DEARBORN, Mich. — More than 250 scientists, trustees, partners and supporters of The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project met in Dearborn this past week with one goal in mind – determining how to measure the Conservancy’s conservation progress to protect, restore and maintain the world’s largest freshwater system.
Participants of the first-ever Great Lakes Measures Summit followed the advice of the opening speaker, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a former Conservancy trustee, by making sure the gathering was “not a nice conference.” Instead, rigorous and intense discussions followed in breakout sessions where scientists peer-reviewed strategies set forth by the Conservancy for the Great Lakes top priorities: coastal systems, northern forests, open-water food web, watersheds, aquatic invasive species and climate change.
“People were not afraid or shy questioning strategies and tactics,” said Tom Cook, chair of the Conservancy’s Michigan Board of Trustees. “We all want what’s best for the Great Lakes and we want it sooner rather than later. We needed this kind of forum to quickly and decisively debate the most effective conservation practices for our land and water.”
Cook said the conference exceeded his expectations by bringing together the region’s top thinkers to vigorously discuss and deliberate the best ways to cost-effectively conserve the Great Lakes. He said he was most impressed by the frank discussions and broad ideas put forth by the conference participants to develop and promote the plans and practices that will improve water and land use for the benefit of both people and nature.
“This was a real meeting of the minds,” said Helen Taylor, the Conservancy’s state director for Michigan. “I’ve never seen or experienced something like this before. The time and intellectual commitment shown by some of the region’s top business and science professionals speaks volumes about the care and dedication we all have to ensuring the health and vitality of the Great Lakes.”
Sponsors of the event included the J.A. Woollam Foundation, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Dow Chemical Company.
See Hour Magazine’s picture gallery from the opening gala event.
The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to protect the most ecologically important lands and waters around the world for nature and people. To date, the Conservancy and its 1 million members have been responsible for the protection of more than 120 million acres worldwide, including more than 1 million acres in the Great Lakes region. The Nature Conservancy is working to make the Great Lakes watershed among the most effectively managed ecosystems on Earth. For more information, visit nature.org/greatlakes.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.