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Fall symposia to address critical conservation issues, solutions
Conservation experts to convene in Chicago

Sept. 19, 2007

Leaders in science, academia, and business will address critical conservation issues and solutions at a three-part lecture series to be held in Chicago this fall. The series, Envisioning a Sustainable Future, is presented by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies.

Advances in technology and policy development addressing the impacts of climate change and the need for a sustainable economy will be at the forefront of the discussion. “The series presents a tremendous opportunity to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers on the interplay between human society and the natural world, as well as on potential solutions to balance the needs of both,” said Bob Moseley, director of conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Illinois.

After discussing recent developments, the series will look ahead to offer a glimpse of what conservation actions are needed in the future to maintain our Earth’s natural systems.

Peter Karieva, chief scientist for the Conservancy, will lead the first discussion. Kareiva, who advises the world’s largest on-the-ground conservation organization on how it should alter its priorities, plans and actions in the face of climate disruption, is widely recognized as a global leader in the implementation of science-based conservation.

The second panel will be moderated by Don Coursey, the Ameritech Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. Coursey is an experimental economist who focuses on the demand for international environmental quality, legislation and the economic goals of society.

The third panel will be led by Sir Peter Crane, knighted in 2004 for his service to horticulture and conservation. He now serves as the John and Marion Sullivan Professor in Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. Crane’s research is on plant evolution and his areas of focus include the conservation of biological diversity.

The moderators will be joined by accomplished experts in a dynamic exchange focused on real world examples and implementation of key strategies in the United States and abroad.

The series of symposia is one of numerous events in 2007 that celebrate the 50th year of The Nature Conservancy in Illinois. Symposia topics and speakers include:

  • Our Future on a Warming Planet, Wednesday, Oct. 10, featuring:

    Chair: Peter Kareiva, Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy;

    Stephen Pacala, Petrie Professor of Biology and Director, Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University;

    Jonathan Overpeck, Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences and Director, Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, University of Arizona.

    Panelists will analyze the impacts of abrupt climate change on vulnerable ecosystems and outline practical responses to emerging climate disruptions. The crucial role of effective policy development and technological advances will be a central theme.

  • Making Economic Growth Sustainable, Thursday, Oct. 25, featuring:

    Chair: Don Coursey, Ameritech Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago;

    Gretchen Daily, Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University; Center for Conservation Biology Director; Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, and Chair, The Natural Capital Project;

    V. Kerry Smith, W.P. Carey Professor of Economics, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University;

    David Brookshire, Professor of Economics and Director of Science Impact Laboratory for Policy and Economics, University of New Mexico.

    Focusing on the importance of everyday economics in conservation, the panel will describe how market mechanisms can be used to protect the land and waters of the planet. The panelists will consider how economists assign a value to environmental resources and why habitat conservation is a wise investment for the future.

  • The Future of Conservation, Tuesday, Nov. 6, featuring:

    Chair: Sir Peter Crane, the John and Marion Sullivan Professor in Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago;

    M. Sanjayan, Lead Scientist, The Nature Conservancy;

    Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Duke University;

    Richard Sparks, Director of Research, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.

  • The final session will examine issues affecting freshwater, current approaches to conservation in the face of growing threats to biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems around the world. The panel will also address the impact of population growth and increasing global consumption. Finally, the focus will shift to the responsibility of the United States in leading the world toward lasting beneficial changes.

The lectures will be held on the sixth floor of the Gleacher Center, 450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive in Chicago. Each session begins with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by a lecture at 5:30 p.m. The cost for an individual lecture is $25, or $60 for the entire series.

Northern Trust is the lead benefactor of The Nature Conservancy in Illinois 50th Anniversary celebrations. Exelon and The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust are lead sponsors of the series of symposia. Additional sponsors include: Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal LLP, and State Farm. To register, call (312) 580-2167, or visit

The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to protect the most ecologically important lands and waters around the world for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its more than one million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 15 million acres in the United States and have helped preserve more than 102 million acres in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

The University of Chicago extends its commitment to teaching and research through the Graham School of General Studies, which engages a diverse audience of adult, non-traditional and part-time learners in the pursuit of higher education locally, nationally and internationally. The Graham School reaches more than 10,000 adult learners each year, in areas including the humanities, arts and sciences, as well as in the professional milieu through its business and professional programs. For more information, see

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Last modified at 01:37 PM CST on Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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