John Davis during his Trek East for Wildland Network to promote the wildways concept.John Davis during his Trek East for Wildland Network to promote the wildways concept.

Efforts to create a network of conserved wild lands stretching from the Florida Everglades to the wilderness of Québec will be the subject of a talk by John Davis and Kathy Henley of the Wildlands Network at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum Oct. 27.

Drawing on the latest conservation science, Davis and Henley will outline the Wildlands Network’s effort to restore and protect Continental Wildways—large, protected landscapes for wildlife movement. They will be emphasizing the creation of an Eastern Wildway, 2,500-mile-long corridor connecting working landscapes and private conservation lands to large public parks and preserves.

The talk takes place at McCormick Lecture Hall at 4:10 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

“These Wildways are home to our greatest North American treasures: our national parks, scenic rivers, majestic mountains, continental trails, and vibrant grasslands and forests,” said Davis. “They also contain some of the last refuges available to the continent’s dwindling wildlife populations.”

Davis is an adventurer, conservationist, wildways scout, and co-founder of Wildlands Network. He is the former editor of the journal Wild Earth and author of BIG, WILD and CONNECTED: Scouting an Eastern Wildway from the Everglades to Quebec.

In 2011 Davis walked, cycled, skied, canoed and kayaked from the Florida Keys to Quebec to make the case for an Eastern Wildway.  He will share highlights from this 7,600-mile trek through the wilder parts of the East, and talk about the importance of the Maine Woods to this rewilding vision.

Kathy Henley of the Wildlands NetworkKathy Henley of the Wildlands NetworkKathy Henley serves as the Northeast wolf and predator organizer for the Wildlands Network and the Endangered Species Coalition. Her previous affiliations include the Denver Zoo, Center for Tropical Ecology and the Conservation Psychology Institute. The goal of her work is to bridge the gap between public, scientific and political communities through conservation psychology, education and advocacy.

Henley will present her work with member groups, legislators and advocates to increase support for the Northeast’s native carnivores. She will discuss the essential roles that carnivores play in ecosystems, and what her outreach work entails.

“Kathy probably has the toughest job of all of us! Our culture and its systems have long been in opposition to these magnificent creatures, if not waging all out war against them,” said Ron Sutherland of Wildlands Network. “She not only has to change the hearts and minds of people, but to garner support for the creation of new stories and systems that embrace these animals, their right to exist, and their indispensable ecological roles.”

The presentation will include details on the Essential 16 areas for conservation in the East identified by Wildlands Network.

“We offer this list as a small sampling of great choices for restoration and conservation – places where with modest steps, we can reclaim big parts of America’s great natural heritage,” Davis said. “Some of these are relatively small habitat linkages, but all are potentially parts of large wildlands complexes, all are crucial parts of a future continental conservation corridor.”

The Human Ecology Forum is a weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, political, and religious leaders from around the world. The forum is open to the public and meets Tuesdays at 4:10 during the school term in the McCormick Lecture Hall.