, relatives, and a few key professionals. These experiences set me on a course early in life to find a conservation niche, but I had little or no advice about how to make a living in such a field. At Iowa State College, key mentors and professional opportunities supported consistent progress. Our profession needs a diversity of intellects, interests, and expertise to meet its challenges. Professional land management opportunities increased after the drought of the 1930s, but knowledge of natural systems was limited and protecting them wasn’t recognized on a national scale until federal legislation was passed four decades later. During a decade of university studies, I identified the needs of land managers and how to enhance communication. Furthermore, year-round exposure to marsh systems opened blind eyes to annual variability of critical importance in making land management decisions. My professional position as a laboratory director provided a unique opportunity to investigate life histories of flora and fauna. Managers began to ask more complex questions and information expanded concerning abiotic and biotic principles across disciplines. As a result, studies of systems became the focus. Exposure to wetland systems in all 50 states, foreign environments, and more than 300 national wildlife refuges expanded understanding of constant change, the importance of variability, the need for patience, as well as careful listening, collaborative learning, and use of new thinking and technology. Skepticism is important in making progress as well. Thus, beware of tribalism, silos, old dogma, and good deals. I will share my path of experiences that shaped my thinking and actions concerning conservation in general and land management for wetland habitats specifically.

Featured Speaker:

Leigh Fredrickson
2018 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award recipient (retired)

WEDNESDAY, OCT 2, 10:10 – 11:50 a.m.

TWS’ Caesar Kleberg Keynote: Behind the Gates:  Importance of Private Lands to Wildlife Conservation

Private lands are 60% of the United States and are increasingly recognized as important for wildlife conservation.  Settlement patterns often resulted in the most fertile and productive lands being privately owned.  Eighty percent of endangered species in the United States have at least part of their distribution on private land.  Large and mobile animals may use areas larger than typical reserve sizes, making private land important for conservation of such wide-ranging species. This session describes wildlife and habitat conservation projects that have been successful because private land and private landowners were explicitly included.  The session also highlights how the economic interests of private landowners can be channeled to support wildlife conservation.  Attendees will come away with ideas on how to harness the passion of private landowners to meet wildlife conservation goals.

Featured Speakers:

Forest Smith
Director, Texas Native Seeds Program
David Shindle
Panther Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Terry L. Anderson
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

WEDNESDAY, OCT 2, 1:10-2:50 p.m.

AFS Plenary: Sea Change: Scaling the Effects of Environmental Change from Individuals to Marine Ecosystems

Ocean warming, acidification and deoxygenation are broadly expected to affect the physiology of marine species worldwide, but understanding the emergent effects of these combined changes on functioning marine ecosystems remains a challenge. Dr. Kroeker’s talk will focus on the importance of incorporating interactions, between multiple stressors and species, in the study of the emergent effects of global change, with examples from seagrass and other kelp forest ecosystems. In addition, she will address ongoing research regarding how actions at a local-scale can offset the effects of global change on marine species and ecosystems to protect both nature and people.

Featured Speaker:

Kristy Kroeker

Associate Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz



THURSDAY, OCT 3, 10:10–11:50 a.m.

Joint Plenary: Communicating Conservation to Diverse Audiences

How do we communicate conservation messages to an increasingly diverse society with a concomitant diversity of views on natural resource management? How do we find messages that resonate? This challenge goes beyond specific topics, such as sustainable use. In recognition of the diversification of society, and its attitudes about wildlife and fisheries conservation, and the increased diversity of our own professions, this plenary will focus on communicating conservation messages to diverse audiences.

Featured Speakers:

J. Drew Lanham
Professor, Clemson University Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation
What is Wild? A Treatise on Socially Significant Spelling and a Poetic Journey
into the Depths of Why Conservation Matters More As Mission than Career
Scott A. Bonar
USGS Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (AFS President Elect)
Make a Difference. Communication Techniques No Biologist Should Be Without
Serra Hoagland
USDA Forest Service Liaison Officer (Biologist)
Breaking down our silos for all our relations