SEJ's 23rd Annual Conference Agenda — Friday and Saturday




NOTE: The Friday/Saturday agenda is a draft only. All information is subject to change.






Agenda Registration Lodging/Travel Advertise Environmental News About Chattanooga


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, you should 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.

All sessions, as well as registration, exhibits and breaks, will be at the Chattanooga Convention Center,
1150 Carter Street, Chattanooga (423-756-0001), unless otherwise indicated.


Friday, October 4, 2013


Sign up for Mini-Tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn’t sign up ahead of time for the Friday dinner and tour, or Sunday morning breakfast, there may still be room — please check with registration.

Location: TBA


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: TBA


Exhibitor Displays

Browse through the wealth of information offered by our independent exhibitors. Talk with experts about their hopes for new environmentally friendly innovations. Learn about educational opportunities. Add to your list of sources.

Location: TBA


Breakfast of Alternative Vehicle Champions

2013 VW Jetta Hybrid. Photo courtesy Volkswagen.

Start your morning in the midst of SEJ’s biggest and best auto show and alternative vehicle demo yet. Test-drive some of the world’s leading new prototypes, learn which established “green” cars have the best new innovations, interact with high-tech demos and industry experts, and stay tuned for announcements about special programs right in the middle of the action.

Moderator: Jim Motavalli, Contributor, The New York Times; Blogger, Car Talk, and Mother Nature Network; and Author of eight books, including High Voltage: The Fast Track to Plug in the Car Industry

Room: TBA


Opening Plenary — Just What Is a Sustainable City?

Chattanooga today.
© Photo: Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We’ll examine the essence of environmental, economic and societal sustainability. From Chattanooga to Chicago, Vancouver to Miami, municipalities are drastically changing their future outlooks, altering plans for growth, and bracing for a climate-changed future. Are business and industry driving the change, or being pushed by it? What tech fixes and adaptation strategies might best protect us against various climate change impacts?

Moderator: Steve Curwood, Host, Public Radio International's "Living On Earth"

Dodd Galbreath, Executive Director and Assistant Professor, Institute for Sustainable Practice, Lipscomb University

Room: TBA



Network Lunch

Choose a discussion table on a wide range of timely topics and reporting tips, or join a breakout session with lively newsmakers.


SEJ Membership Meeting

All SEJ members should plan to attend the annual membership meeting. Our agenda includes board elections to fill four seats (three Active and one Academic) and brief reports on SEJ programs, finances and membership. This is your opportunity to share ideas and talk about SEJ issues that are important to you.


Location: TBA


Fine Food and Really Fresh Fish: Dinner and Tours at Tennessee Aquarium

The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute works to re-populate the Tennessee River with ancient-looking, once-common lake sturgeon. The Aquarium's "Saving the Sturgeon" program has successfully reintroduced more than 115,000 these freshwater titans to Tennessee. Read about the Aquarium's new River Giant exhibit. Pictured: Anna George, TNACI's Director and Chief Research Scientist.

Experience an unforgettable after-hours adventure from the mountains to the sea at the Tennessee Aquarium, the single project credited with igniting the “Renaissance on the River,” and the revitalization of downtown Chattanooga. Enjoy cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and live local music as you leisurely tour the River and Ocean Journey’s three living forests and see 10-foot sharks, giant spider crabs, river otters, penguins, beautiful coral reefs and much, much more. Pre-registration and $15 fee required.

Moderator: TBA

Location: View Map









Saturday, October 5, 2013

Game On! Breakfast, Environmental Games and Journalism

We’ll be back in the big exhibit hall for more demos and fun. If you want to reach young audiences, try games. This interactive event will examine how journalists and game designers can collaborate to reach the public with quality information about climate change and other environmental issues. Bring your game face, grab your coffee and be ready to play. The kicker? Game companies are looking to collaborate with journalists to help write content.

Moderator: TBA

Room: TBA


Lunch and Plenary Session — Is Diversity (Bio and Otherwise) the Backbone of Sustainability?

As any ecologist will tell you, biodiversity is nature’s sustainability. From ecological biodiversity to crop rotation and hybrids to human diversity itself, we’ll examine how protecting diversity in all forms is insurance for our future. Ultimately, cities and all of humanity depend upon ecological sustainability for such bottom line needs as drinking water, pollination and arable land for food, forests for our homes, and countless natural resources for our high-energy and high-tech world. Can we have our sustainability and eat it too?

Moderator: M. ("Sanj") Sanjayan, Lead Scientist, The Nature Conservancy, and Science and Environment Contributor, CBS News

Anna George, Director and Chief Research Scientist, Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute

Room: TBA


Mini-Tour Adventures

Sign up on-site beginning Wednesday afternoon for SEJ’s popular mini-tours. Options this year may include: VW’s platinum-LEED-certified assembly plant; biophilic greenways; downtown biking and bike-share program; environmental justice and toxic legacies; Tennessee River boat trip; innovative industry recycling in nearby Dalton; and caving, bats and white-nose syndrome.


Beat Dinners and Music and Dancing at River Rocks Festival

First we’ll send y’all out and about to great restaurants across downtown Chattanooga for small-group discussions on journalism and environmental issues. Then we’ll meet up later for the party… River Rocks is a unique and distinctive outdoor festival celebrating the incomparable natural resources of the Tennessee Valley, the health benefits of the activities they inspire and Chattanooga’s commitment to environmental stewardship and land conservation. With 90 events over 10 days, there’s something for everyone — whether it’s adventure sports, live music, hot air balloons, or scaling down a 20-story building — River Rocks can’t be beat. Saturday night music and dancing meet-up TBA. Visit for details.




CONCURRENT SESSIONS (Friday and Saturday)



  • Follow the Frackin’ Money: Back to Journalism 101
  • Silenced Science: How Can We Loosen the Gags?
  • Off the Map: Whither Enviros and Environmental Justice
  • Radio Reporting Workshop
  • Multimedia Skills Workshop
  • Environmental Reporting with Drones: New Tool or Nightmare?
  • Obstacles to Access: Strategies for the Stonewalled
  • The Promise and Perils of Nonprofit Environmental Journalism
  • Social Media Training: Mobile Journalism and Geolocation
  • Who’s the Expert?
  • Freelance Pitch Slam
  • Writing on Sustainability


Conasauga Logperch.
Photo: U.S. Forest Service.

  • Jumping Earthworms and Other Scary Invasive Species
  • Endangered Species Success Stories: Reintroduction, Restoration and Protection
  • Urban Biodiversity: Not Just a Fuzzy Bunny Story
  • Critters and Climate: Phenology, Impacts and Adaptation


  • Climate Change and Media Coverage: Have We Blown It?
  • Is Climate Change the Moral and Ethical Dilemma of Our Times?
  • All Weather Is Local: Bringing Climate Change Closer to Home
  • Super Storms, Tornadoes and Droughts, Climate and Deadly Weather


  • Our Changing Society: Adapting to Climate Change
  • Sustainable Cities Across the Globe • What Makes Green Buildings Really Green?
  • Biomimicry and Biophilia: What Can Nature Teach Us About Sustainability?
  • Greening for the Wallet: Sustainable Ideas from the Corporate World


  • Flooding To Be a Way of Life?
  • Rivers, Drinking Water and Urban Sustainability
  • Dam Safety and Other Databases
  • The Many Faces of Dam Removal
  • The Gift That Keeps on Killing: Combined Stormwater Overflows


  • Who’s Your Energy Daddy? From Rural “Cooperatives” to Global Conglomerates
  • Nukes, Fossil Fuels, Alternatives: What Will Power Our Future?
  • God, Greens and Global Warming: What Would Jesus Do?
  • Mine Reclamation From Mountain Tops to Open Pits


  • Toxic Legacy: Have We Poisoned Our Global Well?
  • More Than Numbers: Population, Environment and Human Rights
  • Hotspots or Strongholds? Helping Biodiversity Survive the Collapse
  • Citizen Science: Empowering Awareness from Appalachia to the Big Apple

Wednesday, October 2
Thursday, October 3

Sunday, October 6