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Lecture: Ecological Stewardship: Empowering Communities to Protect the Commons, Ramapo College, April 11, 6-7:30 PM

From: Ashwani V.
Sent on: Friday, April 5, 2013 9:37 PM
Join MASS---Ramapo's Masters in Sustainability Studies---for the sixth program in our spring 2013 series "Creating a Sustainable World: Voices of Key Practitioners II."

April 11,[masked]:30 P.M. Alumni Lounge

Ecological Stewardship: Empowering Communities to Protect the Commons

Back by Popular Demand: Michael W. Klemens, Ph.D.

Renowned Conservation Biologist Michael Klemens has long pioneered methods for mutual learning between communities and scientists to promote Ecological Stewardship. Recognizing that stewardship is the outcome of a process of social learning, Klemens, longtime Senior Conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, built a transformational approach based on collaboration between ecologists and community decision makers and citizens. The mutually desired outcome is the ability to protect and build resilient ecosystems adaptive to human stressors.

Free and open to the public.

Visitors will need a parking pass from the security booth at the north gate.

Professor Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D.
[address removed],
[masked] 7745.


Conservation biologist and community advocate, Michael W. Klemens, has been a pioneer in developing models of mutual learning between communities and scientists. These models integrate local (i.e., indigenous) knowledge with expert investigation, thereby empowering informed communities to become both good stewards of their natural capital and advocates for a more sustainable future.  His approach creates a foundation for action, focusing on improved ecosystem resilience to adapt to the ever-changing conditions accelerated by poorly- designed development and climate change, often abetted by governmental inertia. He states that “in order to improve our ability to be resilient, we must learn how to make our development footprint lighter and to place development in a manner that respects the natural infrastructure that each community is blessed with. The challenge is to inform and motivate the community to become engaged stewards of the commons, and to discard notions of oppositional thinking that one must choose between human progress and healthy ecosystems.” Most urgently, it is a process of social learning that informs and improves the quality of local decision-making confronted with continued pressure for ill-informed patterns of development, colloquially referred to as sprawl.

Michael W. Klemens earned a doctorate in conservation biology and ecology at the University of Kent UK, has worked as Senior Conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and is on the scientific staff of the American Museum of Natural History. Thirty years of research have taken Dr. Klemens from the theoretical study of the distribution of amphibians and reptiles to the realization that the only hope for sustaining these species and other forms of biological diversity is to bridge the chasm between conservation science theory and land use planning practice. He founded the Metropolitan Conservation Alliance (MCA) as a vehicle to translate biological data and conservation concepts into planning tools for local and regional application, empowering communities to develop more sustainable patterns of growth. Advocating strongly that scientists are ethically responsible to actively engage in community-based learning efforts to achieve these goals, he has chaired local planning commissions in New York and Connecticut. MCA's work in the NY-NJ-CT Tri-State Region created collaborations between diverse stakeholders, joined by a common goal to chart a more secure and ecologically robust future. Klemens’ books include the co-edited volume Nature in Fragments: The Legacy of Sprawl (Columbia University Press).

     Vasishth       [address removed]          (201)[masked]
         Associate Professor, Environmental Planning
      Director, Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies

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