General Project Information
Over the course of the 2020 spring semester and through to the 2020 fall semester, the Environmental Studies Department works to plan the 23rd annual alongside student volunteers and with help from the ENVS295 engagement class. This coming year’s topic will be the creation, implementation, and challenges of modern day conservation. Despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, groundwork has been laid for an online symposium which will include keynote speakers and student panels. With the help of the student liaison, different departments have been contacted in order to facilitate dialogue and find the perfect students to present on pressing issues related to conservation.
The issue of animal and animal parts trafficking is one that commands a plethora of resources and time from conservation organizations across the world; the hunting of tigers in Russia, the smuggling of Rhino ivory in Africa, and the use of pangolin in traditional medicine are just a few of the issues which we must face. Not only are animal species all across the world being hunted mercilessly for specific parts, but are being pushed to extinction through habitat destruction; the clearing of forests, spread of urban areas, and cultivation of aquaculture have a devastating effect on species even though they are not intended to harm them. For the uninformed student, this slough of information can be intimidating and morally dejectiing; the destruction of animal species is a tremendously difficult topic for many people to discuss. With the help of student panels, however, all aspects of trafficking can be explained. For these student panel sessions, we would present work which these researchers had completed on the topic of trafficking and habitat loss. This work could be ranging from the effects on animal species to the effects on humans, and everything in between. A panel organizer would be present on the stage alongside the researchers in order to facilitate the discussion and relay questions.
Over the course of numerous sessions hosted by the ENVX Symposium, the plan to implement a student panel was decided upon. The idea was created by both the student volunteer committee and Environmental Studies Department faculty. Deliberation with Jim Proctor, the chair of the Environmental Studies program and ENVX Symposium, helped us plan out and coordinate the next steps in order to complete this project.