Kauai Conservation Expo set for September

KOLOA — The National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kauai Conservation Alliance will host the first-ever Kauai Conservation Expo on Sept. 7.

The all-day event will feature more than 20 Kauai conservation organizations, cultural demonstrations and experts including Ulalia Woodside, executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Hawaii as the keynote speaker.

“The Kauai Conservation Expo is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration and landmark event that will showcase the incredible diversity and scope of conservation work taking place on our island,” Margaret Clark, NTBG science and conservation specialist and Kauai Conservation Alliance co-chair, said in a news release.

“It is our hope that the event will foster connections between local practitioners, global leaders, educators and the community, create conversations and share best practices that just might change the world,” Clark continued.

The event is part of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, which will be convening in Honolulu Sept. 1-10. This is the first time the IUCN World Conservation Congress will be held in Hawaii.

The last World Conservation Congress was held in Jeju, Republic of Korea, in 2012.

The IUCN Congress brings together more than 6,000 worldwide government leaders, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, businesses, UN agencies and grass-roots organizations who will discuss solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, according to the release.

This year’s theme is “Planet at a Crossroads.”

“Hawaii is a global conservation leader, but more often we are recognized for our incredible biodiversity and the threat of extinction here, than for our work in conservation,” said Chipper Wichman, president and CEO of NTBG, and vice chair of the IUCN Congress National Host Committee. “The key message I want global leaders and conservation practitioners to walk away with after experiencing the IUCN Congress in Hawaii is that there is hope. Hawaii is a microcosm of the global conservation and sustainability issues we are facing right now.”

The Kauai Conservation Expo is open to IUCN attendees, NTBG members and the general public. It is an opportunity for professional development, networking and learning from conservation leaders.

NTBG isn’t the only entity gearing up for the IUCN World Conservation Congress. In anticipation of the convention, Hawaii’s Department of Education is weaving conservation topics into lesson plans.

“Our curriculum staff have created resources for schools statewide to create innovative lessons around this momentous event,” said superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi in a press release. “This is an exciting opportunity for our schools to supplement what is already being taught to stress the importance of sustainability and natural resource management.”

HIDOE has developed a resource bank, available online, that provides grade-specific lessons, including themes of biodiversity, food and water security, and climate change.

In their release, HIDOE said teachers are encouraged to use the materials to enhance place-based science teaching.

There is still space available to attend the Honolulu IUCN World Conservation Congress, at www.iucnworldconservationcongress.org. Tickets range in price, depending on the level of participation, but general admission starts at $1,050 for non-members.

Tickets for the Kauai Conservation Expo are available at www.ntbg.org/tours/kcee. General admission is $98.

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