Join us at the 9th World Wilderness Congress in Mexico this week

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Hundreds of conservation advocates from around the world have descended upon the capital of Yucatan, Mexico today for the kick off the 9th World Wilderness Congress.

Our own President Bill Meadows and a delegation of Wilderness Society scientists are already there in the colonial gem of Merida — or about to arrive — for the world-class conservation event, which includes world leaders in conservation as well as president of Mexico Felipe Calderón and primatologist Jane Goodall.

If our delegation snags a moment of free time at the Nov. 6-13 gathering, they’ve promised to give us a close-up glimpse of the conference with blogs starting early next week.

For now here’s a round-up of a few highlights:

The theme this year is “Wilderness, the Climate’s Best Ally.” Attendees and speakers will focus on the critical role of wilderness as refuges for species to adapt to climate change as well as the role that healthy, wild ecosystems play in mitigating climate change impacts.

Our own folks will be presenting as well:

  • Spencer Philips, The Wilderness Society’s Vice President for Ecology and Economics Research, and an economist himself, will discuss his research on the potential effect of climate change on ecosystem services provided by wilderness, such as pollution control, recreation, pollination, and habitat for wildlife.
  • Wilderness Society president Bill Meadows will present on the importance of local community involvement in securing long-term wilderness protection, focusing on the case of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Our ecologist Michele Crist will give a presentation on her forest restoration work in the Northern Rockies.
  • Using Alaska’s public lands as an example, ecologist Wendy Loya will demonstrate the usefulness of climate models for land managers as a tool in conservation planning.

Launched by The WILD Foundation in 1977, the World Wilderness Congress is a high-profile event and the longest-running, public, international environmental forum. It is an ongoing conservation project, focused on practical outcomes in policy, new wilderness areas, new funding mechanisms, and trainings for communities and professionals. Art exhibits, local excursions, and cultural events and celebrations are also part of the event.

This is going to be one exciting event so check back in for more updates.