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B.1-2: Who will mind the marsh? Welcoming and diversifying new participants in waterfowl and wetlands conservation

Presented by J. Drew Lanham - Email: lanhamj@clemson.edu

Who will mind the marsh? Welcoming and diversifying new participants in waterfowl and wetlands conservation The mainstream conservation movement in North America, of which waterfowl and wetlands were original foci, has attracted primarily white male professionals and participants. While female involvement is increasing in the wildlife profession, racial and ethnic diversity remains low. Further, demographic shifts of the populous from rural to urban areas are causing human disconnects with nature. This limited integration of societal members constrains growth of waterfowl, wetlands, and natural resources conservation. Indeed, countless people outside mainstream traditional conservation (e.g., hunters, fishers, birders) care deeply about the Earth and thus can help support conservation. Many under-represented constituenciesincluding low income communities, indigenous people, and communities of colorhave a long history of stewarding habitat. The more that mainstream conservation engages culturally diverse people, their history, and future trends, the more relevant, inclusive, and impactful future conservation will be. Diversifying humanity in waterfowl and wetlands conservation is more than recruiting people from various socio-demographic backgrounds. It also means understanding how all people relate to, engage with, fund, and care about the environment. All people may not need ducks, but all need clean air and water and other natural resources that are provisioned significantly through conservation. We believe by promoting convergences of culture and conservation in policy and practice, a more diverse base of funding and professional support can accrue for waterfowl and nature. We will discuss the past and future trends in socio-demographic and cultural makeup of North American society. Further, we will discuss ways waterfowl and wetland conservation can increase its competence through growth of cultural diversity and interaction, university matriculation and engagement of people of diverse cultures and values, develop appropriate methods of communicating across cultures, and peerless new ways to support conservation by a diversity of contributors.
Session: Who Will Mind the Marsh? 2.0 (Tuesday, August 27,13:20 to 15:00)