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

Birds and Birding in Israel (00:23:49) Recorded October 3, 2019.

NCTC Historian, Mark Madison, hosts a studio interview with Jonathan Meyrav. Jonathan is the tourism director of the Israel Ornithological Center (IOC), and coordinator of the “Champions of the Flyway” project, an international birding competition that raises funds and awareness to combat the illegal killing of birds along flyways. 

From the volcanic steppes of the Golan Heights to the jagged Granite peaks of the Eilat Mountains, over 540 species of birds have been recorded in Israel to date. Besides a wide range of regional specialty species, Israel also hosts one of the biggest and most important avian migration corridors in the world. This interview will discuss the tremendous richness of birds and wildlife of Israel and the work being done to protect the natural habitats and birds of this swiftly developing country.

Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists (01:01:13) 

NCTC Historian, Dr. Mark Madison, hosts a studio interview with author Tom Benjey.  June 28, 2018.

Glorious Times: Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists by Tom Benjey tells the fascinating, true, and important story of an American clan of Scots-Irish that settled in the early 1700s in Pennsylvania. From this clan came an astonishing number exceptional people, many of whom dedicated their lives to the study and conservation of nature. Glorious Times even poses the question as to whether this family had a special "Naturalist DNA" in their genetic heritage. Glorious Times covers many generations, but appropriately focuses most attention on the famous siblings Frank Jr., John, and Jean (Craighead George). Glorious Times will be of immense attraction to readers with an interest in the history of environmentalism and conservation in America. For more information on the book and author, visit:

Howard Zahniser: Champion for Wilderness (00:40:41) Recorded:  July 7, 2020

FWS Historian, Mark Madison, hosts an interview with author & filmmaker, Jeffrey Ryan. They discuss Ryan’s 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.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. 

Nature's Allies: Lessons from Great Conservationists (01:58:13) Recorded:  October 21, 2020

FWS Historian Mark Madison, hosts an interview with author Larry Nielsen on his new book,  

Nature's Allies: Eight Conservationists Who Changed the World. In the first hour we’ll meet Larry and learn about his work.  

In the second hour, Larry will discuss his book, Nature’s Allies. 

In eight biographies—John Muir, Ding Darling, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Chico Mendes, Billy Frank Jr., Wangari Maathai, and Gro Harlem Brundtland, Nielsen writes about individuals who have little in common except that they all made a lasting mark on our world. Some famous and some little known to readers, they spoke out to protect wilderness, wildlife, fisheries, forests, and wetlands. They fought for social justice and exposed polluting practices. They marched, wrote books, performed acts of civil disobedience, rallied global leaders and, in one case, were martyred for their defense of nature. Nature’s Allies pays tribute to them all as it inspires a new generation of conservationists to follow in their footsteps. 

Larry Nielsen is Professor of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University. Previously, he was Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at North Carolina State University from 2005-2009. Before that appointment, he was Dean of the College of Natural Resources at NC State (2001-2004), Director of the School of Forest Resources at The Pennsylvania State University (1994-2001) and a faculty member and later head of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Virginia Tech (1977-1994). 

Potomac River History (00:41:56)

Historian Mark Madison interviews James D. Rice. July 26, 2019.

James Rice is the Walter S. Dickson Professor of History and Chair of the History Department at Tufts University. He is the author of two books, Nature and History in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson, and Tales from a Revolution: Bacon's Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America. His current research includes an environmental history of Native North America from Oaxaca to the Arctic and from the first human habitation to the present.

Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy (00:48:16) Recorded: June 9, 2020

Maria Parisi, NCTC, hosts an interview with author Dyana Furmansky 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 event comes to us 100 years after the U.S. Congress ratified the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.   

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.