The CIRCE Conference Gets a Wild Response
2d brought together some of New York's most eloquent and involved
thinkers at Queens College discussing why Nature Matters to
New Yorkers. Organized by CIRCE, the CUNY Institute for Research
on the City Environment at Queens College (founded with major
financial support from Ted Kheel and the Nurture Nature Foundation),
the conference argued that the city with its amazing demographics
- 125 languages are spoken by the city's inhabitants - and its
far-ranging and disparate flora and fauna is nature itself.
As nature goes, "we might be slightly dysfunctional," says NNYN's
David Rosane but we are in an extremely dynamic and vibrant
environment. New York and urban ecology needs to be promoted
and championed, not diminished.
A panel of speakers, including Tony Hiss, William Kornblum,
Mark Kurlansky, Phillip Lopate , Anne Matthews and NNYN's David
Rosane joined with Queens College's John Goldman to explore
what many considered one of the more provocative sessions on
New York's nature.
Responses received by John Goldman:
Initially, I was hesitant about attending the conference. The
concept of "laypeople," including a historian, food writer,
sociologist and Ivy league literature professor, writing about
urban ecology baffled me. I am pleased to admit I was wrong.
Each and every talk was fabulous. Yesterday, I picked up a copy
of Robert Sullivan's Rats at Strand Books. You did a great job.
I hope the future holds more events of this nature.
Gretchen Culp, (Hudson River Foundation)
...a particularly good mix of science, power point and poetics.
One speaker built nicely upon the next and it was especially
brilliant to place the naysayers after lunch when we might otherwise
have slumped...great orchestration. BRAVO!
Lisa Garrison (Environmental Consultant)
The conference was super super interesting and thought-provoking.
I had lots of thoughts and responses and liked a lot of it and
was frustrated with a lot of it, which, I suppose, is the best
sort of conference to be at, because it leads to more growth
and new thoughts.
Talia Young (Educator who traveled from Philadelphia)
Thank you for hosting and arranging that great conference! I
believe many great ideas will emerge from the conversations
started there, and Citizens for NYC will explore producing a
calendar of NYC's natural cycles with a publisher and partners
from the event. We also found some great potential partnerships
at the grassroots level, which is our mission.
Erik Baard (Citizens for NYC)
Congratulations and thank you for running such a well-organized,
highly informative, useful conference. It was a real pleasure
to be there, and portends well for the future of CIRCE. With
Dave Locke (QC Professor)
I wanted to thank you for that amazing conference. There was
something about the chemistry of the group that made it most
exciting and I was honored to be involved. I had to leave for
Europe just after the conference and did not get a chance to
write immediately, but I too heard great comments from people
Chris Nadareski, the New York DEP's urban-falcon expert, told
me several times how interesting he found the approach you'd
chosen, and how much he looked forward to other CIRCE events,
and the delegation from the environmental-studies high school
echoed his sentiments (actually, they said "This whole thing
rules!" but you get the idea.) So thank you again.
It was a pleasure and an honor to participate in your well-conceived
and well-organized conference. I will certainly keep an open
mind regarding a piece about the interface of urbanism and nature.
The event last Friday was amazing. Thanks so much for hosting
it. It really charged me up to get back to work both on my personal
writing projects and on my conservation work with NYC Audubon.
E.J. McAdams (Director, NYC Audubon)