Wildlife Conservation: Crossroads of Cultures

DATE: Sept 24, 2017
TIME: 8:30-10:10 a.m.
LOCATION: Kiva Auditorium


©Bob Nichols/USDA

Arthur “Butch” Blazer
Retired USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Mescalero, NMNow retired, Arthur Blazer served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture deputy undersecretary for natural resources and environment. He has remained involved in encouraging the next generation of wildlifers, especially Native American youth. In his past work, Blazer, a member of the Mescalero Apache tribe in south central New Mexico, managed the nearly half-million-acre reservation for the tribe and helped found the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society in the early 1980s. He has also been active in TWS. Blazer will speak about one of his passions: tribal youth conservation. “I’m hoping through my presentation and others, that we will be successful in educating the conference attendees in what tribes are faced with.”
Hilary Tompkins
Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLPOne aspect of cultural influences in wildlife conservation includes the intersection of Native American tribes with legal processes. Hilary Tompkins, a former solicitor for the Department of the Interior, will speak about some of these issues as a member of the Navajo Nation. Her position at DOI included representing the department in judicial litigations, negotiations and contracts between federal and state agencies and tribes. She also served as chief counsel to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson from 2003 to 2008 and special assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. Her legal experience includes work with the Navajo Nation Supreme Court in Arizona and the Navajo Nation Department of Justice as a tribal court advocate.
Alexandra Sandoval
Director, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe, NMAlexa Sandoval began her professional wildlife career with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish as a game warden in the Clayton District in 1994 and is the second woman director in the department’s 101-year history.  Sandoval moved into the director’s chair after serving as the department’s chief financial officer and chief of the Administrative Services Division. She previously served as a district wildlife officer (game warden), wildlife management specialist, federal grant manager and licensing supervisor. She holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University and a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from Colorado State University. She also is a graduate of the prestigious National Conservation Leadership Institute. Director Sandoval shares her passion for fishing and hunting with her husband and three wonderful children and is honored to work with the staff of the Department on a daily basis to promote wildlife management across New Mexico.


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.

Click here for more details.