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FWC’s climate change summit moved to Oct. 1-3 due to storm

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has rescheduled the summit, “Florida’s Wildlife: On the front line of climate change,” for Oct. 1-3 at the Rosen Plaza in Orlando. The summit, originally scheduled for Aug. 20-22, was postponed due to Tropical Storm Fay. Climate change experts and fish and wildlife scientists will huddle to discuss the future of Florida’s fish and wildlife and ask difficult questions about how best to conserve and manage Florida’s abundant and unique natural resources.

The summit will highlight the challenges facing wildlife managers, governments, industry leaders and the public in the next 50 years amid the realities with climate change.

“This summit has global significance, because the effects of climate change on places like Florida and Alaska will be a prelude to what’s going to happen elsewhere in the world,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. One of the keynote speakers, Dr. Jean Brennan, a climate change scientist with Defenders of Wildlife, was a member of the U.S. Delegation at international negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. She served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and shares the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 for her contribution to IPCC. Brennan acknowledges that Florida’s wildlife and habitats are in a sensitive position when it comes to the effects of climate change.

“Florida is extremely vulnerable with its low elevation,” Brennan said. “And it’s the hardest hit with extreme weather such as hurricanes.” Another 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient, Dr. Virginia R. Van Sickle-Burkett from the United States Geological Survey (USGS,) will present the key points from a report she is presenting to Congress later in the fall on climate change. Dr. Thomas Crisman, from the University of South Florida, will speak about the vast differences in Florida’s climate zones and suggest that any discussion of climate change in Florida must use a variety of models. Dr. Thomas Eason will present the FWC’s report “Wildlife 2060: What’s at stake for Florida?” FWC leaders will offer workshops on various topics.

A panel discussion will feature specific species on the front line of climate change. The future of agriculture also will be on the agenda. Panel discussions also will explore habitat and species management, outdoor recreation, initiatives from the conservation community, legislative progress and communication strategies for public awareness.

Registered participants for the postponed summit will have their registration and hotel reservations automatically transferred to the new dates. Registration is $195, which includes two breakfasts, two lunches and a reception. Registration information is available online at www.ces.fau.edu/floc/ or by contacting Doreen DiCarlo at 561-799-8553 or 561-626-1404 (fax).