SEJ's 19th Annual Conference Agenda

 

Agenda Registration
Lodging/Transportation Advertise

About Madison Coverage

 

Limnology researchers take depth samples of the water in Lake Mendota and use a plankton net to do a vertical tow sample, collecting the zooplankton daphnae as part of bi-weekly monitoring of lake conditions. Photo © Michael Forster Rothbart/UW-Madison.

 

 

SEJ 2009 was hosted by University of Wisconsin-Madison in Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday-Sunday, October 7-11, 2009. Download the conference brochure.

 

Page Menu

Wednesday, October 7
Thursday, October 8
Friday, October 9
Saturday, October 10
Sunday, October 11
SEJ/IJNR Post-Conference Tour, Oct. 11-Oct 14

Back to Madison conference home.

 

 

 

AGENDA

SEJ's 2009 Annual Conference officially begins Wednesday afternoon, October 7, with our opening reception, followed by dinner, special welcomes and the SEJ awards ceremony. 

Wednesday, October 7

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, One West Dayton Street, Madison, Wisconsin.

The two workshops below will be held concurrently from about 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Lunch will be provided for both workshops on campus. Breakfast will NOT be provided.

All-Day Workshop 1: Producing Video for the Web

Participants will learn multimedia concepts and visual journalism skills, including camera techniques, video gathering and basic video editing. Led by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and University of Wisconsin instructors, this hands-on session requires that you bring your own video camera. You don’t need super hardware. It can be as simple as a Flip camera or digital camera with video capability. But it should not be a cell phone, because of poor video quality. Pre-registration and $60 fee required. Space is limited. SEJ members only.
NOTE: This workshop is full.
Instructors:
Pat Hastings, Faculty Associate, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Amol Pavangadkar, Senior Producer, Communication Arts and Sciences Media and the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, Michigan State University
Sue Robinson, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Location: BioTechnology Center Computer Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 

All-Day Workshop 2: Computer Assisted Reporting for the Environment

If you want to dig into the environment beat, you need to know your way around data and electronic records. This hands-on session, led by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and IRE instructors, introduces data analysis with spreadsheets.You’ll learn to sort, select, summarize and graphically display data. You’ll dig deep into the Web to find, download and analyze environmental datasets that produce stories. We’ll also discuss how to convert those pesky pdf files into spreadsheets. Unleash the power of spreadsheets to help you ask smarter questions, work more efficiently and produce more watchdog environmental reporting. Pre-registration and $60 fee required. Space is limited. SEJ members only.
Instructors:
Jaimi Dowdell, Training Director, Investigative Reporters and Editors
David Poulson, Associate Director, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, Michigan State University
Location: Memorial Union Building, University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Registration

2:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Sign up for Beat Dinners and Mini-tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn't sign up ahead of time for the Thursday tours, Saturday evening party, or Sunday morning breakfast, there may still be room — please check with registration.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

SEJ Information Table

Sign up here for Beat Dinners and Mini-tours. Find information about membership and services, pick up copies of SEJournal, TipSheet, FOI WatchDog and other publications.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

Scientists Poster Session

3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Stop by before the opening reception to get the inside scoop on some of the latest environmental and ecological research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the people who do the work. UW scientists and students will present posters on a range of topics including climate change, pollution, and human-environment interactions.
Location: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison Bookstore

3:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Visit our onsite bookstore, where you will find a variety of books for sale, published by SEJ members, invited speakers and University of Wisconsin professors.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

Opening Reception and Dinner at the Concourse Hotel

5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
SEJ is, "On, Wisconsin!"… ground…  and what better way to hear about Wisconsin’s progressive environmental tradition, than with microbrews, cheese and dinner? Light refreshments start at 5:00 p.m. with buffet-style dinner and Welcome-to-Wisconsin presentations to follow. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, Tia Nelson (daughter of late Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day), former Forest Service Chief Mike Dombeck and Native American professor and journalist Patty Loew will talk about Wisconsin’s storied leadership to protect natural resources, develop renewable energy and influence the national debate on these topics
Emcees: Peter Annin, Associate Director, Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources, and Author, The Great Lakes Water Wars; and Chuck Quirmbach, Environmental Reporter, Wisconsin Public Radio
Room: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom

 

SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment

8:00 - 9:00 p.m.  
Share the pride of your profession at SEJ’s prestigious environmental journalism awards ceremony. Hosted by Jeff Burnside, SEJ board member and reporter at NBC 6 in Miami, and his colleague, co-anchor Julia Yarbough, this gala event will showcase the best environment coverage aired, printed or posted in 2008. Winners in eleven categories will take home $20,000 — including, for the second time, the $10,000 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award. Sponsored by Animal Planet and Planet Green.
Room: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom

 

The Late Show: "Waterlife"

9:00 - 10:30 p.m.
A politician once said that Wisconsin is "awash in water." So, SEJ said, let's offer Wisconsin conference goers a free look at "Waterlife," a new film that looks at the threats to the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River. Award-winning director/writer Kevin McMahon and his production team have captured both beautiful and thought-provoking images that should provide you with a nice overview of the Great Lakes region, and introduce you to some of the topics we'll talk about later in the conference. So, after dinner and the SEJ awards, be sure to stick around for The Late Show.
Room: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom

 

Thursday, October 8

 

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, One West Dayton Street, Madison, Wisconsin.

Registration

6:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sign up for Beat Dinners and Mini-tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn't sign up ahead of time for the Thursday tours, Saturday evening party, or Sunday morning breakfast, there may still be room — please check with registration.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

SEJ Information Table

Sign up here for Beat Dinners and Mini-tours. Find information about membership and services, pick up copies of SEJournal, TipSheet, FOI WatchDog and other publications.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

Tours in the Field
 

Location: Staging and departure from Assembly Room, 1st floor of hotel, behind staircase. Look for SEJ signs! Be sure to board your bus before your departure time.

Advance registration is required for all Thursday tours. Departure times vary (see below), but all will return to the Concourse Hotel in Madison about 5:00 p.m. Please dress for outdoors and bring rain gear, a good pair of walking shoes and extra water. For those looking for some exercise, tours 5 and 7 are your best options. Tours 6 and 9 are best suited for wheelchair accessibility (contact SEJ for details) After the tours, exhibitors and independent receptions will be ready and waiting with hors d'oeuvres, drinks, good chat and press kits. Wander down the hallways and into the ballrooms to enjoy the festivities.

 

1. Ultralight Delivery: Crane Conservation on Our Fractured Landscape 

 (5:00 a.m. departure time, lunch included, $30 fee)
Whooping crane chick. Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Wake up with the birds to see one of North America’s most endangered species. We’ll head north to Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, home of the nine-year-old whooping crane reintroduction project. We’ll watch from an observation tower as this year’s flock of young whoopers flies behind an ultralight plane. We’ll meet the pilots after the morning’s training flight, and we’ll tour the 43,000-acre refuge in search of adult cranes. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the International Crane Foundation, which works to protect all of the world’s 15 crane species. We’ll take a behind-the-scenes tour of the isolation-rearing and crane-breeding facilities, and we’ll meet George Archibald, the foundation’s co-founder. Along the way, we’ll discuss why cranes inspire people, whether there’s enough space for them on our fractured landscape, and where the charismatic birds fit into the larger story of wildlife conservation. Driving time — 4 hours total.

Tour Leaders: 
Thomas Henry, Environmental Writer/Columnist, The (Toledo) Blade
Matt Mendenhall, Associate Editor, Birder's World
Speakers:  
George Archibald, Co-founder, International Crane Foundation
Joe Duff (and the pilots of Operation Migration), Co-founder, CEO, and Lead Pilot, Operation Migration
John French Jr., Research Manager, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Joan Garland, Education Outreach Coordinator, International Crane Foundation
Jim Hook, President, International Crane Foundation
Kelly McGuire, Flock Manager and Lead Aviculturalist, International Crane Foundation
Dan Peterson, Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Larry Wargowsky, Refuge Manager, Necedah National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Marianne Wellington, Aviculturist / Direct Autumn Release Project, International Crane Foundation
Sara Zimorski, Aviculturist / Tracking Team, International Crane Foundation
 

2. Future Energy Choices

(7:00 a.m. departure, lunch included, $30 fee)
Join us as we make several stops along Lake Michigan to delve into a variety of technologies being investigated to power the nation’s energy future. We’ll discuss prospects for building wind turbines in the Great Lakes and we’ll tour a nationally known carbon-capture demonstration project at a We Energies coal-fired power plant. The project is one of many R&D efforts trying to keep coal viable in a carbon-constrained world and it is the first to use ammonia to capture CO2 from coal-burning power plants. We’ll look at a methane-to-energy project built by a key national manufacturer, S.C. Johnson, which could serve as a model for other major corporations. And we’ll check out the HEV laboratory where Johnson Controls (whose headquarters is powered, in part, by 1,500 solar panels) is investing millions into developing next-generation batteries for hybrid electric vehicles, including a plug-in HEV announced this year by Ford Motor Co. Driving time — 5 hours total. NOTE: This tour is full.
Tour Leaders: 
Harvey Black, Freelance Writer
Tom Content, Energy Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Speakers:
Don Albinger, Corporate Vice President, Renewable Energy Solutions, Johnson Controls Power Solutions
Henry Courtright, Senior Vice President of Member and External Relations, Electric Power Research Institute
Pierre Gauthier, U.S. Country President, Alstom
Gale Klappa, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, We Energies and Wisconsin Energy Corporation
Clay Nesler, Vice President, Global Energy and Sustainability, Johnson Controls Power Solutions
Craig Rigby, Vice President, Global Product Engineering, Johnson Controls Power Solutions
Tom Watson, Vice President, Engineering and Strategic Planning, Johnson Controls Power Solutions
Mary Ann Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Johnson Controls-Saft
 

