Nature has always been my best teacher. As a young boy growing up in Iowa, I spent countless hours alone wading through creeks, marshes or fields, absorbing everything that nature had to teach me. I spent much of my youth with muskrats, raccoon and waterfowl, watching their habits and admiring their perseverance in a world dominated by corn fields and continually transformed by humans. Since these early days in Iowa, I have had the good fortune of experiencing some of the wildest places on the planet. My teachers have expanded to include the orangutan, the lion and the Wehea Dayak but unfortunately the human domination of the planet has expanded as well. The rainforests of the world are being cut, the great fish of the oceans are almost gone and the days of the wild tiger and orangutan are numbered.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” - Dr. Seuss
We created Integrated Conservation because we do care “a whole awful lot” about helping to protect the remaining plant, animal and cultural diversity left on our planet by building resilient social-ecological systems. We believe that protecting this diversity needs to be done by integrating scientific and traditional knowledge, empowering local communities, realizing there are no panaceas and providing transformative educational field experiences that train the next generation of conservation scientists. We realize that social ecological systems are complex systems and need to be treated as such. We know that when dealing with such systems we need to understand the political, economic, ecological and cultural factors that affect a particular place.
I have been personally inspired by nature and the countless individuals around the world who have dedicated their lives to protecting our planet. We hope that Integrated Conservation will serve as a source of inspiration to others and become a teacher for those interested in helping to protect our natural world. We appreciate your interest and hope you become involved in our programs and our organization. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
President, Board of Directors