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  • 2018 Speakers

    Join us at NCYGS 2018 for an unprecedented range of speakers

    2018 Speakers

    Meet our NCYGS 2018 speakers

    General Session Keynote: Alizé Carrère

    Thursday, July 12 9:00 - 10:00am

    Alizé Carrère is a National Geographic Explorer researching and documenting climate change adaptation in practice.  Raised in a treehouse in Ithaca, her childhood primed her for a unique perspective on what it means to innovate and adapt in response to environmental change.  While pursueing an advanced degree in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University, Alizé spent time in the Middle East working on water resource management and electronic waste between Israel and Palestine.  In 2012, Alizé received support from National Geographic to conduct research in Madagascar, where she spent several months uncovering an unlikely agricultural adaptation in response to severe deforestation.  Learning of farmers who were turning erosional gullies into fertile pockets of farmland, her work evolved into a greater story of creativity and resourcefulness amongst the oft-repeated narrative of climate doom.

    With the persistence of climate change, people across the world are experiementing daily with different adaptive methods on the ground.  At a time when doomsday narratives dominate the current climate conversation, adaptation plays an increasingly vital role for both its practical application and as a hopeful reminder of our resilience as a species.  With continued support from National Geographic, Alizé has been documenting case studies in places such as Madagascar, Bangladesh, India, Norway, and the United States to create a web series that reveals human ingenuity and resourcefulness in the face of environmental adversity.  Alizé will share her experiences from the field looking at these unique examples of human adaptation, reminding us of the most important trait that has allowed for our continued survival on earth.


    Friday, July 13 1:00-2:00pm

    To honor and celebrate Cornell’s founding ideology, ‘Any person, any study,’ we've assembled a group of University-based individuals to 'talk shop' with over lunch.

    Connecting with Nature Through Urban Trees and Green Space

    Jeanne Grace, Ithaca City Forester

    Get the inside scoop on what drives tree management decisions, why urban forests are important, and how Ithaca’s urban canopy stacks up against other cities. As forester, Jeanne interacts with tree lovers and tree skeptics on issues related to nature in the city and our connection to it on a daily basis.


    Grow Curiosity

    Alexa Maille, NYS 4-H Youth Development STEM Specialist
    Susan Hoskins, 4-H Geospatial Science Lead, Senior Extension Associate Institute for Resource Information Sciences

    How can we nurture a young person's natural curiosity and provide them opportunities to understand the world through STEM? Let's explore how learning in the garden can help youth master STEM concepts and skills, develop STEM identities, and use their STEM skills for positive change in their communities.


    Lasting Attitudes toward Nature: When and How Are They Formed?

    Don Rakow, Associate Professor Section of Horticulture School of Integrative Plant Science, Fellow, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
    Naomi Sachs, PhD, ASLA, EDAC, Postdoctoral Associate, Cornell University Department of Design and Environmental Analysis

    Over the past year, Don and Naomi have been studying undergraduate students’ attitudes toward nature- during their middle childhood years and now as undergraduates.  By improving our understanding of when attitudes toward nature are formed and how they relate to attitudes and behavior during college years, we’re hoping that more targeted and sensitive nature-based therapies can be developed for students dealing with various mental and physical conditions.


    Social-Emotional Learning and Wellness

    Nigel Gannon, NYS 4-H Program Specialist

    Let's dig into the hot topic of social-emotional wellness!  We'll discuss the clear benefits of supporting social-emotional wellness in youth and explore one national model of social-emotional learning while focusing on key aspects of self-awareness and identity development.


    Nature Play Design

    Rusty Keeler, Artist, Designer, Author EarthPlay

    Join Rusty in discussing the design and creation of community-built natural play spaces. How can we best support play in the built environments (including adventurous, risky play!)?


    Intersection of History & Innovation in Local Food Systems

    Jamila Walida-Simon, NYS 4-H Citizenship and Civic Engagement Specialist

    Come to the communal table with Jamila to talk shop about the history of food production and distribution.  We can look to history in order to find unique ways to position our innovations for our local food systems.


    Cultivating Resiliency, Prescribing Nature

    Greg Eells, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services

    Dr. Greg Eells will lead a conversation around the concept of resilience - how we can bounce back when we are confronted with difficulties. Many of us have this ability but can learn news ways of responding to life’s challenges.


    The Uncommon Crow: the Hidden Life of a Familiar Bird

    Kevin McGowan, Cornell Lab of Ornithology Instructor

    Crows have a lot going on, and they’re in everyone’s backyard. They have a social system that is a lot like our own, displaying intelligence, adaptability, sociability, and caring, with strong family values and lifelong bonds. Hear Kevin McGowan's unique perspective on the species, formulated over 30 years of research.


    Bumble bees, sweat bees, digger bees, leafcutter bees, carpenter bees, cellophane bees: There are so many ways to be a bee!

    Maria van Dyke, M.S., Research & Outreach, Native Bee Systematics and Ecology Lab, Department of Entomology, Cornell University

    Wild native bees are humble mysterious creatures!  Join Maria van Dyke to discuss bee diversity and the intriguing methods bee species use to forage, build nests, mate and reproduce. Maria will share her advice for creating habitat for these overlooked hymenoptera.