The National Conservation Training Center invites prominent conservationists, writers, historians, scientists, filmmakers, and educators to discuss their work with a broad and interested public.

If you would like more information on the speaker series contact: Mark Madison, 304-876-7276,

These talks are co-sponsored by The Friends of the NCTC.


Most Recent Recording

The National Geographic Atlas of Wild America” with author and National Geographic Explorer Jon Waterman

Details: Author and National Geographic Explorer Jon Waterman will present his just-released book National Geographic Atlas of Wild America.

From the deep forests of the Canadian Northwest to the red-rock deserts of the American Southwest, North America offers a myriad of opportunities for hiking, camping, trekking, and simply enjoying the abundance of the natural world. The Atlas of Wild America highlights 41 of those wilderness locations. Waterman explores the fascinating history of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, fossil remains on the Upper Missouri River, the rainforest canopy of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, and Grand Canyon Parashat’s Dark Sky Park. Waterman also explores the joys and impacts of humans on these last wild places. 

Waterman is the author of 14 books, including several award-winning titles. Over the last 40 years of his unique writing career, he has specialized in first-person immersion during arduous adventures; environmental reportage on subjects ranging from Arctic oil development to the Colorado River; and scores of in-depth profiles. He has worked as an editor, a filmmaker, and a photographer.  

Presenter: Jon Waterman, Author

Recorded: October 12, 2023

Duration: 75 minutes


Recorded Sessions in Alpha Order

“A Road Running Southward: Following John Muir's Journey through an Endangered Land” With author Dan Chapman

Details:  In 1867, John Muir set out on foot to explore the botanical wonders of the South, keeping a detailed journal of his adventures as he traipsed from Kentucky southward to Florida. One hundred and fifty years later, on a similar whim, veteran Atlanta reporter Dan Chapman, distressed by sprawl-driven environmental ills in a region he loves, recreated Muir’s journey to see for himself how nature has fared since Muir’s time. Channeling Muir, he uses humor, keen observation, and a deep love of place to celebrate the South’s natural riches. But he laments that a treasured way of life for generations of Southerners is endangered as long-simmering struggles intensify over misused and dwindling resources. Chapman seeks to discover how Southerners might balance surging population growth with protecting the natural beauty Muir found so special.
Chapman delves into the region’s natural history, moving between John Muir’s vivid descriptions of a lush botanical paradise and the myriad environmental problems facing the South today. A Road Running Southward paints a picture of a South under siege. It is a passionate appeal, a call to action to save one of the loveliest and most biodiverse regions of the world by understanding what we have to lose if we do nothing.

Dan Chapman is a longtime writer, reporter, and lover of the outdoors. He grew up in Washington D.C. and Tokyo, the son of a newspaperman and an English teacher. He worked for Congressional Quarterly, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Charlotte Observer, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has also reported from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He currently writes stories about conservation in the South for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife and their two boys. This is his first (published) book.

Recorded: February 23, 2023

Duration: 72 minutes

A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps

Details: FWS historian Mark Madison host a recorded interview with producer/director Alana DeJoseph and screenwriter Shana Kelly on their documentary film "A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps". This interview is part of the NCTC Conservation Lecture series.

Narrated by Annette Bening, A Towering Task tells the remarkable story of the Peace Corps and takes viewers on a journey of what it means to be a global citizen. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave Americans the opportunity to serve their country in a new way by forming the Peace Corps. Since then, more than 200,000 Volunteers have traveled to more than 140 countries to carry out the organization's mission of international cooperation. Nearly 60 years later, Americans - young and old alike - still want to serve their country and understand their place in the world; current volunteers work at the forefront of some of the most pressing issues facing the global community. Yet the agency has struggled to remain relevant amid sociopolitical change. More than once it had to fight for its very existence, and now - between pandemics, climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
, and a rise in nationalist sentiment - the Peace Corps is again confronting a crisis of identity: What role should it play around the world and in the lives of engaged citizens?  For more information, please visit:

Recorded: May 4, 2023

Duration: 40 minutes

This recording has followed guidelines of creating an accessible (section 508 compliant) video.

Bird Collisions With Communication Towers: How We Can Reduce the Risks and Save Money

Details:  Every year an estimated 6.6 million birds collide with communication towers in the U.S. Fortunately, cost-saving methods can reduce the number of bird collisions by as much as 70%. Together, tower owners and bird conservation enthusiasts can embrace this win-win and save both money and birds. Dr. Joelle Gehring is a Biologist in the Division of Bird Conservation, Permits, and Regulations in the Migratory Bird Program of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (2020 – present). Prior to joining the Service, she worked for the Federal Communications Commission (2012-2020) where she conducted environmental review and worked with tower operators to minimize bird collisions with communications towers and adverse effects to protected species. From 2005 – 2012, Dr. Gehring was a Senior Conservation Scientist with Michigan State University (MSU) where she designed and supervised a multi-year, landscape-scale study of the variables associated with bird collisions at communications towers. While with MSU she also studied wildlife interactions with wind energy facilities and used those data to improve turbine siting. Throughout her career, Dr. Gehring has used science and stakeholder input to develop and disseminate information on mainstreaming and cost-effective methods to reduce wildlife-human conflicts. Dr. Gehring completed her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology at Purdue University, M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources at West Virginia University, and her B.S., in both Biology and Wildlife Management at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Dr. Gehring has a wonderful son who is studying conservation biology at Central Michigan University.

Presenter:  Dr. Joelle Gehring, Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Recorded:  May 12, 2022

Duration:  58 Minutes

This recording has followed guidelines of creating an accessible (section 508 compliant) video.

Climate Change & Appalachian Stream Fishes: Where Are the Resiliencies and Risks

Details: Dr. Nathaniel (Than) Hitt is a local fish biologist who studies freshwater fish ecology and conservation from a landscape perspective, focusing on stream ecosystems in the Appalachian highlands. Appalachian streams support some of the most biologically diverse fish communities on the planet, and new research is underway to anticipate the effects of climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
on these important ecological, cultural, and economic resources. Dr. Hitt will highlight the importance of groundwater for stream fishes in a changing climate and the importance of brook trout conservation for future generations.

Presenter(s): Dr. Nathaniel (Than) Hitt

Date recorded: September 7, 2023

Duration:  68 minutes

This recording has followed the guidelines of creating an accessible (section 508 compliant) video.

"Compelled: The Evolution of Natural Resource Conservation and Law” with author Dale Hall

Details:  author and former Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, H. Dale Hall, will present a lecture on his new book “Compelled: The Evolution of Natural Resource Conservation and Law” at the National Conservation Training Center, Byrd Auditorium, 698 Conservation Way, Shepherdstown, WV.

“Compelled” unfolds the journey of a young U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist being thrust into the controversial world of national conservation issues and the methods used to resolve them. The evolution of conservation history is told through the eyes of a first-hand witness to the first court challenge to the U.S. Clean Water Act and its protection of Waters of the United States, the introduction of expertise in environmental contaminants to unveil the harm of environmental pollutants in federal water development projects, the history of how conservation in the United States was championed by hunters and anglers, the often painful history of the northern spotted owl and the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), western water wars, and the complete story of the listing of the polar bear as America’s first threatened species under the ESA as a result of global warming. This epic journey also identifies the only real pathway to solving these complex issues: by opening the door for cooperative efforts and building trust between seemingly opposing interests.
H. Dale Hall has more than forty years of professional experience in fish and wildlife resource management in both the federal and private sectors. He served over thirty years in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with duties reaching across the U.S. In the course of those assignments, Hall worked on nearly every high-profile environmental issue in America. A fisheries and wetlands biologist by training, Hall spent significant time working on the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. In his last three and a half years with the FWS, he was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Following retirement from federal service, Hall was CEO of Ducks Unlimited, Inc., for over nine years. During that time, the organization raised more than $2.3 billion and conserved more than two million acres of wetlands, grasslands, and waterfowl habitat.

At the end of this presentation, Historian Mark Madison interview Dale Hall.

Recorded: January 23, 2023

Duration: 78 minutes

Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice

This talk is as part of NCTC’s Conservation Lecture Series, which is cosponsored by The Friends of the NCTC. 

Details: Author Finis Dunaway will talk about his recent book, “Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice” (2021). Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most contested lands in all of North America. Considered sacred by Indigenous peoples in Alaska and Canada and treasured by environmentalists, the refuge provides life-sustaining habitat for caribou, polar bears, migratory birds, and other species. The potential presence of oil and gas resources beneath the refuge's coastal plain has made this land the focus of ongoing controversy. "Defending the Arctic Refuge" reveals how unlikely activists, diverse alliances, and grassroots visual culture helped build a political movement that transformed the issue into a struggle for environmental justice. The talk will share stories from the book, feature images from Arctic lands and communities, and trace the history of a movement that is still alive today.

Presenter(s) and Affiliations: Finis Dunaway, Author and Historian

About Our Presenter: Finis Dunaway is professor of history at Trent University. He is the author of “Natural Visions: The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform” (2005) and “Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images” (2015). “Seeing Green” received the John G. Cawelti Award from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association and the History Division Book Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. His writings have also appeared in American Quarterly, Environmental History, and other scholarly journals and in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, The Hill, Truthout, and the Globe and Mail.

Contact: Mark Madison (304-876-7276;

Recorded: March 2, 2022

Duration:  63 Minutes

Diving Palmyra Atoll: A photographic journey to one of the most isolated islands in the World

Details: The first part of the recording is an interview with photographer Ryan Hagerty.  He will then present "Diving Palmyra Atoll: A photographic journey to one of the most isolated islands in the World". 

Halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa lies the Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Palmyra consists of a circular string of about 26 islets nestled among several lagoons and encircled by 15,000 acres of shallow turquoise reefs and deep blue submerged reefs. It is the northernmost atoll in the Line Islands of the equatorial Pacific.
Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge was established in 2001, by the Secretary of the Interior. In 2009, the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument was established. Palmyra Atoll is one of seven National Wildlife Refuges within the Marine National Monument. Only Palmyra is open for public visitation.

The Monument represents one of the last frontiers of scientific discovery in the world and is a safe haven for Central Pacific biodiversity. The Monument and the national wildlife refuges within it protect entire ecosystems – from coral reefs to deep seamounts, abyssal plains, and volcanic features.

Presenter:  Ryan Hagerty, USFWS Photographer

Ryan is a West Virginia native and works as a photographer and videographer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ryan is a Senior Video Producer at the National Conservation Training Center and serves as the Regional Diving Safety Officer. He has been documenting fish and wildlife species around the country for the past 25 years. His specialty is underwater photography and videography in Appalachian rivers and streams.
In April of 2023, Ryan worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dive team on a pilot project to control the invasive "crown-of-thorns" starfish and prevent an outbreak on the remote Palmyra Atoll.

Recorded:  October 5, 2023

Duration:  Interview 20 minutes/Presentation 42 minutes

This recording has followed the guidelines of creating an accessible (section 508 compliant) video.

Environmental Historian Char Miller on “Biology, Conservation, and the Administrative State in Late 19th and early 20th C America"

Details:  Pomona College Environmental Historian Char Miller will explore the links between federal scientists, economic development and the emergence of a more powerful nation-state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inside government, the cadre of researchers in the Biological Survey, such as C. Hart Merriam, Vernon Bailey, and Florence Merriam Bailey, identified, cataloged, and mapped the nation’s flora and fauna with an eye to ascertaining its economic value. In the academy, botanists like JM Coulter and his student William L. Bray—among many others—collaborated with the Biological Survey and other Bureaus to contribute to this larger project of marrying the scientific enterprise with the country’s growth and development. Their collective activism expanded the range and reach of these agencies, and was particularly propelled by the energetic TR who did not just establish the first wildlife refuges and vastly expand the number and size of national forests, but in doing so constructed what Brian Balogh calls the Administrative State.

Presenter: Char Miller, Author

Char Miller is the WM Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and History at Pomona College and is author most recently of Hetch Hetchy: A History in Documents, co-editor of Theodore Roosevelt: Naturalist in the Arena and the Nature of Hope: Grassroots Organizing, Environmental Justice, and Political Change. Forthcoming is West Side Rising: How San Antonio’s 1921 Flood Devastated a City and Sparked a Latino Environmental Justice Movement and a biography of botanist/ecologist William L. Bray.

Recorded:  June 24, 2021

Duration: 57 Minutes

Glory of the National Parks with Jon Waterman

Details:  Author and explorer Jon Waterman presents a lecture and slide show on his new book Atlas of the National Parks, published by National Geographic.

Presenter:  Jon Waterman

Jon Waterman has worked as a wilderness guide and as a national park ranger, exploring—in boats, on foot, or on dogsleds—remote places and many of the 62 national parks. He has received numerous grants from the National Geographic Society Expeditions Council, and his award-winning writing and photography have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers.  He has written 14 books on adventure and the environment, including the National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks (November 2019) and Chasing Denali (November 2018).

Recorded:  September 15, 2020

Duration:  51 Minutes

Howard Zahniser: "Champion for the Wilderness" Film Screening

Details:  Author and filmmaker Jeffrey Ryan will screen and discuss his new film, Howard Zahniser: Champion for the Wilderness. Howard Zahniser (1905-1964) was the primary author and lobbyist for the Wilderness Act. A writer, researcher, and radio scriptwriter for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1930-1942, he also served as Executive Secretary of The Wilderness Society, starting in 1945. For the next two decades, he was an eloquent advocate for America’s wilderness lands, dying just a few months before the Wilderness Act became law. 

Presenter:  Jeffrey Ryan

Maine-based author, filmmaker & speaker Jeffrey Ryan has a passion for exploring the outdoors on foot and along the dusty paths of history. His travels on thousands of miles of America’s most famous and lesser-known trails have inspired several books including Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year Hike on America’s Trail and his 2019 historical novel entitled, Hermit: The Mysterious Life of Jim Whyte. Ryan’s interest in the history of America’s conservation movement led him to create a video series entitled Voices of the Wilderness, that showcase the enormous contributions of those who have advocated for the creation and protection of our wild lands. When he is not researching and writing, Ryan can be found exploring the backroads of the United States and Canada in his vintage 1985 VW camper. 

Recorded:  July 7, 2020

Duration: 53 Minutes

Injurious Wildlife Under the Misunderstood Lacey Act

Details:  What is the “Lacey Act” and how can it prevent invasions of injurious wildlife?

How can a conservation law from 1900 still be so relevant today?

The law commonly known as the “Lacey Act” has diverged over the years into two provisions, one of which is the Federal designation of injurious wildlife species. That purpose has always been to protect the United States from the introduction of invasive and otherwise harmful wildlife. Injurious listing prohibits the importation of wild vertebrates and some invertebrates that can cause harm to wildlife resources, humans, and other U.S. interests. However, most natural resource biologists and managers are more familiar with the more prominent provision of the “Lacey Act,” which tackles trafficking of wildlife and plants. What the “Lacey Act” is and isn’t and the difference between the injurious and trafficking provisions will be explained. The presentation will emphasize how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service focuses on adding high-risk wildlife species to the Federal injurious list before they become established and how effective that has been in preventing the establishment of those injurious animals. Finally, the relevance of injurious wildlife listing to the COVID-19 pandemic may surprise you.

Presenter: Susan (Su) Jewell

Susan is the Injurious Wildlife Listing Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, based in the headquarters in northern Virginia. She coordinates the regulatory listing of harmful wildlife species as injurious, which prohibits their importation. She is an authority on the 122-year history of injurious wildlife listing, known as part of the “Lacey Act”. Prior to her 12 years working on injurious wildlife, she spent 11 years with the Service’s Endangered Species program, and 12 years in the Everglades studying alligators, wading birds, fisheries, and ecosystem health. Su holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont and a M.S. in Systematics and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut.

Host:  Randy Robinson, NCTC, USFWS

Recorded:  January 5, 2023

Duration: 63 minutes

Jack Davis on his book-The Bald Eagle The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird

Details:  The Pulitzer Prize-winning author will discuss his sweeping cultural and environmental history of the bald eagle in America.
The Bald Eagle forces us to reconsider the story of America through the lens of our relationship to the natural world. As Davis reveals, no other animal in American history, certainly no avian one, has been the simultaneous object of such adoration and cruelty as the bald eagle – first beloved and hailed as an emblem of the rarefied natural environment of North America, then hated, and, finally, revered and protected.
Taking us from before the nation’s founding, when Indigenous peoples lived peacefully beside the eagle, through two nearly inconceivable resurgences in the 20th century when it was – not once, but twice – nearly brought to extinction by hunting and DDT, Davis recounts a panoramic history of the bird and the icon, through nearly five centuries.
In resurrecting the voices of environmental prophets who warned against DDT; the efforts of a remarkable cast of bird advocates and rescuers who – state by state, nest by nest – climbed trees, rescued eggs, and reintroduced fledges into the wild; and finally, charting the ecological redemption born from bipartisan legislation, Davis reveals the glimmer of a potential path forward as we grapple with environmental peril on a larger scale. The Bald Eagle is, too, Davis notes, a tale of American values and while patriotism and environmentalism may seem at odds today, “in the American historical context they are complementary at their core.”

Presenter:  Jack E. Davis
Jack is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea and An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century. The Rothman Family Chair in the Humanities at the University of Florida, he lives in Florida and New Hampshire.

Date Recorded:  June 16, 2022

Duration: 57 Minutes

"Mexican Wolves: Back from the Brink" with Maggie Dwire

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Maggie Dwire will discuss "Mexican Wolves: Back from the Brink".  This is an online rebroadcast from the live version held in the Entry Auditorium at the National Conservation Training Center on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Once extirpated from the wild and reduced to within 7 animals of extinction, the Mexican wolf is staging a remarkable comeback. A binational captive breeding program saved the subspecies from extinction and has grown to become one of the most reputable of its kind. Populations have been reintroduced into the wild in both the United States and Mexico, and the U.S. population reached more than 240 wolves in 2022. Once perilously close to extinction, the Mexican wolf is now in full pursuit of recovery, perhaps becoming known as one of the greatest success stories ever told under the Endangered Species Act.

Maggie Dwire is the Deputy Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With degrees in Biological Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Maggie started her career with the Service more than 20 years ago already focused on recovery of the Mexican wolf. Maggie’s responsibilities as Deputy Recovery Coordinator include recovery and management of the Mexican wolf both in the wild and as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's liaison to the binational captive breeding program.

Recorded:  May 26, 2023

Duration: 92 minutes

“Nature's Best Hope” with author Douglas Tallamy

Details:  The award-winning author and entomologist will discuss his new “Homegrown National Park” initiative.

Douglas W. Tallamy’s first book, “Bringing Nature Home”, awakened thousands of readers to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives.

In “Nature's Best Hope”, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it’s practical, effective, and easy—you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard.

If you’re concerned about doing something good for the environment, Nature’s Best Hope is the blueprint you need. By acting now, you can help preserve our precious wildlife—and the planet—for future generations.

Presenter(s): Doug Tallamy

Doug Tallamy is the T. A. Baker Professor of Agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 106 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 41 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.

His books include Bringing Nature Home, The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, Nature's Best Hope, a New York Times Best Seller and, The Nature of Oaks, winner of the American Horticultural Society’s 2022 book award. In 2021 he cofounded the “Homegrown National Park” program with Michelle Alfandari. His awards include recognition from The Garden Writer’s Association, Audubon, The National Wildlife Federation, Allegheny College, The Garden Club of America and The American Horticultural Association.  

For more information on the “Homegrown National Park” initiative and Tallamy’s books visit:

Date Recorded:  September 14, 2022

Duration:  76 Minutes

This recording has followed guidelines of creating an accessible (section 508 compliant) video.

Reintroducing Bald Eagles with FWS Biologist Craig Koppie

Details:  Craig will discuss his long term work with Bald Eagle reintroductions and current research on Eastern Golden Eagles.

Craig had an early fascination for wildlife, photography, climbing, and aviation, all of which helped to establish a 38 year career with the Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He has worked most of his federal career as an endangered species biologist and eagle/raptor coordinator at the Chesapeake Bay Field Office in Annapolis, Maryland. Integrating science, education and public outreach into his life’s work has culminated in hundreds of acres of permanently protected lands for eagles through conservation easements or deed restrictions. In part, these contributions helped to support the Service’s Chesapeake Bay Bald Eagle Recovery goal of long term habitat protection.

Recorded: April 22, 2021

Duration:  75 Minutes

Return to Us: Restoring Alaska’s Eklutna River 

Details: This powerful documentary film describes the effort to restore the Eklutna River. Produced by Ryan Peterson, award winning filmmaker of Super Salmon, this 8-minute film reveals the intertwined histories of the Eklutna Dena’ina Native people and Pacific salmon. The beauty and tragedy of the Eklutna River, the dreams of the Eklutna people, and the tenacity of salmon are revealed in this film and the discussion to follow with Meiklejohn.

The Eklutna River near Anchorage, Alaska, is the scene of the most ambitious river restoration project ever attempted in the state. First dammed for hydropower production in the 1920’s, the Eklutna is now the subject of a major recovery effort to establish a free-flowing river to benefit salmon and the Eklutna Dena’ina tribe. Beginning in 2015, The Conservation Fund launched a $7.5 million project to remove the Lower Eklutna River dam. As described in the film “Return to Us” the project was completed in 2018 to open the river to salmon once again after 90 years.

According to Meiklejohn: “Removing the Eklutna River dam was easily the highwater mark of my 30 year conservation career. We have done a lot of good here in Alaska since 1994, but nothing else has generated anything close to the excitement, attention and eagerness to help that we found on this dam project. This project united people across all boundaries and persuasions to the task of fixing a broken river. People love fixing things, and especially now there is a thirst for helping Nature in real, tangible ways. At the Eklutna we are putting Humpty Dumpty back together after 90 years of being broken.”

Presenter:  Brad Meiklejohn has been with The Conservation Fund in Alaska since 1994. The Conservation Fund is a national land trust based in Arlington, Virginia. Brad has served on the Board of Directors of the Murie Center and the Alaska Avalanche School, is past president of the Patagonia Land Trust and the American Packrafting Association, and the recipient of the Olaus Murie Conservation Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation.

Recorded:  March 4, 2021

Duration:  52 Minutes

Ripple of Hope: 50 Years of the Endangered Species Act and Triumphs in Freshwater Mussel Conservation

Details:  Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and learn more about freshwater mussel conservation innovations. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of one of the most endangered groups of animals in the U.S. and share success stories about how the ESA has helped protect these rare animals. Recent technology advancements with 3D scanning and printing of freshwater mussel shell replicas will be demoed! 

To learn more about the 3D scanning technology and applications at NCTC and beyond, check out Preserving our Underwater Animal Heroes story.

Recorded: December 7, 2023

Duration: 113 minutes

Silent Spring at 60 with author Linda Lear

Details: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1962, did more than any other single publication to alert the world to the hazards of environmental contaminants and to inspire a powerful environmental movement that would alter the course of American history. Join us online from the NCTC Studio where Dr. Mark Madison hosts an interview with author Linda Lear to discuss "Silent Spring at 60" and recall Rachel Carson’s 16-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Linda Lear is the author of the acclaimed biography, Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature (1997), She is also the editor of Lost Woods: The Discovered Writing of Rachel Carson (1998) - a collection of Carson’s writings over the course of her life. Linda Lear is the author of numerous academic and popular articles on Carson, as well as the author of introductions to the 40th and 50th anniversary editions of Silent Spring. (2002, 2012). 

Lear's biography of Carson was awarded the prize for the best book on women in science by the History of Science Society in 1999. Chatham University (Carson’s alma mater) conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters on Linda in 2008 for her research and writing on women in the environment. Lear’s research papers and adjunct collections dealing with Carson’s life, Carson’s friends and colleagues, and the controversy over Silent Spring form the core of the Lear/Carson Collection at The Linda Lear Center for Archives and Special Collections at Connecticut College in New London, CT. Lear is also the biographer of the English author, artist, and naturalist Beatrix Potter. Her prize-winning book, Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (2007) was published in the UK as Beatrix Potter: The Extraordinary Life of a Victorian Genius. (2008).

Recorded: December 8, 2022

Duration: 35 minutes

The Devils Hole Pupfish: Survival, Extinction, and Environmental History in the US West

Details:  Author and wildland firefighter Kevin Brown will present “The Devils Hole Pupfish: Survival, Extinction, and Environmental History in the US West”. The Devils Hole pupfish (cyprinodon diabolis) is an endangered fish species confined to one small habitat east of Death Valley, in southern Nevada. Despite its small range and population size—which has never been more than a few hundred individuals—this species has been a frequent subject of scientific study since the early twentieth century. The Devils Hole pupfish also became one of the first controversial endangered species of the modern environmental era, with “Save the Pupfish” and “Kill the Pupfish” bumper stickers circulating around Nevada in the 1970s. Kevin Brown uses tools from environmental history to examine the pupfish’s past and explore what the species’ recent history can tell us about survival and extinction.

Kevin C. Brown is the author of Devils Hole Pupfish: The Unexpected Survival of an Endangered Species in the Modern American West (University of Nevada Press, 2021). He earned his PhD in history at Carnegie Mellon University and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Brown first began writing about the Devils Hole pupfish while working as a researcher for the American Society for Environmental History and Death Valley National Park. He currently works as a wildland firefighter in California.

Devils Hole pupfish is one of the world’s rarest fishes, spending most of its life in the top 80 feet of the 93 degree waters of cavern in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Its habitat is one of the smallest natural ranges known for any vertebrate.

Date Recorded: February 2, 2022

Duration:  62 Minutes

The Home Place

Detail:  Author, naturalist, and Clemson University Wildlife Ecology Professor J. Drew Lanham gives an overview of his book, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature. Professor Lanham’s presentation describes a black naturalist’s improbable journey in a largely white field. 

Presenter:  J. Drew Lanham, a native of Edgefield, South Carolina, J. Drew Lanham is the author of The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature, which received the Reed Award from the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Southern Book Prize and was a finalist for the John Burroughs Medal. He is a birder, naturalist, and hunter-conservationist who has published essays and poetry in publications including Orion, Audubon, Flycatcher, and Wilderness, and in several anthologies, including The Colors of Nature, State of the Heart, Bartram’s Living Legacy, and Carolina Writers at Home. An Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher at Clemson University, he and his family live in the Upstate of South Carolina, a soaring hawk’s downhill glide from the southern Appalachian escarpment that the Cherokee once called the Blue Wall. 

Recorded: January 27, 2021

Duration: 60 Minutes

The Tie that Binds: Rosalie Edge, Conservation, and Women's Suffrage (00:43:25)

 Details:  Author Dyana Furmansky presents a lecture on her book "Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy." Rosalie Edge, well-known for creating the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, challenged early 20th century conservationists to protect endangered birds. This progressive New York socialite and suffragist-turned-environmentalist became known as a “Joan of Arc” and a “hellcat” in defense of nature. This lecture comes to us 100 years after the U.S. Congress ratified the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.   

Presenter:  Dyana Furmansky coauthored These American Lands: Parks, Wilderness, and the Public Lands. Her articles on nature and the environment have appeared in the New York TimesAmerican HeritageAudubonHigh Country NewsSierraWilderness and many other publications.    

Recorded: June 8, 2021

Duration:  43 Minutes 

This Land Was Saved for You and Me with author Jeffrey Ryan

Details: This Land Was Saved for You and Me follows the arc of the creation and protection of America’s parks, forests and wilderness areas through a series of rather remarkable inter-generational handoffs that began in the 1860s and continue to this day. In fact, the genius of these conservation giants was in both identifying the need to establish and manage lands for the public good and identifying those most capable of nurturing and growing the concept in the decades to come.

Presenter: Jeffrey H Ryan is an author, adventurer, photographer, and historian. He has written several books about his outdoor exploits, his fascination with hiking trails and the people and places found just off the beaten path. His books are known for weaving a deep appreciation for history into walks across contemporary landscapes that give readers the feeling they are hiking right alongside. When Jeff isn’t trekking, chasing down a great story, or spinning yarns from his keyboard, he enjoys sharing his adventures with audiences who love the outdoors. The author will sign copies of his book after the event

This talk is as part of NCTC’s Conservation Lecture Series, which is cosponsored by The Friends of the NCTC (

For more information, please contact Mark Madison (304-876-7276)

Date Recorded: Please note this was previously recorded live on October 14 in the Bryd Auditorium at the National Conservation Training Center.

This recording has followed guidelines of creating an accessible (section 508 compliant) video.

"Wild by Design: The Rise of Ecological Restoration” with author Laura Martin

Details: Wild by Design examines how in our age of biodiversity crisis, many wild species will not survive without acts of human care. What should that care look like? And how can ecological restoration be made socially just? In her new book, historian and ecologist Laura Martin ask what we can learn from the past century of ecological restoration, including the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from predator eradication to captive breeding to assisted migration. 

Presenter(s): Laura J. Martin
Laura is a historian and ecologist who studies how people shape the habitats of other species. She is the author of Wild by Design and articles in journals including Environmental History and Science. Her writing and research have been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. She is an environmental studies professor at Williams College and is working on a global history of hormonal herbicides. 

This talk is part of NCTC’s Conservation Lecture Series and co-sponsored by The Friends of the NCTC ( 

Recorded:  November 17, 2022

Duration:  72 Minutes