Michaux Lecture to Explore How Lessons from Past Conservation Pioneers Can Guide Modern Leaders

Jun 15, 2010, 10:00 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Lecture June 17 in Valley Forge Part of Two-Day Conservation Leaders Summit

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, will offer a unique, historical perspective on conservation in Pennsylvania as part of this year's Michaux Lectures, a two-day gathering of leaders from across the state who will discuss how to protect the state's natural resources in the future.

Schweiger's lecture, "Pennsylvania Conservation: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants," will be offered from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, in the Grand Room of the National Christian Conference Center, 1485 Valley Forge Road, Valley Forge, Chester County. The free event is open to the public, and will be followed by a reception with light refreshments and networking opportunities.

"Pennsylvania has a rich history of conservation and environmental activism that helped shape the nation's efforts to protect land and water, and make it available to each of us for outdoor experiences," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley said. "Larry, a modern-day national leader and a Pennsylvania native, will remind us of the successes and struggles of our predecessors, and inspire us all to action on behalf of conservation."

Named after its benefactor French nobleman and botanist F. Andre Michaux, the Michaux Lectures began in the late 1800s when Dr. Joseph Rothrock eloquently and persistently promoted a new vision of forestry by drawing attention to the grave ecological effects of harvesting practices at that time.

Quigley noted the two-day event will address trends impacting conservation in this century; generate big ideas and initiatives on how to protect Pennsylvania's legacy of special natural lands and waters, working farms and forests; and how to green the state's built environment.

"Today, Pennsylvania's landscapes and resources face huge new challenges and present new opportunities. We'll discuss how conservation organizations and government leaders should respond to challenges, define opportunities, and determine how to pursue them," Quigley said.  "Armed with an understanding of what has come before, leaders will seek to identify what needs to be done to shape the next century of conservation for the best.

"The foundation of our conversation will be a series of recently completed measurements and lessons learned from our collective work during the past seven years where we tackled conservation at a landscape level by ignoring boundaries like county lines and focusing on special places defined by geography and community," Quigley said.

As examples, Quigley pointed to the conservation landscape initiatives, or CLIs, which are DCNR-led efforts to engage communities, local partners, state agencies and funding opportunities to conserve the high-quality natural and cultural resources while enhancing the region's economic viability.

A recent year-long evaluation found that the CLI approach has:

  • Increased tourism and created economic benefits;
  • Protected natural resources and parks through land acquisition;
  • Enhanced experiences for visitors by updating and expanding recreational opportunities;
  • Connected communities to the outdoors;
  • Engaged more local governments on conservation issues;
  • Involved citizens more in their communities; and
  • Proven especially effective at leveraging unprecedented state investments to attract additional private and federal resources.

"These discussions are especially timely as we experience the opportunities and challenges that the extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation will bring to Pennsylvania," added Quigley.

For more information about CLIs or to view a summary of the recent measurement and evaluations, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us, and choose "Conservation Landscape Initiatives" under Quick Links.

Media contact: Christina Novak, 717-772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources