Voice of WILD10
Day Six: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The penultimate day of WILD10 began in fog, which soon lifted to treat delegates to yet more brilliant sunshine and blue skies over Salamanca. Once again, the schedule was jam packed.
One of the highlights of the morning was a session titled ‘Nyads and Mermaids: Women in the Water.’ The panelists, including renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle, Shari Sant Plummer of the Code Blue Foundation, Alison Barrat of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, Olga Kamenskaya, Russian freelance photographer, and Fay Crevosay of WILDCOAST, transfixed their large audience with a discussion that blended the state of the world’s oceans and water bodies with personal accounts of the challenges of combining professional and family life. Sylvia Earle commented, “No one thought there would be women aquanauts. The male scientists didn’t know what to do with us at first!” Olga Kamenskaya riveted the audience with accounts of her photographic excursions into Siberia’s Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world, containing 20% of all the fresh running water on the planet. Kamenskaya said, “A person who goes into Lake Baikal with a tank feels like they’re in space… and the fish are the aliens!”
Other well-attended panels today included ‘Wilderness & Protected Areas as Climate Change Strategies – North American Examples,’ ‘Indigenous People: Sharing Accumulated Knowledge for Societal Benefits,’ ‘Moving the Public: Wilderness Advocacy, Relationships and Philanthropy,’ ‘The Resurrection of Three European Icons – Aurochs, Bison and Wild Horses,’ and ‘The Watershed as a Planning Unit for WILD Cities.’ The Science and Stewardship Symposium featured dozens of “poster sessions” where good projects, the best research, and brightest new people engaged with delegates to explain their work and engage with funders, scientists/managers, and other potential collaborators.
The launch of new global conservation initiatives at WILD10 has enlivened each day of the proceedings, with today’s sessions no exception. Encouraged by Crista Valentino, youth delegates with CoalitionWILD had the opportunity to meet other change-making WILD10 delegates from around the world, while developing personal and professional leadership skills in consultation with more experienced conservationists. WILD Cities, under the leadership of Vance Martin and Austin Perez, got off to a running start at WILD10, with the goal of creating a global network of cities committed to the principles of Nature Needs Half.
As darkness fell, WILD10 delegates poured into the streets of Salamanca, and were joined by hundreds of local citizens — heading to the WILDshorts outdoor film festival in La Plaza de los Bandos, featuring inspiring films under the stars by many independent filmmakers. As has been true after each long day at WILD10, discussions and networking around dinner tables in Salamanca’s streets went on late into the night.
Jennifer Scarlott, firstname.lastname@example.org