Monday, January 28, 2013

A Trip to Washington DC

by David G. Anderson

A visit to Washington DC is always interesting and inspiring, and my trip this month was no exception!  There were several reasons to go this time.  I gave two presentations on CNHP’s projects at the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) annual Meeting.  One was on our wildlife escape ramp study, led by Jeremy Siemers, and funded by CDOT.  The other was on our pilot test of the Integrated Ecological Framework, a project funded by TRB.  

Participants in TRB’s annual meeting at the Washington Hilton.
This conference coincided with the Disasters and Environment Conference, held by the National Council for Science and the EnvironmentCSU is a sponsoring institution of this conference and our Dean, Joyce Berry, and our Provost Rick Miranda were there.   There were presentations by many inspiring environmental leaders (the outgoing director of NOAA, Jane Lubchenco, gave a memorable presentation). 

The beautiful Ronald Reagan Building, where the
Disasters and Environment conference was held.  
And of course, I also spent a day visiting our friends at NatureServe’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.  With Leslie Honey, Vice President of Conservation Services for NatureServe, I met with Dan Fenn, a staffer in Senator Mark Udall’s Office.  We showed him the State of Colorado’s Biodiversity 2011 and gave him a copy of CNHP’s High Park Fire poster, and it was a wonderful opportunity to highlight some of the ways that we can help identify no-regrets conservation solutions.  Leslie and I made a great team and I hope we can visit our congressional representatives again before long!  It was fun to visit our friends at NatureServe- thank you to everyone (Pat, Leslie, Lori, Don, Rob, Kat, and Bruce) for your hospitality. 

Two of our friends from Oregon, Jimmy Kagan (Director of the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC), CNHP’s analog in that state) and Lisa Gaines (Director of the Oregon Institute for Natural Resources), spent the week there as well and we did a pretty good job of trying some of Washington’s fabulous culinary offerings together while figuring out how to conserve the world's biodiversity.  Jimmy and I visited the wonderful United States Botanic Garden between meetings on the last day of my stay.  One of my favorite things there, aside from the beautiful orchid collection, was getting to see the Wollemi pine.  I had read about the discovery of this ancient tree species in the Blue Mountains of Australia 10 years ago, and it was wonderful to meet this species in person!  

Jimmy Kagan, Director of the ORBIC - a rare species indeed.

Wollemi Pines in the Rare and Endangered Species
Collection at the US Botanic Garden
On the last evening of my stay I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue back to my hotel (after stopping for a beer near the Whitehouse, where I met the City Manager of the City of Auburn, WA and a former hedge fund manager for Louis Bacon - both classic Washington DC experiences), and followed the parade route for Obama’s Inauguration.  

Pennsylvania Avenue on January 17th, just before Obama’s Inauguration
It was wonderful to showcase CNHP’s success, leadership, and conservation innovations in Washington DC with our national leaders.  I am so proud to work at a Heritage Program that has so much to offer in this regard! 

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