April 9, 2019 | 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Meetings are at the Grand Ely Lodge at noon on Tuesdays. More information will be available closer to the meeting dates.
This week we welcome Paya de Marcken and her presentation entitled “Conserving Biodiversity In the Chaos of the Congo.”
In her own words: I am a conservation biologist from Bear Island Lake in Babbitt, I spent my time at university studying prosimian primates (or lemurs) from Madagascar in the forests of North Carolina. After doing some research and serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the actual forests of Madagascar, I returned to university to study conservation biology and ended up working for NASA and the University of Maryland (the other UMD) building a non-governmental organization specialized in land cover monitoring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). I joined the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Washington, D.C. as Director for the Congo Basin in 2009 and spent the next eight years working on landscape conservation programs being implemented across Central Africa.
At the same time, I was accorded the opportunity to dedicate half my time (and most of my nights and weekends) to an ambitious joint program between the WWF and the park agency of the DRC to undertake a systematic assessment of their national protected area system and develop recommendations for its consolidation and extension – an important step in meeting the DRC’s commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The program has been a crazy adventure, which has taken our team from the Library of Congress, where we have spent weeks scouring archives to look for century-old legal texts and maps that have long been lost in the DRC, to some of the remotest areas of the Congo’s forests, where our team has so far traveled over 28,354 km by car, 27,709 km by motorcycle and 7,838 km on foot. The talk will briefly cover the impetus behind this program; share some of the funny, touching and occasionally scary moments our team have faced; and provide an opportunity to exchange on the incredible challenges we face in developing effective strategies to conserve biodiversity, as well as the services it provides, while meeting the aspirations of local communities and the global demand for resources – be it in northern Minnesota or the DRC.
Location: Grand Ely Lodge
400 N Pioneer Road, Ely, MN, 55731