Vail Daily letter: "Forests at Risk" conference |

Vail Daily letter: "Forests at Risk" conference

Chris Lane and John Bennett
Vail, CO, Colorado

Beginning Sunday night and continuing through Monday, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is hosting a public symposium at the Aspen Institute: “Forests at Risk: Conservation and Collaboration in a Changing World.” If you care about Central Colorado’s beautiful forests and streams, please join us for this important event! Tickets are available at http://www.Aspen, $35 for center members and $45 for nonmembers.

Sunday evening begins at 6 p.m. with National Geographic photographer Jim Balog’s stunning video images of melting glaciers and the premiere of his dramatic time-lapse images of dying forests in Colorado and Wyoming.

Two internationally known experts – Robert Orr, of Oberlin College, and Maggie Fox, of the Climate Reality Project – will then highlight the unmistakable connection between our warming climate and declining forest health.

After a greeting from Sen. Mark Udall, Monday begins with leading scientists explaining the demonstrable link between climate change and recent record wildfires in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, as well as our unprecedented bark beetle outbreak.

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Leaders from the Nature Conservancy and Grand Canyon Trust, together with ski area executives, will discuss landscape scale public-private collaborations to conserve and restore forests across the West.

Executives from two major utilities (Denver Water and Southern California Edison) will share their efforts to safeguard the forests upon which they depend.

The president of the Freshwater Trust will describe success at restoring rivers and wetlands through innovative partnerships with utilities and water treatment plants.

Two keynote speakers – Under Secretary of Agriculture Harris Sherman (whose office oversees the U.S. Forest Service) and National Forest Foundation President Bill Possiel – will offer real-world examples of using public-private partnerships to accelerate successful landscape restoration and forest conservation throughout the West.

Finally, local leaders – John Katzenberger, of the Aspen Global Change Institute, and Morgan Williams, of Biochar Solutions – will describe innovative initiatives to monitor bioclimatic changes in our valley, restore ecosystems and sequester carbon in the Central Rockies.

This is a great opportunity to learn and engage on critical issues affecting us all. Complimentary food and refreshments will be served Sunday night and again on Monday. Join us for this exciting exchange of ideas and solutions!

Chris Lane and John Bennett

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

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