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Science conference round-up - Sound News

Science conference round-up

By Sound News reporter Christina Madden

As a follow-up to the three day science conference sponsored by the Puget Sound Partnership I was able to speak with Chris Townsend, special assistant to the executive director of the Puget Sound Partnership.  Townsend shared his overall thoughts about the conference and was able to provide me with specific numbers.

Exceeding the conference capacity, 1100 participants took advantage of the conference that held about 40 sessions.  Each session chair was asked to leave time at the end of their presentation in order to hold a conversation about what the next steps would be and if there were additional questions from participants.

A main goal of this conference was to “advance conversation about issues that are not understood,” said Townsend explaining that people need to be aware of the problems in order to take action against them.

Highlights of the conference included both the opening and closing plenary sessions reported Townsend.  He explained that the opening plenary included an overview of a 1993 scientific panel and an evaluation of where we’re at today.  It was also decided that there needs to be a high level call to action.  In order to do this, a science panel will reconvene to move forward and assess what needs to be done for the future.  The closing plenary “pulled people out of the professional and bureaucratic approach” said Townsend and allowed them to understand how they can make a difference in their world.

The Puget Sound Partnership will be posting a link on their website in the next week or two with the “100 next step action questions” to further probe people to get into their communities and be active in regards to environmental action.

When asked if the conference was a success for their organization, Townsend responded “I believe we were.”

There were no problems reported by Townsend, although he mentioned it would have been beneficial for Governor Gregoire to be present.  She sent her regrets though and has an “ongoing commitment to the Sound,” said Townsend.

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