Virtual Inspiration

Filmmaker Jake Willers talks about the making of (Re)Connecting Wild at the 2020 North American Conference for Conservation Biology

By February of this year, when Covid-19 was just making its presence known in the U.S., my summer calendar was booked. Early June, I planned to attend the Society for Ecological Restoration’s (SER) global conference in Quebec. By midsummer, I would be at Kenyon College in Ohio teaching their summer Young Science Writers program. My last event would be the Society for Conservation Biology’s (SCB) North American Conference in Denver, Colorado, at the end of July.

Needless to say, none of that happened the way I had planned. SER and Kenyon College were, sadly, obligated to cancel their 2020 programs. SCB held out until early summer, and decided in the end to convert to an online format. Thanks to an extraordinary effort by SCB organizers to move us all into virtual space, last week, I attended the North American Conference for Conservation Biology (NACCB2020) from the comfort of my home office.

While not the same as being there, it was great to connect with biologists and conservationists from across North America and around the world. I heard many inspiring stories of work done to protect our environment and the wildlife that we share this planet with. Throughout the week, I tweeted about those efforts. I will also try to come back to some of them in upcoming posts here.

Because NACCB was virtual, for the first time I recorded an oral presentation for a professional conference. Today, I’m going to share this recording with you, about my work with native bees in the KC Metro. As many of you know by now, I have many collaborators in this effort, including Avila undergraduates and colleagues from KC Wildlands/Bridging the Gap, KC Parks, and the Missouri Department of Conservation. The video is just 12 minutes long, but it will give you a nice overview of what we’re trying to do with our little project on the south side of Kansas City – and why the space we study is so important for native bees. Enjoy!

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