A Study in Scarlett
On March 8, 2011, NatureServe celebrated its 10th anniversary with a reception and award ceremony in Washington, D.C. The first part of the program, “Okay, Now What?”: A Panel Discussion on Climate Change Adaptation, featured leading experts from public, private, and foundation sectors.
Lynn Scarlett, one of the participants and a former Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Interior, offered a few additional insights on climate change and the nexus of policy and biodiversity conservation just after the event.
NatureServe: This is the first event of this kind NatureServe has held, how do you think it went? How was your experience?
Scarlett: So often, panel discussions are not really discussions but a series of short, individual presentations. This one was different. Mary Klein, always thoughtful, did a fabulous job engaging the very diverse participants in a real dialogue on climate change, its potential effects on species, and possible response strategies. Of course, it was a special thrill to be sitting on a panel with E.O. Wilson who has, over so many years, advanced knowledge on the creatures of this planet???and made that knowledge accessible.
NatureServe: As a panel participant, how do you feel the conversation went? Was any point, or any viewpoint particularly compelling?
Scarlett: Panelists covered so much ground in a relatively short time. We discussed climate effects on land, water, and wildlife. We discussed strategies for addressing those effects: green infrastructure, interconnected habitat, continued investment in land health???these and other topics were all touched on. Particularly evocative was the discussion on climate science, public perceptions, and challenges of effective science communication.
NatureServe: What do you feel is the role of biodiversity information in the federal agencies’ policymaking?
Scarlett: I once read a book in which a Cuban biologist said the success of conservation lies between science and magic. The magic is, of course, the passions of people who are inspired to lend a caring hand to lands, waters and wildlife. But effective conservation also requires science--information about species, their population trends, their habitat, and the stressors that threaten them. NatureServe (and other biodiversity) data are a must???they help land managers target their efforts for effective action.
Find and watch brief clips of each panelists on NatureServe’s YouTube channel. Your $50 donation entitles you to receive a DVD featuring both the panel and acceptance remarks from NatureServe Conservation Award winner Edward O. Wilson—please contact Kyle Copas ( | 703-908-1895) to request yours today.