I participated in my first North American Congress for Conservation Biology at the end of July. Throughout the week, there was a focus on the need and benefit to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in conservation. This focus served as a humbling reminder that I still have a lot to learn and do.

Some highlights include powerful plenary and live sessions about DEI and prioritizing conservation work. Some of those have been uploaded to the Society for Conservation Biology Youtube channel.

There were talks that emphasized the importance of indigenous-led conservation, like this one: Prioritizing multiple land uses and Indigenous values for conservation by Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle.

There were talks that introduced me to new ways of incorporating design principles into conservation and education. One talk Stacie Rohrbach gave was about her students using design methods for a project to teach freshmen to become sustainable food citizens.

I have found my new favourite wildlife education game that follows steelhead fish along their migration route through the Puget Sound. The images and names they’ve created to represent the fish are fantastic! It’s called Survive the Sound.

There were also many stories about dramatic conservation successes, like the restoration of the Colorada River Delta across the US-Mexico border:

The virtual format was new to me, but it worked really well. It allowed me to participate in this conference when I otherwise would have been unable to. Being able to type and vote for questions into a chat box seemed to facilitate some really valuable conversations with panelists. Most presenters filmed their presentations before the conference and they were uploaded to the webpage. We’ll have access to them for the next 6 months. This means I’ll be able to watch more talks than I would be able to at an in-person conference with concurrent sessions. I think we all miss grabbing coffee and tea in the hallways and in-person social events with our colleagues, but there was an element of that on Twitter (#NACCB2020). I’m looking forward to the return to some in-person conferences, but I hope more can incorporate a virtual element for those of us that cannot always travel.

Hannah McCurdy Adams

Reptile and Amphibian Development Coordinator

Hannah is developing the national reptile and amphibian initiative for Wildlife Preservation Canada. She has worked with experts in the field of road ecology, physiology and genetics. Hannah has been involved in conservation projects for at-risk reptiles and amphibians in Canada for almost a decade.