3. Cruising Lake Michigan

(7:15 a.m. departure, lunch included, $30 fee)
More than 300 miles long and 118 wide, Lake Michigan is a freshwater sea of stunning complexity and beauty. But serious ecological problems lurk beneath its surface, from invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels to toxic pollution and destruction of wetlands and wildlife habitat from coastal overdevelopment. Journey to Milwaukee for a cruise aboard the EPA research vessel Lake Guardian, where scientists will discuss the lake’s ecological challenges and demonstrate water, aquatic life and sediment sampling techniques. We’ll also tour the Great Lakes WATER Institute in Milwaukee, the largest academic freshwater research facility on the Great Lakes. Driving time — 3 hours total.
Tour Leaders:
John Flesher, Correspondent & Environmental Writer, The Associated Press
Michael Hawthorne, Environment Reporter, Chicago Tribune
Speakers:
Paul Bertram, Great Lakes Scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Harvey Bootsma, Associate Scientist, Great Lakes WATER Institute 
Tom Consi, Associate Scientist, Great Lakes WATER Institute 
Russell Cuhel, Senior Scientist, Great Lakes WATER Institute
Rick Goetz, Senior Scientist, Great Lakes WATER Institute
Paul Horvatin, Great Lakes Program Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Rebecca Klaper, Assistant Scientist, Great Lakes WATER Institute
Val Klump, Director, Great Lakes WATER Institute
Sandra McLellan, Associate Scientist, Great Lakes WATER Institute
Glenn Warren, Great Lakes Scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
 

4. Roiling the Waters

(7:30 a.m. departure, lunch included, $30 fee)
Water is the new oil, or so they say, and although Lake Michigan is part of the Great Lakes system that contains one-fifth of the planet’s fresh surface water, this is also a resource under siege from all the people living along its coasts. We’ll look at the low-tech solutions to non-point pollution that has closed beaches; we’ll delve underground to see the Deep Tunnel project, Milwaukee’s answer to sewage overflows which itself has spawned a lawsuit by angry city residents; and we’ll peek at how far we’ve come since the environmental movement really took root 40 years ago. Driving time — 3 hours total.
Tour Leaders:
Chris Bowman, Freelance Journalist
David Steinkraus, Health & Environment Reporter, The Journal Times
Speakers:
Rich Cieslak, Public Information, Discovery World
Dennis Donahue, GLERL Vessel Operations Manager, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bill Graffin, Public Information Manager, Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District
Jocelyn Hemming, Assistant Scientist, Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
Julie Kinzelman, Laboratory Director and Research Scientist, Racine Health Department
Trina McMahon, Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Cheryl Nenn, Interim Executive Director, Milwaukee Riverkeeper
Steve Pothoven, Fisheries Biologist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
 

5. Wetlands, Wildlife, and Wind

(8:30 a.m. departure, lunch and pontoon rental included, $40 fee)
Wetlands are nesting and breeding grounds for many species of birds and stopovers for others that migrate thousands of miles. Bring your binoculars to Horicon Marsh, one of Wisconsin’s top birding sites. Two-thirds of Horicon is a National Wildlife Refuge and the rest is a state wildlife area. We’ll take a pontoon boat ride to look for waterfowl and hear from speakers about wetland ecology and pressures on wildlife refuges, including budget cuts and encroaching development. Next door we’ll visit the 89-turbine Forward Wind Energy Center to learn about wind power impacts on wildlife. Driving time — 3.5 hours total.
Tour Leaders:
Steve Betchkal, Freelance Writer
Jennifer Weeks, Freelance Writer
Speakers:  
David Drake, Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eileen Kirsch, Research Wildlife Biologist, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Laura Miner, Asset Manager, Invenergy LLC
Erin Railsback, Visitor Services Specialist, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge
 

6. Feeding Cities: Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Justice

(9:00 a.m. departure, lunch included, $30 fee)
Food has become an environmental story. Research suggests locally produced food can reduce our carbon footprint. But how it’s produced may be just as important as the distance it travels to the plate. We’ll check out how fish and fresh vegetables are being raised at Growing Power, an urban farm in Milwaukee started by Will Allen, recent winner of a MacArthur genius grant. A sustainable lunch, fresh from Growing Power, may be served. Then we’ll see environmental justice in action in an inner city neighborhood that has turned to vegetable gardening to help fight obesity related health problems and the proliferation of fast food. Driving time — 3 hours total. NOTE: This tour is full.
Tour Leaders:
Diane Hawkins-Cox, Freelance Broadcast Journalist (former Senior Producer, Science and Technology Unit, CNN)
Karen Herzog, Food Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Speakers:
Sharon Adams, Co-founder, Walnut Way Conservation Corp
Will Allen, CEO and Founder, Growing Power
Marcia Caton Campbell, Milwaukee Program Director, Center for Resilient Cities
Calvin DeWitt, Professor of Environmental Studies, Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mai Phillips, Conservation and Environmental Science Program Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
 

7. Canoe the Wisconsin River

(9:30 a.m. departure, lunch and canoe rental included, $45 fee)
This year, 2009, marks the 20th anniversary of a unique and successful preservation effort that protects the undeveloped and undammed reaches of the Lower Wisconsin River between Prairie du Sac and the Mississippi River, 92 miles downstream. Flowing between shifting sandbars and wooded bluffs, the river’s broad floodplain is home to everything from numerous endangered species to mysterious mounds left behind by ancient cultures. Creation of the 80,000-acre Lower Wisconsin State Riverway by the state was an experiment in cooperative preservation involving landowners and state and local governments. A paddle down a scenic section of the river will introduce paddlers not only to the river’s rich natural treasures but also to its human history. This is gentle river paddling and should pose no problem even for novice paddlers. Driving time — 1.5 hours total.
Tour Leaders:
Mark Neuzil, Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of St. Thomas
Ron Seely, Science & Environment Reporter, Wisconsin State Journal
Speakers:
Representative Spencer Black, Wisconsin State Assembly and Chair, Assembly Natural Resources Committee
John Broihahn, Wisconsin State Archaeologist, Wisconsin Historical Society
Mark Cupp, Executive Director, Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
 

8. A Different Kind of CAFO

(10:00 a.m. departure, lunch included, $30 fee)
Dairy farming is as much about manure as it is milk. The average Holstein produces the same amount of waste as 18 humans. Large-scale confined animal feeding operations — CAFOs — can exacerbate the problem by their sheer size. The Crave Brothers dairy farm is a different kind of CAFO. With 950 cows, manure is processed through an anaerobic digester to produce methane to generate electricity. The farm keeps a greater share of its returns from the milk by making its own award-winning cheese in a 6,000-square-foot cheese factory. Lunch will be provided and include three types of Crave cheese: Farmers Rope, Petit Frere and fresh mozzarella on the salad. Cattle feed is home grown. Heifers graze in the fields. Once processed by the digester, the manure is used as an organic fertilizer and composted for bedding. As the scale of agriculture grows, so can environmental problems. The Crave Brothers farm, however, is a large-scale operation that strives to find a balance between economics and the environment. Driving time — 1.5 hours total.
Tour Leaders:
Joseph Andrews, Freelance Writer
Lee Bergquist, Environmental Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Speakers:
The Crave Brothers — Charles, George, Thomas and Mark, Managers, Crave Brothers farm
Tim Griswold, Director of Business Development, Wisconsin Dairy Business Association
Bruce Jones, Agriculture Economist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jamie Saul, Staff Attorney, Midwest Environmental Advocates
Gordon Stevenson, Chief of Runoff Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural
Resources
 
 
Bats fill the night sky just outside of Neda Mine, where wildlife ecology researcher Dave Redell is studying the bats and their migration behavior. The old iron-ore mine, north east of Madison and abandoned in 1914, was designated in 1996 as a hibernaculum, one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest.Photo © Jeff Miller/UW-Madison

9. CSI Madison: Wildlife Forensics

(1:00 p.m. departure, no lunch, but snacks and beverages will be included, $20 fee)
Who gets the call when thousands of sick and dying bats are discovered in the caves and mines where they hibernate? What is the connection between wild birds in Alaska and surveillance for highly pathogenic avian influenza? Where are scientists studying environmental solutions to Chronic Wasting Disease? The USGS National Wildlife Health Center is where the nation turns for research solutions to questions involving wildlife health and disease. From white-nose syndrome in bats, to avian flu, chronic wasting disease, or the emergence of the West Nile virus in unlikely species, NWHC researchers are the sentinels of wildlife disease. We’ll tour the high-security biological containment laboratories, watch a necropsy and talk with the scientists about wildlife, pathogens and tracking down emerging diseases. Driving time — 20 minutes total. NOTE: This tour is full.
Tour Leaders:
Beth Daley, Staff Reporter, Health/Science Department, The Boston Globe
Susanne Rust, Reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Speakers:
Tony Goldberg, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jeff Hall, Wildlife Virologist, National Wildlife Health Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Hon Ip, Wildlife Virologist, National Wildlife Health Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Carol Meteyer, Wildlife Pathologist, Disease Investigations, U.S. Geological Survey
Laurel Neme, Author, Animal Investigators
Tonie Rocke, Wildlife Epidemiologist, National Wildlife Health Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Kurt Sladky, Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Peter Vanderloo, Veterinarian and Associate Director, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Wisconsin-Madison 
 


Independent Hospitality Receptions and E-news & Education Gallery

 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.
After a day of adventure, wind down with old friends and new acquaintances as you stroll through the E-news & Education Gallery and talk with the various hosts of our Independent Hospitality Receptions throughout the ballroom level of the hotel. Festivities kick off immediately following your return from tours. (Lists of receptions and exhibitors will also be in your registration folder.)
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor
 

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Friday, October 9 

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, One West Dayton Street, Madison, Wisconsin.

As a journalism organization that believes in an open society, SEJ each year welcomes a diverse group of attendees to our annual conference. Attendees include representatives of business, government and environmental groups, as well as working journalists, academics and students.

Because non-journalists are here, you may see or hear presentations or responses to presentations that you might not expect from mainstream journalists. The presentations and any responses do not necessarily reflect the views of SEJ or any of its members.

