Author and naturalist E. O. Wilson expressed his commitment to the preservation of global biodiversity, one of the most important initiatives of the modern age, with this message: “To strive against the odds, on behalf of all life, would be humanity at its most noble.”
In his 2016 book “Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life,” Wilson called for conservation of half of Earth’s lands and seas to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity, including humanity. A group of local residents, active in a larger “Vermont Alliance for Half-Earth” movement, is inviting Valley residents to explore what that effort might look like in the Mad River Valley.
“We wanted to gather people together to share a meal and learn about the importance of biodiversity and what actions that we, as stewards of this landscape, can do to promote biodiversity in our backyard,” explained Curt Lindberg, Waitsfield, who is helping to spearhead the initiative,
Titled Celebrating Biodiversity in the Mad River Valley: A Free Community Workshop and Dinner, the event will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 5, in the Pavilion at Lareau Farm Inn/American Flatbread in Waitsfield.
The workshop will include a presentation by Joe Roman, a conservation biologist and researcher at the University of Vermont as well as a recent Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Scholar. His work, focusing on the connections between biodiversity and human well-being, endangered species conservation and marine ecology, has appeared in Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and many other journals. He is the author of “Listed: Dispatches from America’s Endangered Species Act,” winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award.
In addition, several organizations will be on hand to advise property owners on steps they can take to promote biodiversity. Audubon Vermont will describe how to create appealing habitat for Vermont’s many bird species; Friends of the Mad River will explain how to protect the water quality that species depend upon; the Vermont Land Trust will share forest management practices and tips for dealing with invasive species; the National Wildlife Federation will describe what people can do to provide habitat for wildlife; and Valley conservation commissions will highlight their priorities and activities.
The event is being hosted by Lareau Farm and American Flatbread.