Greetings Buckeyes! Today, the Ohio Union is hosting the 32nd annual Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference. Sponsored by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODW), this conference has long been a “must attend” for Columbus Audubon members. This year’s conference theme is “Exploring the Challenges Ohio’s Aerial Wildlife Face in the World Today,” or, as the ODW conference website says, “Top Guns in Flight: Wildlife in the Danger Zone.” I believe that as more and more encounters occur between humans and wildlife in Ohio, it is essential that Ohio residents know how to successfully handle these challenges while moving forward.
The first Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference was held at The Ohio State University in 1985 with 40 people in attendance. The conference has grown since then with more than 950 people attending last year’s daylong event. College students can meet with representatives from a wide range of conservation and natural resource organizations and gain meaningful insights on wildlife preservation. This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Orley R. “Chip” Taylor. He is the founder and director of Monarch Watch and a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas.
Dr. Chip Taylor has published various papers on species assemblages, reproductive biology, population dynamics and plant demographics and pollination. In 1992 he founded Monarch Watch, an outreach program focused on education, research and conservation relative to monarch butterflies. Since then, Monarch Watch has recruited a tremendous number of volunteers to tag monarchs during the fall migration. This program has produced numerous new insights into the dynamics of the monarch migration. In 2005, Monarch Watch released the fact that habitats for monarchs are declining at a rate of 6,000 acres a day in the United States. Since then the organization established the Monarch Waystation program to inspire the public, schools and others to maintain and create better habitats for monarch butterflies. Monarch Watch has been actively educating the public about the decline in resources for monarchs, pollinators and all wildlife that share the same habitats and calling for the public’s attention and assists.
Students can also contribute to wildlife conservation in Ohio State by supporting this annual conference. If you are interested in wildlife research and conservation, are concerned about wildlife’s living environments or want to learn more about the sustainable habitats for the wildlife in Ohio, be sure to check their website for more details.