COMPASS at NACCB 2018: Conservation Science, Policy and Practice: Connecting the Urban to the Wild


Jul 19, 2018


3 Minute Read


This weekend COMPASS heads to Canada for the 2018 North American Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB) in Toronto. We’ve been working for many months with the conference organizers to bring opportunities to share science within a wider societal context through the design of the opening plenary and activities throughout the week bringing scientists and journalists together.
This year we are helping eighteen outstanding journalists attend the congress with travel support from Wilburforce Foundation and the Sitka Foundation, and the partnership of Y2Y in facilitating the presence of Canadian journalists. This is our third Journalist Fellowship in partnership with the NACCB conference. This is a big effort for our little organization, but we have seen how the suite of activities including panels, social events, and personal introductions all build relationships and spark new thinking, for journalists and scientists alike. The journalists range from New York, Baltimore, Colorado and Washington DC to Banff, Manitoba, New Brunswick, the Salish Sea and more. From their many geographic vantages they too embody the conference theme of connecting the urban to the wild.

The connections made between the journalists and the conservation experts generate stories long after the conference ends, and tell the wider world about the important conservation work happening across North America. Their stories tell it like it is through the words and experiences of the conservation practitioners, First Nations and scientists who are the witnesses to the natural world and investigate policies and practices that can help or hinder the conservation of biodiversity and a sustainable world.

This year, COMPASS’ agenda includes:

Introducing the Opening Plenary: Conservation Science, Policy and Practice: Connecting the Urban to the Wild


“The Road Ahead: New Thinking and Opportunities for Conservation”

This lively and interactive opening plenary panel will start with remarks from speakers Larry McDermott, Justina Ray, and Faisal Moola, and then shift into a panel discussion Q&A with journalists Kendra Pierre-Louis (New York Times) and Ivan Semeniuk (The Globe and Mail), moderated by our Nancy Baron. Remarks and discussion explore the conference theme of connecting the urban to the wild, within the current North American context with the perspectives of the journalists in the mix.

Immediately after the panel, the 2018 Journalist Fellows will introduce themselves to the conference and briefly state what they’re interested in finding out more about. Then at the following reception, everyone will get to meet and mingle.

COMPASS Journalist Pitch Pit

As a result of the last pitch pit at NACCB 2016 many amazing stories pitched by conference attendees were followed up on by the journalists and resulted in stories. So it’s with great excitement that we are looking forward to our Pitch Pit event on Tuesday evening at 5:30pm. This is an opportunity for scientists at the conference to in two minutes, ‘pitch’ a story about their research for feedback (and free drink tickets) from the journalists. This event is a chance to find out what journalists are interested in, and a lot of fun—whether you make a pitch or not! Liquid courage (a no-host bar) will be available.


The Journalist Fellows will be attending sessions, making new connections, conducting interviews, and generally roaming the conference from Sunday-Wednesday. They’ll also be holding office hours in the Press Room (Dockside 8), so scientists can stop by and say hello.

If you’re attending the conference, we look forward to seeing you at these events—and if you can’t make it this year, you can follow along on Twitter via the conference hashtag, #NACCB2018, or by following the journalists themselves here!

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