Paradigm Shifts, Diversity and Inclusion, and Feet in Several Worlds

ROOM: Kiva Auditorium
This plenary was organized by the Early Career Professionals Working Group, Ethnic and Gender Diversity Working Group, and Native Peoples Wildlife Management Working Group in collaboration with TWS President Bruce Thompson. As the U.S. population continues to gravitate toward urban areas and the baby-boomer generation retires, urban-raised millennials will play an increasingly greater role in natural resources management. ? This demographic shift poses challenges and opportunities to the profession regarding disparity between generational and professional cultures, different strategies for engaging stakeholders, and increasing reliance on emerging technologies. Tribal and indigenous individuals working in natural resources and wildlife management programs, and non-tribal individuals working for tribal agencies can share unique and important perspectives on managing wildlife in an unfamiliar cultural setting and the benefits of seeing wildlife management in different cultural contexts. There is broad recognition of the need to incorporate diverse views beyond consumptive uses and the philosophy of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. This incorporation extends to native peoples perspectives, environmental organizations, animal welfare views, millennials, and others with interest in native fauna and flora while not ignoring human interests in more traditional aspects of wildlife use, conservation practices, and funding for public resource programs. This plenary highlights some of the challenges associated with shifting cultural paradigms in wildlife management and a need for diversity and inclusion of interested parties.

Tapestry Thinking: Weaving the Threads of Humans and Nature
Nalini Nadkarni, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
The distance between nature and humans is widening. Wildlife scientists can help bridge that gap by weaving their passion and expertise into the diverse values that society hold. Nalini Nadkarni will discuss her experiences as a rainforest canopy researcher and science communicator to create novel ways to connect and share scientifically sound knowledge with a wide range of public audiences. She has engaged urban youth, visual artists, rap singers, policy-makers, faith-based groups, and incarcerated men and women. For inmates in state prisons and county jails in nine states, she has instituted monthly science lectures and conservation projects in which inmates raise endangered plants and animals for restoration work. The interweaving of plants, animals, and people has helped to create a stronger tapestry of conservation and appreciation of nature.
Not Your Grandfather’s Wildlife Conservation: Changes in Who We Are and Who We Serve
Jennifer Malpass, U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent, MD
The 21st century has heralded significant demographic shifts not only in the stakeholders in wildlife conservation, but also among those seeking wildlife careers. Over half of the population is living in urban areas for the first time in history. Declining participation in hunting threatens established funding sources for wildlife conservation. Non-consumptive users are becoming more prominent as both stakeholders and wildlife professionals. The diversity of experiences and motivations millennial wildlifers bring are essential in this era of unprecedented challenges for wildlife conservation.
Generational Teachings Passed Down in a Changing World
Scott Aikin, National Native American Program Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vancouver, WA
Becoming a Native Wildlife Biologist in today’s day and age can be very challenging. Raised in a family exposed to historic trauma’s of prejudice and ethnic blending, it was hard enough to understand who I was as a mixed blood person let alone what my focus in life would possibly be. I turned to traditional teachings of my Grandfather who was our Tribes spiritual leader (Prairie Band Potawatomi). Spending time with him as he showed me teachings of how the animals and plants functioned in relation to one another fascinated me as a young boy. Through these opportunities to listen and learn, I became enthralled in the biological world around me. Though his education stopped at fifth grade in order to work the farm in 1912, he was one of the best teachers of biology I’ve had in my career experience as a Wildlife Biologist. Observation was his constant action and it is key to understanding our surroundings as Native People. Thus through my Grandfather’s eyes, I can see how my actions can affect not only my environment but also how others may better relate to protect, conserve and enhance our natural world. This has led me into a 25-year experience working in the Federal Government as a biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I have come to appreciate that it is in relationship and understanding of perspective with others that we accomplish the hard work of applied science in the surrounding world. I am a Tribal Liaison because of this understanding and do so with optimism and hope for our future generations..


Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 26, 2017 Time: 8:30 am - 10:00 am