Dean Paul Robbins and Nelson Institute alumnus attend WFAA "Fighting Extinction” event

October 29, 2019

During the Year of the Environment, as the Nelson Institute celebrates its 50th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the Institute is also proud to celebrate all of the amazing alumni contributing to environmental studies. As a part of this celebration, Nelson Institute Dean Paul Robbins traveled to San Francisco for the “Fighting Extinction” event where UW-Madison alumni from the Bay area came together to discuss how the environmental movement has transformed lives and how the next 50 years may determine the fate of our planet.

The alumni event, which was held on September 27 at the California Academy of Sciences, was hosted by the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) and Nelson Institute alumna Elizabeth Bagley, the director of Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. The event featured speeches by a range of alumni including Nelson Institute alumna and restoration biologist for Point Reyes National Seashore, Ellen Hamingson MS’07, Nelson Institute alumnus and interim chief scientist and vice president of conservation science for the National Audubon Society, Chad Wilsey MS’05, as well as UW-Madison graduate (’75), former U.S. senator, ambassador for the Campaign for Nature in support of the Convention on Biodiversity, and co-chair of the 50th anniversary of the Nelson Institute and Earth Day, Russ Feingold.

Together, attendees and speakers discussed the loss of biodiversity and its related challenges as well as the role that Nelson Institute and its alumni will play in securing a healthy environmental future.

“The UN tells us that one million species are on the brink of extinction and a recent study shows that one-third of all the birds in North American have vanished since 1970. Think: three billion birds…,” said Dean Robbins. “The University of Wisconsin has the tools to turn the tide on this, including conservation training, habitat restoration science, and the genetic skills to preserve countless species. We can address this problem head-on. This campus is the place to start.”

We invite you to learn more about future WFFA events and connect with Nelson Institute via Badger Bridge.

Photo courtesy of Kate Prehn