By Deborah Martin- Downs, Chair, 19th Annual A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium
Two and a half days, 886 delegates, 156 speakers, 49 sessions, 46 exhibitors, – by all accounts the 19th Annual A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium was a great success! Prescription for a Healthy Environment though delivered much more than that however. It was the place to be in the conservation field. We addressed all the current conservation topics and explored emerging topics – like this year’s focus on the relationships between health and the environment. Speakers worked hard to bring the latest thinking from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives.
Our keynote Dr. William Bird of Intelligent Health U.K. showed us how place, people and purpose = wellbeing and the importance of walking faster than the grim reaper – 3 mph! Dr. John Howard of Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, taught us the ecosystem health model that includes social and environmental factors in treating patients. Terry O’Reilly, CBC showed us how influencing behaviour is about telling a story to reach the hearts and minds of your audience.
The delegates tore up the ice for the annual East vs West hockey Summit and 17 teams took to the halls of the Inn for the Amazing Race. It was a tie on the rink and ‘Rock the Race’ won the race and $400!
Thursday we honoured four pioneers, John Sibbald, Jack Imhof, Peter Orphanos, and Scott Gillingwater for their extraordinary contributions to the environmental field. Twenty-one student posters were judged with Sara Dart taking first place.
The dream auction drew shoppers from all over the conference, raising almost $12,000 for the grant program. The Drum Café raised our spirits and heart rates with an incredible 500 drums filling the dome with rhythm and sound. The buzz was palpable for hours after.
On Friday, Dr. Samina Raja challenged the early morning risers to influence our food system policy so it that includes planning for eating in communities. We graduated 13 Young Conservation Professionals over lunch followed by a skype interaction with Ed Begley Jr. as he took us on a tour of his sustainable home and lifestyle.
You may have noticed us moving to use more technology – including skype, mobile web site and tweeting (perhaps you were following me at @TopdogLatornell). There are still some kinks but new opportunities mean different ways of making the conference accessible.
Deborah Martin-Downs is the Director of the Ecology Division at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Conference Chair, of the 19th Annual A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium.