Wildlife Conservation: Crossroads of Cultures

ROOM: Kiva Auditorium
This Plenary will highlight cultural factors and considerations that are so important in effective conservation communication and implementation. A key element of TWS’ science and conservation partnerships involves building on multi-cultural knowledge and synergies. At their best, natural resource partnerships represent a blending of cultures that have a common purpose in conserving habitat and the associated wildlife resources that are so valuable to people everywhere. That said, we must recognize that cultural aspects are not just the familial heritage of the people involved. Cultures develop around natural environments, resource disciplines, ways of learning, politics, technology, business, legal processes, and many other components of social interaction.? We all need to be aware of this complexity, act respectfully, and communicate inclusively in our engagements with people and professionals of all cultures. As wildlife professionals in today’s world, we can only be successful when we consciously consider the many cultural aspects of people who appreciate, know about, and use wildlife resources daily. The Wildlife Society’s strategic themes of promoting wildlife sustainability, science-based conservation, member engagement and networking, and good business practices are all enhanced by effectively blending diverse cultures. In recent years, the Society has worked with governmental and non-governmental partners to increase representation of different cultural viewpoints in wildlife science and conservation. Even so, many opportunities still exist. Our objective in focusing on this theme is to encourage all of us to go further in recognizing the many cultural aspects of successful and effective wildlife conservation. As a crossroads of native and colonial cultures for centuries, Albuquerque is a great venue for this theme. The Southwest region of the United States has been a pivot point in blending cultural considerations into large-scale conservation practices on private, tribal, state, federal, military and border lands. The wildlife conservation perspectives in this session will converge against this backdrop.

Native Youth: Helping to Meet the Conservation Needs of Our Country
Arthur “Butch” Blazer, Retired USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Mescalero, NM
Discussion will focus on the need for effective and sustainable inclusion of Native American youth in our Nations natural resource conservation initiatives and programs. Both historical and current perspectives will be shared with Conference participants in identifying the importance of this effort and what our Tribes and Pueblos have to offer. Thoughts and ideas as to how The Wildlife Society and other successful conservation organizations could gain a better understanding of the youth conservation needs within Indian Country and for the consideration of possible assistance through expanded partnerships and innovative collaborative actions will also be explored and discussed.
Achieving Hozho: Balancing Cultures in Conservation
Hilary Tompkins, Former Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC
Hilary C. Tompkins (Navajo), former Solicitor for the Department of the Interior under the Obama Administration, will share her experiences representing tribes, the State of New Mexico, and Interior’s diverse bureaus and offices, where competing policy objectives and legal requirements required a careful balancing act in achieving conservation goals. She will weave into her presentation the various legal themes confronting governments when making decisions impacting the environment, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act, as well as the federal trust responsibility with Indian tribes and the role of states. Hilary will provide practical, real life examples to demonstrate the keys to successful and important lessons learned. Hilary will also explain how she has used her Navajo traditions in serving as a chief legal officer and how to meld various cultural views and perspectives when facing complex undertakings that seek to advance conservation goals.
The Importance of Recognizing the Benefits of Diversity within and Outside of an Organization
Alexandra Sandoval, Director, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe, NM
By definition, the term diversity means to exist in a space that is inclusive of multiple and varied perspectives; an extraordinarily powerful tool if an organization is willing to embrace it. Supporting such a concept is not easy, rather it is a difficult road, complicated by the fact we are human. Instinctively we are drawn to only associate within our “tribe”. While we may intellectually recognize diversity provides a path to stronger programs and better understanding of the issues at hand, we should also acknowledge it is essential to building the foundation for persistent growth in our organizations. Diversity fuels a constant push to think alternatively and acknowledge different perspectives on a daily basis, which eventually becomes part of an organization’s DNA. Being able to view and understand the landscape around us and provide innovative solutions as a matter of practice rather than force, has tremendous benefits to all. The greatest outcome for organizations that embrace diversity is their ability to operate from a fortified foundation from which wildlife management programs can grow. Today we are at the crossroads for wildlife management in the United States. The tremendous range of social interests and demands is at an unprecedented level. We must promote diversity, in all its forms and fashions, to advance our organizations and wildlife management for future generations.


Location: Albuquerque Convention Center Date: September 24, 2017 Time: 8:30 am - 10:10 am