As our guest, we would ask you to respect our interest in open discussions of environmental issues by thanking all participants in sessions you attend and not disrupting presentations of views you disagree with.

Finally, please respect our rule that SEJ members are given preference during question-and-answer sessions.

 

Registration

7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sign up for Beat Dinners and Mini-tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn't sign up ahead of time for the Saturday evening party or Sunday breakfast program, there may still be room — please check with registration.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

SEJ Information Table

Sign up here for Beat Dinners and Mini-tours. Find information about membership and services, pick up copies of SEJournal, TipSheet, FOI WatchDog and other publications.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

E-news & Education Gallery Literature Space

Come and browse through the E-News & Education Gallery and learn about new environmentally friendly innovations and educational opportunities from various groups in the environment and journalism industries. Browse through winners of SEJ's Awards for Reporting on the Environment and other member work in the Reading Room. You'll find a list of participants here and in your registration folder.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor
 

 

Continental Breakfast

7:00 - 8:45 a.m.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor
 

 

Breakfast Breakout Sessions

7:30 - 8:45 a.m.
Get up bright and early for continental breakfast and join your colleagues for panel discussions on a wide range of craft-related topics.
 
  1. Join Andy Revkin and friends for a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in trying to convey subtle global trends that matter hugely to environmental and social progress on a crowding planet but are a terrible fit for the conventional news process. These include climate change from a progressive buildup of long-lived gases and the loss of biodiversity (mostly in invisible nibbling), as well as "slow drips" such as avoidable mortality from a lack of sanitation and predictable "hard knocks" that are mainly covered after the fact. Coverage.
    Moderator: Andrew Revkin, Environment Reporter, The New York Times
    Speakers:
    Jonathan Lash, President, World Resources Institute
    Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Room: Capitol Ballroom A
  2. Environmental journalism has become a popular training focus in journalism schools around the country. But with the increasingly volatile nature of the business of journalism, instructors and professors face a growing challenge in predicting the characteristics of an environmental journalist's toolkit that will serve her or him well in the 21st century. This session is designed to emphasize interaction among participants. Please come prepared to share your strategies for 21st-century training.
    Moderator: Sharon Dunwoody, Evjue-Bascom Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Associate Dean for Social Studies in the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Room: Parlor 629, 6th Floor guest room area
  3. This breakout breakfast session will offer reporters and EPA press officers a chance for a candid exchange of views on issues of mutual interest. Can the Obama Administration improve on frustrating Bush-EPA press practices and provide timely release of information, especially during emergencies; free access to staffers, especially scientists; and responsive communication with all environmental reporters, including those beyond the Beltway? There will be a short panel discussion followed by a longer conversation driven by Q&A. Both EPA headquarters and regional press offices will be represented.
    Moderator: Joseph Davis, Freelance Journalist and WatchDog Project Director/TipSheet Editor, Society of Environmental Journalists
    Allyn Brooks-LaSure, EPA Deputy Associate Administrator for Public Affairs
    Phillippa Cannon, Media Relations Team Leader, EPA Region 5
    Mark MacIntyre, Senior Public Information Officer, EPA Region 10
    Room: Capitol Ballroom B

 

Opening Plenary — Countdown to Copenhagen

8:45 - 11:00 a.m.
This December’s gathering of world leaders and climate scientists in Copenhagen is expected to be the most important climate change conference since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol 12 years ago. What do you need to know about the United Nations Climate Change Conference as you prepare stories about greenhouse gases, cap and trade or flooding back home? Will the U.S. warm up to any agreement? What about China?
Vice President Al Gore will kick off this session with a keynote address laying out the science community’s claims and concerns, as well as what’s at stake in Copenhagen. Q&A with the audience will follow. A plenary session with the speakers below will convene immediately thereafter and respond to Mr. Gore’s call to action. Coverage.
Moderator: Andrew Revkin, Environment Reporter, The New York Times
Speakers:
Jane Lubchenco, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
James Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO, Duke Energy Corporation
Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Nancy Sutley, Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group
Room: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison Bookstore

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Visit our onsite bookstore, where you will find a variety of books for sale, published by SEJ members, invited speakers and University of Wisconsin professors.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

Beverage Break

11:00 - 11:15 a.m.
Location: TBA

Concurrent Sessions 1

11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
 
From the Equator to the Poles: Forests Under Siege
Fires burn them, insects are chomping them into sawdust, and in the Amazon, they’re being cut down to clear the way for biofuel plantations or just plain old beef cattle. The world’s forests are increasingly under siege and yet their importance to the planet may never have been so critical, whether it’s in sequestering carbon or protecting biodiversity.  This panel will bring you up to speed on all the science behind current global forestry issues, along with a survey of the major policy initiatives that are under way to protect forests, including the latest look at sustainable forestry practices and the push to include forest protection (the so-called REDD initiative) in the Copenhagen climate talks. Coverage.
Moderator: Nancy Bazilchuk, Science Writer and Editor
Speakers:
Doug Boucher, Director, Tropical Forest and Climate Initiative, Union of Concerned Scientists
Michael Dombeck, University of Wisconsin System Fellow and Professor of Global Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; and former Chief, U.S. Forest Service
John Pineau, Executive Director, Canadian Institute of Forestry
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
 
The Economics of Climate Change: Can We Afford To Respond? Can We Afford Not To?
The arguments pro and con won't get any easier as the debate on climate change moves from the physical science questions — the whether and why — to contentious public policy issues: Who pays? How much? For what benefits? Will it be cost-effective? Or just costly?  A leading economic voice on the issue and author of Can We Afford the Future? makes the case that society can, must, and eventually will find it smart to pay the bill. Coverage.
Moderator: Sunshine Menezes, Executive Director, Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting
Speakers:
Frank Ackerman, Professor of Economics, Tufts University
John Carey, Senior Correspondent, BusinessWeek
Kris McKinney, Manager of Environmental Strategy, WE Energies
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
 
Hitching a Ride: Aquatic Invasives and the Bad Ballast that Brought Them
Invasive species are biological pollution:  exotic fish, mussels, shrimp and other critters dumped into U.S. waters that can turn ecological systems upside down.  Species like the zebra mussel and Asian carp are costing big dollars, affecting tourism and replacing native species, and new exotics are on the way.  The discussion will include a mix of science and policy: where invaders come from, how researchers are studying them, state and federal proposals to prevent their arrival and spread, and the shipping industry’s perspective. Coverage.
Moderator: Tom Meersman, Environment and Natural Resources Reporter, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Speakers:
Richard Everett, Environmental Standards Division, U.S. Coast Guard
Marc Gagnon, Director, Government Affairs and Regulatory Compliance, Fednav Limited
Cindy Kolar, Assistant Program Coordinator, Invasive Species Program, U.S. Geological Survey
Phil Moy, Fisheries and Invasive Species Specialist, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute
Room: University Room A
 
Remember Roanoke: Mountaintop Removal, Coal Ash and Climate Change
In the year that’s passed since SEJ’s Virginia conference, the coal industry has continued to present many major environmental issues and challenges, and coal remains at the heart of the climate change debate. A panel of experts will discuss coal-ash impoundments, coal's role in the world's energy future, and whether the Obama administration is really cracking down on mountaintop removal mining. Speakers also include a West Virginia University researcher who has been trying to calculate coal's costs and benefits to Appalachia. Coverage.
Moderator: Don Hopey, Environment Reporter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Speakers:
Lisa Evans, Attorney, Earthjustice
Michael Hendryx, Research Director, Institute for Health Policy, West Virginia University
Jeff Holmstead, Environmental Strategies Group, Bracewell & Giuliani, and former Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Room: University Rooms C&D
 
Wolf Delisting and the ESA in a New Administration
You can get whiplash trying to follow the comings and goings of wolves on the Endangered Species List. Currently, wolves in the Great Lakes region are on the list, in spite of their high numbers. The western population is divided on political lines, with wolves in Montana and Idaho off the list, and Wyoming wolves still protected. Lawsuits are pending in both regions. The panel will discuss legal and biological aspects of this controversial issue. Coverage.
Moderator: Stephanie Hemphill, Reporter/Producer, Minnesota Public Radio
Speakers:
Robert Irvin, Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs, Defenders of Wildlife
David Radaich, Farmer/Rancher, northeastern Minnesota
Adrian Wydeven, Mammalian Ecologist and Conservation Biologist, Bureau of Endangered Resources, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Room: Senate Room A
 
6.8 Billion Reasons to Ask: Population, Pollution and Human Health
It probably goes without saying that we cannot effectively resolve environmental problems without addressing their root causes. However, while global warming, water shortages, the extinction crisis, and global toxification are in the news regularly, they are seldom tied to what scientists generally consider the root causes, that is, human population, lifestyles and consumption. Discussing overpopulation is generally considered taboo, and thus ignored in most mainstream media. Panelists will discuss why they believe this must change in quick order, so that society can actually begin addressing these root causes. Coverage.
Moderator: Peter Seidel, Author, 2045: A Story of Our Future
Speakers:
Paul Ehrlich, President, Center for Conservation Biology and Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University
William Ryerson, President, Population Media Center
Tim Wheeler, Reporter, The Baltimore Sun
Room: Senate Room B
 
Conservation Reserve Program Under Threat?
Biodiversity on millions of acres of farmland is at risk from the push to increase domestic production of biofuel, notably ethanol. The Conservation Reserve Program, as it is known, sets aside more than 30 million acres of fragile lands — an amount equivalent to the size of Iowa. Protecting this land has reduced erosion and resulted in cleaner waterways. Converting them from a monoculture to more wildlife-friendly habitat has improved biodiversity. Can the nation meet its goal of producing more fuel domestically and still protect wildlife, water and habitat? Why is this land under so much pressure and what options are available? Coverage.
Moderator: Nancy Gaarder, Weather/Climate Reporter, Omaha World-Herald
Speakers:
Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President, American Coalition for Ethanol
Paul Johnson, Farmer;  former Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; and former Director, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Scott McLeod, Government Affairs Representative for Agricultural Conservation and Biofuels Policy, Great Plains Regional Office, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
Room: Assembly Room
 
Quiz the Pollster: Energy and the Environment in the Public Eye
Recent polls of about 1,000 to 2,000 people each have counted that an increasing proportion of Americans do not view global warming as a problem (Gallup), think civilization didn’t cause it (Pew), think the media is exaggerating climate change (Gallup and Pew), and rank the climate last among eight environmental worries (Gallup). But wait: how should journalists cover poll results? In this panel, those who conducted some of the recent polls on climate and energy will explain their methods and results. And, the pollsters will allow themselves to be queried. Come and hear how these polls came to be, and whether the media is asking enough of the pollsters.
Moderator: Christine Woodside, Freelance Journalist
Speakers:
Alex Bratty, Vice President, Public Opinion Strategies
Chad Kniss, Project Director, Survey Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Mark Mellman, President and CEO, The Mellman Group
Room: Ovations 
 

Network Lunch

12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Choose a small-group discussion table on a wide range of timely topics and reporting tips, or join a small breakout session with lively newsmakers. The list of available table topics will also be in your registration folder.
Location: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom
 

Lunch Breakout Sessions

Concurrent with the small-group discussions, the following three breakout sessions are first-come, first-served. Lunches will be available in each breakout room. 

  1. What are the market forces transforming information into news in much of modern media? And what are the implications for coverage of climate change and other serious environmental issues? All the News That's Fit to Sell author James T. Hamilton goes into the economic forces revolutionizing news organizations and spells out the implications for both "legacy" and "new" media alike across the print-to-broadcast-to-digital spectrum. Coverage.
    Moderator: Bud Ward, Editor, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media
    Speakers:
    Roger Dower, President, Johnson Foundation
    Sharon Dunwoody, Evjue-Bascom Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Associate Dean for Social Studies in the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    James Hamilton, Professor of Political Science and Economics, Duke University
    Room: Capitol Ballroom A
  2. Humor helps us live and get on with the jobs of life. Whether it's a pun, the unexpected reverse or extreme exaggeration, telling the truth using humor puts everyone in touch with the best medicine. Laughter blows our minds and helps audiences remember lines from the story told. Grasping the severity of the situation and understanding it more fully is the result. Of course laughter speeds the read and makes audiences in all mediums give more of their attention to your news. With our dwindling oil supply, I say save oil — go naked. What could a story with that lede be about?
    Moderator: Debra Schwartz, Author, Writing Green
    Speaker:
    Thomas Henry, Environmental Writer/Columnist, The (Toledo) Blade
    Room: Parlor 629
  3. Journalists, educators and students, join us for lunch to find out what the SEJ Mentor Program is all about. Meet some of the mentors and "mentees" who have formed one-on-one partnerships designed to improve environmental journalism. Learn how to get the most from a mentoring relationship. SEJ mentors are veteran journalists who have agreed to field questions, help shape stories, and provide career advice via e-mail, phone, or in person. Mentees are journalists just starting out or expanding their skills to new media. The Mentor Program is primarily aimed at helping professional journalists but also accepts applications from college and graduate students who have demonstrated a serious interest in environmental journalism. Both current and prospective participants in the Mentor Program are welcome to attend.
    Moderator: Dawn Stover, Freelance Journalist
    Room: Parlor 638 

Small-group Discussions

Pick up your lunch in the Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom on the 2nd Floor of the hotel before taking your seat.

  1. Carbon Trading: Risky Business or Viable Opportunity to Cut Greenhouse Gases? Carolyn Whetzel, BNA; Mark Schapiro, Center for Investigative Reporting; Jennifer Weiss, Climate Action Reserve
  2. Prelude to Copenhagen: Final Report on International Polar Year Research. Nancy Bazilchuk, Freelance Journalist
  3. TV Weathercasters as Environmental Sources and Resources. Kris Wilson, University of Texas at Austin
  4. Citizen Scientists Track Climate Change. Catherine Cooney, Freelance Editor/Reporter; Jake Weltzin, USA-National Phenology Network; Abraham Miller-Rushing, The Wildlife Society
  5. What’s Killing So Many U.S. Bats? Beth Daley, The Boston Globe; Dave Blehert, U.S.  National Wildlife Health Center, U.S. Geological Survey
  6. Wetlands Ecology: The Mute Swan Debate. Christine Heinrichs, Author
  7. The Midlife Crisis of the Wilderness Act. Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Jerry Greenberg, The Wilderness Society
  8. The Top 5 Under-reported Stories Since the First Earth Day. Mark Larson, Humboldt State University; Tia Nelson, Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (and daughter of Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson)
  9. Ecotourism: Boon or Bane for Threatened Places? Wendy Redal, University of Colorado and Freelance Journalist
  10. Finding Common Ground: Labor, Outdoor Sporting Groups, and Environmental Organizations. Ron Seely, Wisconsin State Journal; George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation; Forrest Ceel, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers>
  11. Beyond the Smell: Farm Air Pollution. Tim Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun
  12. Networking and Resources for Doing Environmental Stories in Rural Areas. Al Cross, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
  13. Dead Zone Update: Are Solutions Possible? Bill Allen, University of Missouri
  14. Endocrine Disruptors: It’s What’s for Lunch. Francesca Lyman, Journalist and Author; Robert Moore, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Susanne Rust, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  15. Pollution Without Borders: Who Takes It On? Peter Gorrie, Toronto Star and Freelance Journalist
  16. Appropriate Environmental Technology for Developing Countries. Tyghe Trimble, Popular Mechanics

  17. Will Billions for High-speed Rail Pry People Out of Their Cars? Dee J. Hall, Wisconsin State Journal
  18. SEJ "Big Sky" 2010 — University of Montana, Missoula. Jim Bruggers, Conference Co-Chair, SEJ Board Member, and The (Louisville) Courier-Journal; Rita Munzenrider and Dan Pletcher, University of Montana
  19. SEJ 2011: Miami, Florida. Jeff Burnside, Conference Chair, SEJ Board Member, and WTVJ (Miami, FL); Sanjeev Chatterjee, Blyth Daylong, and Rose Mann, University of Miami
  20. SEJournal: Comments and Contributions. Adam Glenn, SEJournal Editorial Advisory Board Member
  21. The FAQs on SEJ's New Fund for Environmental Reporting. Christy George, President; Bill Kovarik, Rep. for Academic Membership; Rebecca Daugherty, Rep. for Associate Membership
  22. A Freelance Agenda for SEJ. Peter Fairley, SEJ Board Member and Freelance Journalist
  23. Do We Need a High Country News for the Midwest? Bill Berry, Freelance Journalist; Curt Meine, Aldo Leopold Foundation
  24. Climate Change: How Can U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serve Us? Dave Spratt, Greatnorthernoutdoors.net; Jason Holm and Chris Tollefson, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  25. How State Open-records Laws Can Be a Journalist’s Best Friend. Robert McClure, InvestigateWest; Robert Dreps, Godfrey & Kahn

 

Concurrent Sessions 2

2:15 - 3:30 p.m.
 
Come to Attention: Climate Change and National Security
“We are not your traditional environmentalists,” said General Gordon Sullivan, former U.S. Army chief of staff. Climate change is now a headline issue for the U.S. military and the world’s security community. But where are the threats? What is being done to mitigate them? And who is leading the charge? From local fights over diminishing water supplies to global diplomacy over carbon policy, climate change’s security connections offer pressing and timely stories for environmental reporters. Coverage.
Moderator: Lisa Friedman, Deputy Editor, ClimateWire
Speakers:
Geoffrey Dabelko, Director, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine
Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, U.S. Navy (Ret.), and Chairman and CEO of RemoteReality
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
 
Grading Green Jobs, Energy Independence and the Stimulus Package
We don't have to remind journalists that the economy fell off the table last fall. The Obama Administration and Congress responded with billions of dollars of help for many sectors, including energy and environmental projects. But is that spending creating much in the way of green jobs, or are problems plugging the pipeline? We'll hear from national and state leaders, and the private sector, about how this money that ties economic growth to environmental concerns is being received nationally and divvied out locally. Coverage.
Moderator: Steve Curwood, Host/Executive Producer, Living on Earth
Speakers:
Howard Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law and Policy Center
Dan Miller, Executive Vice President and Publisher, The Heartland Institute
Mark Wagner, Vice President for Government Relations, Johnson Controls
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
 
Great Lakes in Rehab: What Can a Few Billion Dollars Do?
The ecology of the Great Lakes established itself over tens of thousands of years. But that ecology has been turned upside down in the last century by creatures from the other side of the world, and by pollution from industries, farms, and cities. The problems are well documented.  Help from federal and state governments has ebbed and flowed. Now, there's a renewed promise of help from the federal government in the form of $5 billion over 5-years. The first installment has been approved, and the money will come to the region this fall. We'll discuss how the government plans to spend the money, and what this money can do for the overall health of the Great Lakes. Coverage.
Moderator: Mark Brush, Senior Producer, The Environment Report
Speakers:
Jeff Alexander, Author, Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, and Media Consultant, National Wildlife Federation
Cameron Davis, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jane Elder, President, Jane Elder Strategies, LLC, and Founder, Sierra Club's Great Lakes Program
Room: University Room A
 
Tales From the Oilpatch: From Canada to the Midwest
Rising oil prices and growing demand for easy and secure access to energy supplies have fuelled a journalistic boom in northeastern Alberta. But the extraction of naturally-occurring sand, clay, water and crude bitumen has proven so controversial that Canadians can’t even agree on a name to describe the resource. Some use the neutral term Oil Sands while others consider the more graphic Tar Sands to more accurately describe what many see as a resource that is increasingly vital to the world's oil reserves. So much so, in fact, that Canada has become the largest single exporter of oil and related products to the U.S. However, warnings about pollution, deforestation and accelerating signs of climate change have led to calls for a moratorium on any further expansion. Coverage.
Moderator: Peter Desbarats, Journalist and former Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, University of Western Ontario
Speakers:
Henry Henderson, Director of Midwest Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Tom Huffaker, Vice President, Policy and Environment, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Andrew Nikiforuk, Freelance Writer and Author, Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent
4th speaker TBA
Room: University Rooms C&D
 
Deadly Beetles and The Fab Four: Biological Helter Skelter
The highly destructive emerald ash borer is a poster boy for problems caused by invasive species in this globalized economy. The thumbnail-sized Asian pest has put 10 billion ash trees at risk, wreaking havoc on our economy while becoming our generation's greatest tree threat. Come hear how the four main species of ash trees are used for anything from wood flooring to baseball bats, how their losses could devastate us, and why they play a key role in providing shade, increasing property values, lowering electric bills, and reducing greenhouse gases. Learn about efforts to preserve the species from extinction, including the storage of ash seeds in a seed bank maintained at sub-zero temperatures, plus research that involves anything from creating beetle-resistant hybrids to traps that sexually lure the pests with pheromones. Our panel will get to the bottom of this biological butt-whippin', a train wreck taking years to unfold. Hard lessons from past generations will be examined, such as the need for more diverse planting. Coverage.
Moderator: Thomas Henry, Environmental Writer/Columnist, The (Toledo) Blade
Speakers:
Paul Chaloux, National Program Manager, Emerald Ash Borer Program, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dan Herms, Professor and Associate Chairperson, Department of Entomology, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University
Amy Stone, Emerald Ash Borer Outreach Team Coordinator, Ohio State University Extension
Room: Senate Room A
 
Green Chemistry, Nanotech and More: The Promise and Perils
Imagine if instead of trying to control hazardous chemical pollution after it has occurred and relying on safeguards that may not provide adequate protection from hazardous chemical exposures, we controlled chemical pollution by creating materials that are benign by design — that are non-toxic, resource efficient, and that work with rather than against natural systems? This is the goal of green chemistry. Panelists will discuss the latest science — including precedent-setting efforts in nanotechnology — education, and policy under way to promote green chemistry, how it will affect industry, jobs, the economy, our health, and what's at stake. Coverage.
Moderator: Elizabeth Grossman, Freelance Journalist
Speakers:
Paul Anastas, Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, Yale University (invited)
Amy Cannon, Executive Director, Beyond Benign
Tracey Easthope, Environmental Health Director, Ecology Center
Robert Israel, Vice President, Global Product Responsibility & Regulatory Affairs, JohnsonDiversey
Room: Senate Room B
 
Telling Environment Stories Better Especially Now That Times Are Worse
Telling complicated environment stories has become even tougher. As resources shrink and time pressures mount, standards are eroding and temptations to take short cuts are increasing. Just to pay the bills and survive, more journalists confront expectations to perform with the agility and versatility of acrobats. Frank Edward Allen will lead this session devoted to understanding the characteristics that make environment stories so difficult to conceptualize, organize and deliver with flair. He will share insights and techniques acquired during his long career at The Wall Street Journal, and since then as founding president of the Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources (IJNR). Frank will explain and illustrate the Giant Slalom, the Flash-By, the List of Nagging Questions, the Killer Quote, the Killer Statistic, Viewpoint Switching, the Parallel Universe, the Hourglass, the Champagne Glass, the Full Deck and the Hey-You-See-So-Ha! Coverage.
Presenter: Frank Allen, President and Executive Director, Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources
Room: Ovations
  

Beverage Break

3:30 - 3:45 p.m.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

Afternoon Plenary — Meet the New Bosses, (Not) the Same as the Old Bosses?

3:45 - 5:15 p.m.
The invites are out, and we’re confident we’ll land a Cabinet member or two, as well as a couple of Congressional Leaders. “Yes we can.” By October, there will no doubt be some changes in environmental policy, and the Obama Administration and new Congress will have a track record for us to examine. Coverage.
Moderator: David Brancaccio, Host and Senior Editor, NOW
Speakers:
Gina McCarthy, Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Nancy Sutley, Chair, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture
Room: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom
 
 

SEJ Membership Meeting

5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
With journalism facing current challenges, it’s vital that all members attend this annual meeting where your voice can be heard on issues that matter to you. What can SEJ do to help? Let us know! Candidates for the board will give brief statements before the polls open for the election. Cash bar and snacks provided.
Room: Capitol Ballroom
 
 

Beat Dinners

7:00 p.m. departures
Downtown Madison provides a wide variety of excellent culinary options, with all of the selected restaurants within walking distance. Dress code is casual. Pay for your own meal.

ADVANCE SIGN-UP REQUIRED! Sign up for the dinner of your choice at the SEJ Information Table. Sorry, no wait list.

Meet-up and Transportation: Please select your dinner group carefully. Notify your dinner leader immediately if you are unable to attend, and cross your name off the sign-up sheet. Meet your dinner leader in the Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom on the 2nd Floor of the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, One West Dayton Street, at 7:00 p.m. Reservations are for 7:30 p.m. All prices are for entrees only. Any side dishes, tax, tip, and drinks are separate. Some restaurants may not issue separate checks. Be prepared to keep track of the cost of your meal. Please tip your servers well. ENJOY!

Discussion Topics

  1. Q&A with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Sam Hamilton. Julia Yarbough, WTVJ (Miami, FL). Ovations (Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, One West Dayton Street), 608-294-3031. Contemporary American, $10-30. Max. group: 24
  2. Moving EJ Stories from Nonprofit Media to Mainstream. Marla Cone, Environmental Health News. Bellini (private room downstairs), 401 East Washington, 608-250-0097. Traditional Italian, $10-30. Max. group: 10
  3. Using Old Works Progress Administration (WPA) Guides to Find Fresh Local Stories. David Taylor, Author and TV producer. Brocach Irish Pub (upstairs), 7 West Main St., 608-255-2015. Irish/American, $10-20. Max. group: 6
  4. Freelancers-by-Chance, Meet Freelancers-by-Choice. Thomas Hayden, Stanford University and Freelance Journalist. Buraka African Restaurant (back room), 543 State St., 608-255-3646. Authentic African/Ethiopian food, $10-20. Max. group: 10
  5. Should Journalists Abandon Objectivity in Wired, Troubled Times? Stephen Ward, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Husnu’s Restaurant, 547 State St., 608-256-0900. Turkish/Italian, $8-15. Max. group: 8
  6. Sustainability and Social Media: Much A-tweet About Nothing? Emily Gertz, Freelance Journalist, Editor, and Content Strategy Consultant. Buraka African Restaurant, 543 State St., 608-255-3646. Authentic African/Ethiopian food, $10-20. Max. group: 6
  7. Burdens of Proof: Covering Environmental Crime in the Courts. Nadia White, University of Montana. Casa de Lara (back area), 341 State St., 608-251-7200. Mexican, $10-15. Max. group: 8
  8. Supercharging the Classroom and Our Students. Bob Wyss, University of Connecticut. Café Continental (private room), 108 King St., 608-251-4880. Mediterranean French, $15-35. Max. group: 12
  9. Green Charter Schools, Sustainable Colleges, and the Environment Beat. Ron Steffens, Green Mt. College; Senn Brown, Green Charter Schools Network. Casa de Lara (upstairs), 341 State St., 608-251-7200. Mexican, $10-15. Max. group: 6
  10. Can Instant-Gratification Humans Handle Long-Term Sustainability? Earon Davis, Independent Journalist and Educator. Brocach Irish Pub (upstairs), 7 West Main St., 608-255-2015. Irish/American, $10-20. Max. group: 6
  11. The Creature Beat — Reporting at the Intersection of Animals, Humans and Nature. Adam Glenn, Independent Journalist and Digital Media Consultant; Deborah Blum, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Chautara Restaurant (upstairs), 334 State St., 608-251-3626. Himalayan/Nepalese, $10-25. Max. group: 8
  12. Nuke McNuggets: A Top 10 Look at What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Nuclear Industry. Tom Henry, The (Toledo) Blade; Len Ackland, University of Colorado at Boulder. Gino’s Italian Restaurant (private room), 540 State St., 608-257-9022. Italian/Pizza, $8-20. Max. group: 8
  13. A Sea Change in Attitudes About Offshore Wind? David Biello, Scientific American; Simon Mahan, Oceana. Casa de Lara (upstairs), 341 State St., 608-251-7200. Mexican, $10-15. Max. group: 6
  14. Renegade Ways to Cover the Energy Independence Beat. Christine Woodside, Freelance Journalist. Casa de Lara (upstairs), 341 State St., 608-251-7200. Mexican, $10-15. Max. group: 6 15.
  15. Simple Indigenous Strategies for Coping with Worldwide Drought. James Workman, Author. Buraka African Restaurant, 543 State St., 608-255-3646. Authentic African/Ethiopian food, $10-20. Max. group: 6
  16. Restoring Trout Streams in the Upper Midwest. Chris Bowman, Freelance Environmental Writer. Brocach Irish Pub (upstairs), 7 West Main St., 608-255-2015. Irish/American, $10-20. Max. group: 6
  17. Separating Scientific Facts From Seemingly Cool Ideas. Roger Witherspoon, U.S. Black Engineer and Information Technology; Bill Freudenburg, University of California, Santa Barbara; Becky Lang, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gino’s Italian Restaurant (private room), 540 State St., 608-257-9022. Italian/Pizza, $8-20. Max. group: 10
 

 

Saturday, October 10

The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, One West Dayton Street, Madison, Wisconsin. Afternoon mini-tours in the field.

As a journalism organization that believes in an open society, SEJ each year welcomes a diverse group of attendees to our annual conference. Attendees include representatives of business, government and environmental groups, as well as working journalists, academics and students.

Because non-journalists are here, you may see or hear presentations or responses to presentations that you might not expect from mainstream journalists. The presentations and any responses do not necessarily reflect the views of SEJ or any of its members.

As our guest, we would ask you to respect our interest in open discussions of environmental issues by thanking all participants in sessions you attend and not disrupting presentations of views you disagree with.

Finally, please respect our rule that SEJ members are given preference during question-and-answer sessions.

 

Registration

7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Sign up for Mini-tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn't sign up ahead of time for the Saturday evening party or Sunday breakfast program, there may still be room — please check with registration.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

SEJ Information Table

Sign up here for Mini-tours. Find information about membership and services, pick up copies of SEJournal, TipSheet, FOI WatchDog and other publications.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor

 

E-news & Education Gallery Literature Space

Come and browse through the E-News & Education Gallery and learn about new environmentally friendly innovations and educational opportunities from various groups in the environment and journalism industries. Browse through winners of SEJ's Awards for Reporting on the Environment and other member work in the Reading Room. You'll find a list of participants here and in your registration folder.
Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor
 

 

Buffet Breakfast

7:00 a.m.
Grab a plate and find a seat before the start of the plenary session.
 

 

Morning Plenary — Non-profit News: A Sustainable Survival Strategy for Environmental Journalism?

7:30 - 8:45 a.m.
We get it. The news industry is in a crisis of creative destruction. Amid the chaos, many are looking to non-profit models to ensure the future of mass-audience, in-depth environmental journalism — and fair wages for those producing it. Are expectations too high? As special interests launch “news” operations of their own, what are the standards for non-profit news? Can exciting but small experiments be replicated or scaled up to fill the void created by the retreat of traditional media? We’ll hear from practitioners on the front lines of this epochal shift. Coverage.
Moderator: Dan Fagin, Associate Professor of Journalism and Director of the Science, Health and
Environmental Reporting Program, New York University
Speakers:  
Rob Davis, Environment Writer, Voice of San Diego
Abrahm Lustgarten, Energy Reporter, ProPublica
Nick Penniman, Executive Director, Huffington Post Investigative Fund
Melinda Wittstock, Founder and Executive Director, Capitol News Connection
Room: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom
 
 

Concurrent Sessions 3

9:00 - 10:15 a.m.
 
Climate Change, Human Health and Environmental Justice
In a lot of ways that haven’t been covered much yet — or even researched adequately — climate change promises to wreak havoc with human health. Already researchers are detecting increased rates of death from excess heat. And have a peek at the little-explored territory of how excess carbon dioxide is threatening food supplies and driving increases of plants that make people miserable — stuff the public has yet to grapple with. Also hear how these effects are hitting communities of color hardest here in the United States, and poor people generally around the world. When the permafrost melts, and you’re a native Alaskan, your whole world changes. Coverage.
Moderator: Robert McClure, InvestigateWest
Speakers:
Leslie Fields, National Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Director,  Sierra Club
Jonathan Patz, Professor and Director of Global Environmental Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Lewis Ziska, Plant Physiologist, Agricultural Research, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
 
Big Think: Energy Policy in a New Economy
As America moves into a new economy, how can energy policy revitalize the United States and set the world on a new, greener path? What role do energy efficiency and the technologies for renewable resources have in decreasing our dependency on fossil fuel? Will alternative energy development ever thrive when oil prices are so volatile and there is no price floor? This panel will look into the future of technology and energy supply, and discuss what it means for business. From oil and coal to natural gas and nuclear power, we’ll explore the technologies and policies on the horizon and what needs to happen for sustainable, long term solutions. Coverage.
Moderator: Lisa Palmer, Freelance Writer and Contributor, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media
Speakers:
Brian Czech, President, Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy
Katherine Hamilton, President, GridWise Alliance
Abrahm Lustgarten, Energy Reporter, ProPublica
James Rogers, Chairman, President and CEO, Duke Energy Corporation
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
 
Clean Water Act: Still Violated After All These Years
When Congress passed what became known as the Clean Water Act in 1972, its optimistic goal was to eliminate the discharge of pollutants into the nation's waterways by 1985. Although there has been some progress, the law's good intentions have been repeatedly thwarted by problems with enforcing it. Thousands of facilities continue to dump more pollution than their permits allow, and states continue to drag their feet on setting limits on non-point source problems with nutrients. Particularly troublesome has been Section 404 of the act, which is supposed to protect wetlands. Political pressure and muddled court rulings have made federal agencies reluctant to say no to permits, despite reports from the GAO highlighting their shortcomings. Now there's a move in Congress to fix the problem by passing an update to the act, but it's stirring concern among property-rights advocates. What will it take to change the status quo — another fire on the Cuyahoga River? Coverage.
Moderator: Craig Pittman, Reporter, St. Petersburg Times
Speakers:
Michael Cain, Attorney, Surface Water, Dam Safety and Wetland Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Charles Duhigg, Staff Writer, New York Times
Jeremy Korzenik, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice
Joy Zedler, Professor of Botany and Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
4th speaker TBA
Room: University Room A
 
Ethanol: Greenhouse Gas Reducer or Contributor?
This two-person panel will feature a lively debate about ethanol and its role in the battle against climate change. Nathanael Greene, renewable energy policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Geoff Cooper, vice president of research for the Renewable Fuels Association, will look at the merits of calculating indirect land use effects as it relates to ethanol's carbon footprint, whether biofuels have a role in the fight against greenhouse gases, and about where the biofuels industry has been and where it is going. Coverage.
Moderator: Todd Neeley, Biofuels Reporter, DTN
Speakers:
Geoff Cooper, Vice President of Research, Renewable Fuels Association
Nathanael Greene, Renewable Energy Policy Director, Natural Resources Defense Council
Room: University Rooms C&D
 
Bambi’s Insatiable Appetite: Can a Forest Lie?
The white-tailed deer is a charismatic native herbivore valued by wildlife watchers and hunters. From a low of about 500,000 animals in the early 1900s, the population of white-tailed deer in the U.S. has rebounded dramatically in recent decades to over 20 million in the early 2000s. Many biologists expect the species, adept at surviving on the edges of suburbia and in remote wilderness, to continue to increase in number. In addition to concerns over crop damage, car/deer collisions and Lyme Disease, high deer numbers have been shown to alter forest ecology, effectively preventing regeneration of some plants. Though the U.S. Forest Service has declared deer overabundance a major threat to forest health, much of the public is unaware of the effects deer have on forests and others oppose aggressive strategies to reduce deer numbers. Coverage.
Moderator: Paul Smith, Outdoors Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Speakers:
Jason Fleener, Assistant Big Game Ecologist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Tony Grabski, Hunter and Landowner from Blue Mounds, Wisconsin
Don Waller, Professor of Botany and Environmental Studies, Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Room: Senate Room A
 
A Capitol Idea, Squared: Madison’s Local-food Movement and Beyond
Madison is a community at the heart of the local-food movement, as evidenced by the bustling farmer’s market we'll be visiting right outside the conference center over the course of this two-part session. First we will engage with panelists who are deeply involved with this movement and have a conversation around how we might rethink ways we produce and distribute our food to better support human health, our communities and the environment. We will explore policy initiatives, hands-in-the-dirt grassroots activities, and national branding models that all share the goal of fixing our troubled food system one bite at a time. Coverage.
Moderator: Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine
Speakers:
Margaret Krome, Policy Program Director, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Jerry McGeorge, Director of Cooperative Affairs, Organic Valley Family of Farms
Claire Strader, Urban Farmer and Educator, Troy Community Farm
Room: Assembly Room
 
Green PR in the Blogosphere: How PR Practitioners Are End-Running Professional Journalists and How We Should Respond
Sure, journalists still get a lot of news releases and announcements. But increasingly, public relations professionals are focusing their attentions less on the media and more on communicating directly with the public through blogs, on-line videos and other Internet-based campaigns. Is this good or bad — or both? How should professional journalists respond? We explore these questions with a panel of experts that includes a famed PR watcher plus a pair of seasoned PR practitioners. Coverage.
Moderator: Emilia Askari, Freelance Journalist
Speakers:
Kara Allison, Government and Community Relations Practice Leader, Hull & Associates, Inc.
Diane Farsetta, Senior Researcher, Center for Media and Democracy
Frank Walter, Senior Vice President, Environics Communications
Room: Ovations
 
 

Beverage Break

10:15 - 10:45 a.m. 
 Location: Ballroom Level, 2nd Floor
 

Concurrent Sessions 4

10:45 a.m. - noon
 
Taking Some Temperatures: What Will Climate Change Mean for the Great Lakes?
Many studies have predicted climate change will wallop the Great Lakes — causing fierce storms, deteriorating water quality and a big drop in water levels. Not everyone agrees. We'll hear from top experts from the U.S. and Canada on where the science stands and also from a key activist on what should be done to address it. Coverage.
Moderator: Catherine Porter, Environment Reporter, Toronto Star
Speakers:
James Bruce, Co-chair, Public Interest Advisory Group, International Upper Great Lakes Study, International Joint Commission and former Deputy Secretary-General, World Meteorological Organization
Emily Green, Great Lakes Program Director, Sierra Club
Brent Lofgren, Physical Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
John Magnuson, Professor Emeritus of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Room: Capitol Ballroom A
 
Water Supplies, Diversion and The Great Lakes Compact
Wisconsin was not the first state to approve the Great Lakes Compact but it was one of the few to grapple seriously with implementing legislation; how it would be applied in the state and how the state’s water resources would be affected. One of the state’s communities — New Berlin — was the first to receive water from a great lake under the compact’s straddling community rule, and another — Waukesha — has become the poster child of sorts for the issue of diversion to a community completely outside the natural basin of the lakes. Two of the panelists — Dale Shaver and Peter McAvoy — helped create the implementing legislation and the third — Todd Ambs — is the state’s administrator on water resource issues and intimately involved with the diversion request issues. Coverage.
Moderator: Ernst-Ulrich Franzen, Associate Editorial Page Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Speakers:
Todd Ambs, Water Division Administrator, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Peter McAvoy, Vice President, Department of Environmental Health, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center
Dale Shaver, Director, Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use
Room: University Room A
 
Getting Green Power to the People: Transmission Lines and the Environment
One of the thorniest issues surrounding renewable energy projects is that they are often proposed far away from people that will use them. Fights are brewing over who should pay for the expensive lines, where they
should go and how much energy they will bring from coal-fired power plants. Understand the debate and learn about President Obama's aspirations for an upgrade of the nation's antiquated electric system into a smart grid that will save energy, reduce costs and increase reliability. Coverage.
Moderator: Beth Daley, Staff Reporter, Health/Science Department, The Boston Globe
Speakers:
Charlie Higley, Executive Director, Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin
Katie Nekola, Energy Program Director, Clean Wisconsin
Nina Plaushin, Director of Federal and Legislative Affairs, ITC Holdings Corporation
Room: University Rooms C&D
 
Fishing for Clean Fish and Hunting for Safe Treaty Resources
Many Native Americans have treaty rights that protect their ability to fish, hunt and harvest timber.  In recent years, some tribes have become more active in their efforts to protect the water, air and land, because, they say, they want to make sure the treaty rights mean something.  The tribes have won more  pollution control authority, have developed resource protection programs, and even hit the airwaves with ads that warn about global warming. On this panel, tribal representatives and natural resource scientists will discuss their attempts  to clean the Earth by forcing a clean-up agenda. Coverage.
Moderator: Brian Bull, Assistant News Director, Wisconsin Public Radio
Speakers:
Jeffrey Crawford, Attorney General, Forest County Potawatomi Community
Paul Demain, Managing Editor, News from Indian Country
Charlie Rasmussen, Writer-Photographer-Historian, Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission
Fran Van Zile, Sokaogon Chippewa Tribe, Midwest Treaty Rights Network
Room: Senate Room A
 
Measure It Again: Air Pollution and the EPA Toxics Program
Ozone, fine particles and other "criteria" air pollutants get all the attention. But some news organizations have been investigating what the Clean Air Act calls "hazardous air pollutants," the 188 toxic chemicals for which there are no ambient air standards. Learn the basics of "toxic air,"  how USA TODAY sorted through an EPA database to find elevated health risks at the nation's schools, how EPA responded, and get tips for covering environmental risk. Coverage.
Moderator: Jim Bruggers, Environmental Reporter, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal
Speakers:
Sharon Dunwoody, Evjue-Bascom Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Associate Dean for Social Studies in the Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Linda Mathews, Senior Enterprise Editor, USA TODAY
James Pew, Staff Attorney, Earthjustice
Richard Wayland, Director, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Room: Senate Room B
 
Climate Change and Agriculture: How Are We Going To Feed a Growing Population on a Hotter Planet?
More than a billion people worldwide already don't get enough to eat. A growing global population and a changing climate stand to make matters worse. With global warming, Africa, Mexico and India could see agricultural production losses of well over 20 percent by some estimates. This means farmers in the United States will have to produce more food in some way. How will higher temperatures and carbon dioxide levels affect their ability to do that? What can be done to adapt to the climate change that scientists say is inevitable no matter what's done now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? How can farmers produce more food without destroying more forests globally? Coverage.
Moderator: Philip Brasher, Agriculture Reporter, The Des Moines Register
Speakers:
Jerry Hatfield, Scientist, National Soil Tilth Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Bill Hohenstein, Director, Global Change Program, U.S. Department of Agriculture
David Miller, Farmer and Director of Research and Commodity Services, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Claudia Ringler, Economist, International Food Policy Research Institute
Room: Assembly Room
 
Freelance Pitch Slam
Writers read prepared pitches in 60 seconds to a panel of editors. Editors then critique the queries — explaining why the pitch would or would not work in their publications — and offer tips for improving the pitch. Editors reveal which sections of the magazine are open to freelancers and which sections are generally off limits. While editors are not prepared to make assignments on the spot, some of last year's pitches led to published stories. We encourage writers to craft their pitches in advance, with as much care as an actual e-mail query. Note: This session will not be recorded by SEJ for posting on the internet.
Moderator: Bijal Trivedi, Freelance Science Journalist and Adjunct Professor, Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, New York University
Speakers:
Jennifer Barone, DISCOVER
David Biello, Associate Editor, Environment & Energy, Scientific American
John Mecklin, Editor-in-Chief, Miller-McCune and Miller-McCune.com
Bob Sipchen, Editor-in-Chief, Sierra
Tyghe Trimble, Online Editor, PopularMechanics.com
Room: Capitol Ballroom B
 
 

Lunch and Plenary — Water: The 21st Century's Most Valuable Resource?

Noon - 1:45 p.m.
More than a billion people lack access to clean drinking water today. Two million die annually from unhealthy water conditions. According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the global population will suffer at least intermittent water shortages by the year 2025. Oil may have been the defining natural resource of the 20th Century, but we are in a new century now, and many consider it to be the Century of Water. So here in the water-rich Great Lakes region, home to one-fifth of all the fresh surface water on Earth, SEJ is pulling together some of the greatest water minds around to put these issues into a broader context and help us better understand the water challenges that lie ahead. Coverage.
Moderator: Peter Annin, Associate Director, Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources and Author, The Great Lakes Water Wars
Speakers:
Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, The Council of Canadians; Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the United Nations General Assembly; and Founder, Blue Planet Project
Mary Ann Dickinson, Executive Director, Alliance for Water Efficiency
Bob Hidell, Chairman, Hidell-Eyster International
Room: Madison/Wisconsin Ballroom
 
 

Mini-Tour Adventures

2:15 - 5:30 p.m.
Sign up on-site for the tour of your choice near the SEJ Information table beginning Wednesday afternoon.
 
Please note: Tours 1, 2, 3 and 4 will proceed directly to the Saturday evening party at the Leopold Center, i.e., you must be registered for the evening party in order to attend these tours. Tours 5, 6 and 7 will stop at the Concourse Hotel after the tour and en route to the Leopold Center.
 
Location: Staging and departure from Assembly Room, 1st floor of hotel, behind grand staircase. Look for SEJ signs!
 

Please be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and remember to bring drinking water

.
 
  1. Green Buildings Worthy of God?
    The Unitarian Meeting House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, along with a LEED-Gold addition to this National Landmark, are a stop on the road to the ecological-design equivalent of Parnassus, billed as “the greenest building in North America.” The LEED-Platinum-certified Aldo Leopold Center was erected as a pinnacle of green building knowledge in tribute to the father of the Land Ethic, and to the main challenge to which Leopold devoted his life, as he wrote, “the oldest task in human history: To live on a piece of land without spoiling it.”
    Tour Leaders: Francesca Lyman, Freelance Journalist; Susan Lampert Smith, Science Writer, University of Wisconsin Health
    Speakers: Shirley Inhorn, Friends Meeting House Tour Coordinator; Betsy Liotus, Director, Communications and Marketing, Benedictine Women of Madison at Holy Wisdom Monastery; Gregg Tucek, Project Manager, Oscar J. Boldt Construction, Aldo Leopold Center; Michael Utzinger, Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Wisconsin, and design team consultant, Aldo Leopold Legacy Center and Friends Unitarian Meeting House addition

     

  2. Military and the Environment: Badger Ammo Depot
    From prairie to propellants and back… A vast and once-beautiful prairie is being restored to some of its former glory. The Army is cleaning up a 7,348-acre site used to manufacture explosives during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts — for use by the public, the Ho-Chunk Nation and an agricultural research agency. The clean up at the Badger Army Ammo facility has made considerable progress, but neighbors continue to worry about possible contamination of their water supplies. Military sites across the country face similar clean-up issues and controversies with nearby residents.
    Tour Leaders: Tom Meersman, Environment and Natural Resources Reporter, Minneapolis Star Tribune; Anita Weier, Freelance Reporter, former Environment Reporter, The Capital Times, Madison
    Speakers: Craig Karr, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources representative at Badger, coordinating planning and future land use; Joan Kenney, Environmental Coordinator, Badger Army Ammunition Plant; Laura Olah, Executive Director, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger; Randy Poelma of the Ho-Chunk Nation

     

  3. Baraboo River and Dam Removal
    One of the longest rivers restored through dam removal, the Baraboo River now flows freely for more than 100 miles from its headwaters to its confluence with the Wisconsin River. We will stroll the waterfront in the picturesque city of Baraboo, visiting the sites of two former dams to learn about the economic, environmental and recreational benefits of removing these and several other dams. The restored river is attractive not only to the city but also to aquatic life including walleye and sturgeon.
    Tour leaders: Ron Seely, Science & Environment Reporter, Wisconsin State Journal; Dawn Stover, Freelance Writer/Editor
    Speakers: Denny Caneff, Executive Director, River Alliance of Wisconsin; Emily Stanley, Associate Professor, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Joe Van Berkel, County Conservationist, Sauk County

     

  4. Black Earth Creek Restoration and Monster Trout
    Black Earth Creek, one of the Midwest's most prized trout streams, has seen its share of struggles in the last decade. We'll join local officials and advocates who have worked closely on the creek's restoration and protection as they highlight recent projects; the impact development, flooding and manure runoff have had on the stream; and what local environmental agencies and organizations are doing to monitor water quality and restore the habitat. The tour also will note areas of special geological interest as well as early human history of the area.
    Tour leaders: Chris Bowman, Freelance Writer; Gena Kittner, Suburban Reporter, Wisconsin State Journal
    Speakers: Barbara Borns, past President, Black Earth Creek Watershed Association; Patrick Sutter, Dane County conservationist; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources representative TBA

     

  5. Limnology Center and Research Boat
    Ringed by the city, Lake Mendota exemplifies the problems seen in lakes around the world. Cruise aboard the research vessel Limnos and walk along the edge of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve with scientists from the Center for Limnology and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and learn about thick blooms of toxic bacteria from nearby farms, invasive species introduced by boaters and anglers, and observable effects from climate change. Limnology, the study of freshwaters, originated in Madison, and Lake Mendota is among the world’s most studied lakes. In the event of rain or heavy wind, participants will meet indoors at the Hasler Laboratory. Otherwise, prepare for outdoor activity on open boats, piers and trails.
    Tour Leaders: Saul Chernos, Freelance Journalist; Elizabeth Koerner, Producer, Wisconsin Public Television
    Speakers: Steve Carpenter, Director, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin; Dave Harring, Boat Pilot and Instrument Maker, Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin; Jim Kitchell, Professor of Zoology, University of Wisconsin

