Setting up a new conservation group for the IUCN, advising the President and missing the morning teas at CEED.
I arrived at CEED as a Professional Fulbright Scholar in Climate Change and Clean Energy in 2013-2014. I chose CEED because of its pool of talented scholars who were making advances in decision support science using a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches.
The CEED morning tea gatherings at the UQ node helped to foster a truly collaborative community. In general, we don’t have these social breaks in the US, and I miss them now that I have returned home. I think tea is a small thing, but it truly helps cement teams.
After CEED, I returned to the US where I was appointed to serve on two US Department of Interior advisory councils during the last years of the Obama Administration:
- The International Landscape Conservation Cooperative Council of the US Fish and Wildlife Service which oversees 22 large-scale federal conservation collaborative operations from the Pacific Islands to the Caribbean Sea, from the Arctic realms to the tropical forests of Puerto Rico.
- The National Invasive Species Council that advises the Secretary of Interior on the latest threats and potential solutions to address the nation’s invasive species problems.
In 2016, I was asked by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas to chair a new technical group to advance ecological connectivity conservation – the Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group. We are developing a new conservation designation to conserve a critical ecological process – connectivity – through Areas of Connectivity Conservation. We hope that as the world develops more ambitious targets for conservation, connectivity will figure more prominently.
Being exposed to the CEED cohort of innovators proved to be an inspiration for my work helping policymakers and conservation practitioners make better decisions. I still stay in touch with my colleagues and collaborators at CEED who continue to help and inspire me.