I have not been sure how to write about yesterday, starting as it did with helicopters and searchlights in my hotel room as police sought the perpetrator of the unconscionable shootings at the Emanuel ABE church in Charleston, a block away from my hotel. Locals were amazingly stoic in the morning, despite the awful news and the active manhunt. Those of us visiting were a bit wobbly, I think; certainly I noticed the handguns on civilian hips in a whole new way. My condolences to the people affected, directly and indirectly, by this tragedy.
The conference went on, starting with Christy Hempel’s talk about her image-based Q-method study on wind energy landscapes, based on hand-painted watercolours. I jumped then over to the last two talks in an organized session on changes in hunter and angler participation and its implications for management, both great: Lincoln Larson seeking the Locavore, and Mike Quartuch the non-traditional-path hunter. The subsequent panel on Changing Governance was bookended by great performances: Avi Tuschman on the evolutionary nature of political ideologies, and Margaret Davidson, NOAA Senior Advisor for Coastal Inundation and Resilience Science and Services. Never underestimate the power of an unexpected F-bomb to perk up a lengthy plenary session. Davidson brought great experience, candour and clear thinking to work knitting together the previous talks, and did not mince words in what she called her “Adopt a Troglodyte” speech. To paraphrase:
We must not isolate ourselves… Find someone who appalls you, and figure out where they are. A little co-listening would be good, as well as co-management.
The afternoon sessions provided another wonderful seam of presentations on voluntary conservation programs and payments for ecosystem services in agricultural settings. Michael Sorice led, asking a question I’ve been wanting answered: what happens when the money runs out? Vanessa Perry looked at dimensions farmers described of being ‘stuck’, limiting their conservation behaviour; Emily Zimmerman discussed the spatial optimization of conservation activities; and Kourtney Collum about closed borders to pollinator importation leading to higher adaptability in low-bush blueberry in PEI, compared with Maine. A great end to a great conference. The team headed out to Folly Beach for some downtime on the beach, recharging for a work day on Friday.