CSU Salazar Center to host virtual symposium on urban conservation, equity and climate resilience

Colorado State University’s Salazar Center for North American Conservation is hosting its second International Symposium on Conservation Impact on Sept. 16-17.

This year’s (virtual) symposium will highlight best-in-class examples in North American cities, where leaders have used green space and natural solutions to address climate resilience and support racial equity. Featured speakers include U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico; Mustafa Santiago Ali, vice president of environmental justice, climate and community revitalization at the National Wildlife Federation; and a broad range of conservation researchers and those who support philanthropy from across North America.

On Sept. 16, the Center will host the Connectivity Challenge Prize Finalist Pitch Event, in which five finalists will compete for the first Conservation Impact Prize. The prize, announced at the Center’s 2019 symposium, will award $100,000 to the winning team for proposals related to driving innovation in landscape connectivity. Later that day, the Rural Workshop (sold out) will convene participants for an in-depth exploration of the challenges and opportunities that are unique to conservation work in rural areas.

The full-day Symposium on Conservation Impact will take place on Sept. 17 and bring together a range of stakeholders from the United States, Canada and Mexico to explore the importance of urban green spaces and connectivity across the continent. Policymakers, practitioners and researchers will explore how green spaces and other solutions support human health, climate resilience and connectivity in urban environments.

The symposium will directly highlight efforts to grow and empower a broader, more diverse, inclusive, and equitable set of stakeholders for this work, as well as offer attendees the unique chance to learn from and collaborate with conservation leaders from across North America in the face of today’s unprecedented environmental and public health challenges.

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Speakers and registration

Panelists represent a breadth of sectors and expertise from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland

Keynote speaker Haaland from New Mexico’s 1st District — a 35th generation New Mexican and enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna — will explore the topics of climate resilience, environmental justice, and racial equity, and how these critical priorities fit into creating and enhancing green space and access to nature in cities. Following her address, city leaders from Denver, Mexico City, and Vancouver will participate in a panel on urban climate resilience and social equity through nature, moderated by Center founder and former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

Later in the morning, a panel highlighting CSU faculty will present on state of the research on urban green space, resilience and equity in North America. They’ll explore the role of urban areas in conserving biodiversity, how landscape design impacts human health, the importance of cities’ soil and water resources, and how understanding social networks can help us manage healthy urban ecosystems for the benefit of people and nature.

Mustafa Santiago Ali

Ali, a leading expert on environmental justice and community revitalization, will address the audience over lunch. He will lend his perspective on how people can shift their cities from “surviving to thriving.”

In the afternoon, a panel of leading national and regional funders will share lessons learned through their grantmaking strategies, why they focus on racial equity, and what they’ve learned about successful investments. They will bring expertise from The JPB Foundation in New York, The Kresge Foundation in Detroit, and the Gonzalo Río Arronte Foundation in Mexico City.

Attendees can also look forward to a special announcement about the Salazar Center’s next Conservation Impact Prize.

The symposium is made possible with support from Jim Kelley and Amie Knox; Trinchera Blanca Foundation, an affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon; Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO); Dig Studio; and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Learn more

A complete agenda is available online, and registration is open through Sept. 17. Tickets are available at greenmeetings.regfox.com/202009-salazar-symposium.