     

  6. Biofuels, Ants and Virent Energy Systems
    Learn about the plant-based fuels of the future at the Department of Energy’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). There, scientists and engineers will introduce us to the environmentally sustainable technologies they are developing to convert everything from sunlight, cornstalks, wood chips, and perennial native grasses into energy sources for cars and electrical power plants. Researchers’ interests range from biomass processing to bioprospecting (e.g., discovering new bacteria, yeasts, and enzymes that will improve biofuel production — including harnessing the cellulose-breakdown capabilities of communities of leaf-cutting ants that feed and groom fungus). Representatives from Madison-based Virent Technology will also be on hand to discuss their new technology for producing biofuels that are nearly identical to conventional gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Virent is collaborating with Royal Dutch Shell to open a 10,000-gallon-a-year pilot facility later this year.
    Tour Leaders: Kellyn Betts, Writer, Environment, Science & Technology; Corliss Karasov, Freelance Journalist
    Speakers: Tim Donohue, Scientific Director, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and Bacteriology Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Wes Marner, Chemical Engineer and GLBRC Project Director; Garret Suen, Postdoc in Bacteriology

     

  7. Biking and Urban Green Space
    Note: $18/person bike fee payable at bike rental site. Please try to have exact payment.
    Madison is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the Midwest, so why not see some of what makes it so bikeable? We'll meet near downtown on the shore of Lake Monona, and follow the Isthmus Path through the East Side of town. We'll see what's become of the former rail line, including: a former rail yard destined to become a city park, community gardens where trains used to roll, a former iron works-turned-community center, and a vacant fertilizer plant destined to become a residential neighborhood. We'll also hear about Madison's effort to achieve Platinum Status through the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Communities Program.
    Tour Leaders: Diane Hawkins-Cox, Freelance Broadcast Journalist, and former Senior Producer, Science and Technology Unit, CNN; Michael Leland, News Director, Wisconsin Public Radio
    Speaker: Mark Clear, Madison Alderman and Platinum Biking City Planning Committee Member

 

Saturday Night Party at the Leopold Center

Aldo Leopold Legacy Center, Baraboo, Wisconsin

5:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Pre-registration and $35 fee required.

Mini-tour buses will take many attendees to the evening party – see above for details. Departure location for those not attending mini-tours: Exit door to street, outside Assembly Room, 1st floor of hotel behind grand staircase. Look for SEJ directional signs!
 
Saturday evening attendees who didn’t register for a mini-tour can pick up a bus at the departure location above between 4:30 – 5:00 p.m. for transportation to the Leopold Center. Buses will return to the hotel beginning about 10:00 p.m. We encourage everyone to take the bus to this event, because it’s an hour’s drive, way out in the country and they don’t have a large parking lot .
© Legacy Center photo by Mark Heffron of the Heffron Group.

If you’re an Aldo Leopold fan, you can’t miss this pilgrimage. And, if you don’t know who he is, then you must come and learn. Leopold's "Shack," located near the Center, is arguably one of the top environmental icons in the world, the place where Leopold conceived his land ethic and ideas for A Sand County Almanac. With the sounds of swirling geese and trilling cranes on the Wisconsin River as backdrop, the setting is soothing and sobering. If that’s not enough, then perhaps you’ll be enticed by the brand new, yet rustic, Leopold Legacy Center, the top LEED-certified building in the entire U.S. Imagine wining and dining under beautiful wooden beams milled from the very trees that Leopold and his children planted decades ago on nearly the same spot. Still not enough? Well, then, the kicker: We’ll have a “slowfood” extravaganza with some of the best beer, wine and organic fare that Wisconsin has to offer, followed by bluegrass music, bonfires, dancing and lots of downhome banter in the heart of "Sand County."
Principal Sponsor: The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread. Special thanks to the Organic Valley Family of Farms cooperative and Lakefront Brewery for their in-kind support of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for this event, and to The Leopold Foundation for hosting this evening reception.

 

Sunday, October 11

University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, 1207 Seminole Highway, Madison, Wisconsin.

Location: Staging and departure from Assembly Room, 1st floor of hotel, behind grand staircase. Look for SEJ signs!

Buses will depart the Madison Concourse Hotel at 7:30 a.m. and return to the hotel before 1:00 p.m. Please make travel plans accordingly.

Breakfast, Leopold and Arboretum Tours

Full breakfast is included. Pre-registration and $25 fee required.
Situated on 1,260 acres in the heart of Madison and bordering Lake Wingra, the UW-Madison Arboretum is home to one of the world’s best collections of restored landscapes. Founded in 1934 by Aldo Leopold and other pioneering conservationists, the Arboretum was established to re-create historic landscapes, particularly those that predated large-scale human settlement. The Arboretum includes the 60-acre Curtis Prairie (the world’s oldest restored prairie), oak savannas, deciduous and conifer forests, and wetlands. This living laboratory faces many of the pressures — invasive species, storm water runoff, competing recreational uses — endured by any natural landscape.
 
 
8:00 - 9:15 a.m.
Though the restoration of wild landscapes seems almost commonplace now, there was a time when the thought of bringing back a lost ecosystem was strange and new. Now, restoration ecology is a discipline with its own body of science and knowledge. That discipline had its birth in the University of Wisconsin Arboretum where the first restoration of a prairie took place in the 1930s under the watchful eyes of wildlife ecologist Aldo Leopold and botanist John Curtis.  Join us this morning for a hearty Midwestern breakfast and a panel presentation on the history and research of the Arboretum, all just a few yards from that first, historic plot of restored prairie. Coverage.
Moderator: Chuck Quirmbach, Environmental Reporter, Wisconsin Public Radio
Frank Court, Emeritus Professor of History, Northern Illinois University, and Arboretum Historian
Kevin McSweeney, Professor of Soil Science, and Director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum
Bret Shaw, Assistant Professor of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Environmental Communication Specialist, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension
 
 
“The Shack,” where Aldo Leopold conceived his land ethic and ideas for A Sand County Almanac. Photo © Leopold Legacy Center.
9:15 - 10:30 a.m.              
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. His classic book has inspired three generations of land conservationists, environmentalists, writers, scientists, policy-makers, and other readers. Yet, as interest in other dimensions of Leopold’s life, work, and ideas has grown, his influence has expanded in new directions. How has Leopold’s legacy evolved over the decades? Where can we see it growing now and into the future?   We will explore these questions with three notable guests whose own work has directly drawn upon and extended Leopold’s commitment to an American land ethic. Coverage.
Moderator: Curt Meine, Director for Conservation Biology and History, Center for Humans and Nature and Senior Fellow, Aldo Leopold Foundation
Speakers:
Wendell Berry, Author and Farmer
Michael Dombeck, University of Wisconsin System Fellow and Professor of Global Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; and former Chief, U.S. Forest Service
Nina Leopold Bradley, Founder and Director, Aldo Leopold Foundation 
 
 
Beverage Break
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.
 
 
Arboretum and Prairie Restoration Tours
10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Following the morning's panel discussions, attendees can choose to join one of two tours that will allow them to stretch their legs and give them a deeper appreciation for the Arboretum's rich history and its central role in restoration and landscape ecology.
 
Tour one will highlight the world's oldest restored prairie, which should be resplendent in its colorful, fall dress. Curtis Prairie occupies 60 acres near the Arboretum Visitor Center. The tour will introduce historic research as well as contemporary studies looking at such thorny problems as invasive species.
Tour leaders:
David Liebl, Specialist in Stormwater Management and Faculty Associate, Department of Engineering Professional Development, College of Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Joy Zedler, Professor of Botany and Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Paul Zedler, Senior Scientist, UW Arboretum and Professor of Environmental Studies, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
Tour two will introduce visitors to the Arboretum's striking Wisconsin native plant garden, a 4-acre jewel that houses a collection of nearly 500 native Wisconsin plants and serves as an introduction to ecological restoration. The tour will also provide a closer look at a collaboration between the Arboretum and the Xerces Society on managing for pollinators as well as the first look at a new interactive map of the Arboretum and its gardens.
Tour leaders:
Susan Carpenter, Wisconsin Native Plant Gardener, UW Arboretum, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eric Mader, National Pollinator Outreach Coordinator, Xerces Society
 
 

SEJ's 19th Annual Conference officially ends. But you may want to visit The Other Side...

 

Post-Conference Tour: The Other Side of Wisconsin

As SEJ’s Annual Conference winds down and hundreds of people are catching cabs to the airport, a small group will be boarding a bus to the wilds of northern Wisconsin. The Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources, widely considered the premier organizer of expedition-style journalism fellowships in North America, has agreed to conduct SEJ’s Post-Conference Tour, October 11-14, 2009. The Lake Country Institute will focus on several newsworthy destinations in the state's forested lake country, just as fall colors should be at or near their peak. Leading the program will be IJNR president Frank Allen and Peter Annin, IJNR’s associate director, who is also a co-chair of SEJ’s 2009 Annual Conference. In a break from SEJ tradition, this year’s tour was offered as a competitive fellowship program instead of on a basis of first-come, first-served.  Journalists who are SEJ members in good standing and who are registered to attend the 2009 SEJ conference in Madison were eligible to submit an application to IJNR. In an unprecedented arrangement, IJNR covered all travel, lodging and meal costs for those journalists who are selected to participate in this year’s post-conference tour. A description of the fellowship program, including detailed application procedures and contact information, can be found here. Special thanks to the Institutes of Journalism and Natural Resources, Frank Allen, President, and The Joyce Foundation for organizing and supporting this year's post conference tour.

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