The Half-Earth Project® presented the first of a new discussion series, “Places and Voices of America the Beautiful: Southeastern Coasts and Forests.” The online discussion was focused on areas of great biodiversity in the United States and the pathways and people essential to protecting them. Southeastern Coasts and Forests was held on November 16th, at 12 pm on Zoom and live-streamed from the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation on Facebook.
The Southeastern US is a biological hotspot rich in diversity—think longleaf pine and gopher tortoises, sweetgrass, and oysters. Local wisdom and knowledge held by long-established stewards of these places are as much a part of the habitat as the species and heritage they look after. And they are vital to carrying out the goal of Half-Earth, protecting half the land and seas for nature.
E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Vice President Dennis Liu convened ambassadors of the extreme natural and cultural beauty of the Southeastern region for a conversation on what success in preservation looks like for these places, and how they uniquely contribute to conserving biological diversity and cultural heritage. We explored how the Biden Administration’s “America the Beautiful” initiative, and relevant legislation, public engagement, and scientific research are critical not just to these local efforts, but protecting global biodiversity as well.
The hour-long conversation moderated by the Half-Earth Project included:
- Steven Friedman, Chief of Real Estate, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
- Victoria A. Smalls, Executive Director, Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor National Heritage Area
- Joshua F. Walden, Esq., Chief Operating Officer, Center for Heirs Property Preservation
- Joel R. Johnson, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation
- Dennis Liu, Vice President of Education, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation