CSU Global Biodiversity Summit invites community to engage in conversation about conservation

Natalia Sperry

CSU-based researchers will showcase their efforts dedicated to maintaining a healthy world ecosystem at the the 2017 Global Biodiversity Summit.

Researchers at Colorado State University’s Global Biodiversity Center will host the event on Oct.11 and Oct. 12 in the Lory Student Center to showcase some of that research in order to raise awareness to the public about the importance and relevance of biodiversity, according to Jacob Job, sound and light research associate at CSU and the National Park Service and the GBC’s research and social media coordinator. 

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“We’re trying to make people understand how biodiversity directly matters to them … from food acquisition to clean water, to energy, to outdoor places to recreate in, everything has to do with biodiversity,” Job said. “Once people understand that, and accept that, it’s sort of getting them into a place where they can … transfer awareness into action.”

According to the GBC, biodiversity is the variation of all life on earth, from genes and species to communities and ecosystems. It can be studied from the local to global scale and across the many levels of organization, and maintains life on our planet. 

The summit follows the University’s success as a leading global institution in biodiversity conservation research, ranked tenth in the world by the Center for World University Rankings. Currently, over a hundred conservation researchers affiliated with the University are working in every continent, including Antartica.

“For a lot of ecosystems, they’re healthiest when their original biodiversity is intact. We have learned, as humans, to take advantage of healthy ecosystems in ways that benefit us,” Job said. “We can model technology and infrastructure after things we see in nature. If we lose some species along the way without even knowing, we’re losing our potential as well.” 

The summit will begin with a welcome keynote in the LSC Theater Oct. 11 featuring guest speaker M. Sanjayan, a global conservation scientist specializing in how nature preserves and enhances human life and chief executive officer of Conservation International. CSU President Tony Frank and Chris Funk, director of the GBC, will speak as well. 

The second day will feature two panel sessions with speakers across disciplines from biology to business, in the LSC’s North Ballroom on “Preserving Biodiversity” and “Fostering a Biodiverse Future.” A poster session will follow, where researchers can present their work to the public. Later, aquatic conservation researcher Wendy Palen will speak at the closing keynote. The summit will end with a showing of the film Yasuní Man in the LSC Theater.  

Both days of the summit are open to all CSU students, faculty and the entire Front Range community. 

“We’re working … to try to get the point across that biodiversity matters to you directly, and there are ways you yourself can get involved, be it as a scientist, a student (or) as a general citizen of our community in the front range and beyond,” Job said. “We want everybody to feel like they can come be a part of this discussion and not be judged, and come learn something that can not only benefit the world but can benefit your life.”

Collegian news reporter Natalia Sperry can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Natalia_Sperry.