SCB Webinar Series – Science Can Drive Policy: The Untold Story of the Microbead Victory

Microplastic has been reported in every major open ocean and in many freshwater lakes and rivers. Microbeads, tiny plastic fragments or beads included in the ingredients of hundreds of products, are one of the many sources of this growing contamination in aquatic habitats. We estimate that the United States alone emits 2.9 trillion beads per year. If you line these microbeads up end to end, the US emits enough microbeads to wrap around the planet >7 times. Among mitigation strategies for microplastic pollution, we saw legislation banning microbeads as the low hanging fruit. This simple solution would prevent one form of microplastic from entering aquatic habitats. Thus, we got involved. We showed how the scientific evidence regarding microplastic was enough to support a ban on microbeads. We communicated this through the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) in a policy brief and in a Viewpoint published in Environmental Science and Technology. We delivered our work to policy makers who asked us to provide input on the text for several bills, including Maryland and California (the country’s strongest bills regarding this issue) and to testify in support of the bill in front of California Assembly Members. This webinar will cover these topics and more.

Dr. Chelsea Rochman is an Ecologist with emphases in Marine Ecology, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Chemistry. Her research interests cover the ecological effects of anthropogenic contaminants on wildlife and our resources (e.g. water, seafood). More specifically, her current focus is the implications of the infiltration of plastic debris into aquatic habitats. Chelsea is currently a Davis H. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow in Conservation Biology working with Dr. Swee Teh in the Aquatic Health Program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and in the lab of Dr. Miriam Diamond at the University of Toronto, St. George campus.

To listen to the webinar, see this link: Recording Information

Questions and Answers about NACCB2016

NACCB2016 Chair Jamie Hogberg answers questions about the upcoming conference:

What’s in store for next year’s NACCB in Madison, Wisconsin (especially for those who have never been to one)?

We have a great lineup of events and speakers for NACCB 2016, and are excited to receive proposals for symposia, workshops, and short courses. We’re focused on content related to conservation science, management, policy, and education, and this year we will especially highlight the importance of communicating science to achieve conservation goals.  We want this conference to be an open platform to grow and foster collaborative relationships among conservation professionals, journalists, researchers, and students.

Why was Wisconsin picked for the conference?

Wisconsin has deep roots in conservation, once home to pioneers like Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and Gaylord Nelson. Today, we expand on this foundation with high impact research coming from the University of Wisconsin, collaboration with communities, non-profit, and governmental partnerships to support conservation initiatives in our state, and promote the Wisconsin Idea inside and beyond state & national borders.  We have some noteworthy SCB benchmarks to celebrate in 2016 too, being 25 years since the international meeting was hosted here in Madison, and 30 years since the incorporation of SCB as a Society!

Who should come to these meetings? What is the conference’s main themes and what are you hoping to accomplish with the NACCB?

Anyone and everyone interested in learning and building networks in conservation in North America and beyond!  Many conference attendees will present on research and work from all over the globe, and we look forward to hearing from a diversity of scientists, practitioners, students, and teachers working in conservation biology.  Our theme this year is “Communicating Science for Conservation Action.” For us, that means many things, and includes identifying and advancing skills in scientific communication. How do we develop and engage with a broader and more inclusive audience? How do we promote behavior change that protects and sustains natural resources within the context of a community? How do we reach policy-makers and put positive change into action? Our theme also celebrates the longstanding SCB tradition of communicating ideas and building partnerships within the congress, around a variety of conservation-related issues. We hope to see attendees walk away feeling empowered, inspired, and ready to put new skill sets into action in their own work.

Can you give us a sneak peek into speakers, field trips and any other surprises?

I certainly can. Thanks to all for your patience as we release this info on our website and social media. It takes more than a village to plan and run a conference! A few of many highlights to look forward to include our keynote and plenary sessions that will span multiple topics and conservation disciplines, while converging on our theme of science communications, to name a few of the speakers: Dietram Scheufele, Drew Lanham, and Francis Beineke.

In addition to scientific content at the congress, we encourage folks to get here early on Saturday before the conference to enjoy the nation’s largest farmers’ market around the capitol square, one block from the conference venue, Monona Terrace.  In addition to all of the fun things to do in Madison, we’ll have field trips to the famous Aldo Leopold Shack and International Crane Foundation in the Driftless region of southwest Wisconsin, opportunities to kayak, paddle board, and canoe in Madison’s Lakes and Rivers, (not to mention sunset boat cruises just outside the conference venue), a yoga, mindfulness, and sustainability-inspired field trip, visits to the UW Arboretum (home to the world’s first restored prairie), and lots more to come!