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Thursday, March 4, Idea Exchanges

Presentation Descriptions

9:00-10:00am EST

Relationships, History, Hip Hop and Forestry: Thinking about Diversity and Inclusion
Thomas RaShad Easley, Yale University

Living life aware of intersectionality provides the impetus to creatively engage diversity in a space where personal identities influence how people view one another. To successfully navigate the nuances within this kind of complex environment requires developing relationships across many identities and appreciation of everyone’s experiences. Through his personal/professional history, Easley has integrated hip hop, ministry and forestry in his pedagogy. Now at Yale, the scholarship of adult education and the experiences from activism contribute to his practice. Using that lens like a prism, he works to see the many layers of each individual to guide his decision making in my day to day duties.

10:15-11:15am EST

Empathy Tech: Leveling the Conversation and Shifting How We Design in the Public Realm
Sandra Nam Cioffi, Ink Landscape Architects

Empathy is rooted in meaningful communication between one’s self and the existence of an “other” person, place, or thing. It is having a sense of humanity, where compassion and a sensitivity towards others is felt. Technology tends to erode this invisible line of meaningful communication and instead makes that exchange transactional, thus stripping away any sense of humanity. How can technology cultivate empathy to rebuild trust, engagement, social interaction, and self-awareness to root emotional intelligence in our work as designers of the public realm? Can we find a way to use technology to bring about a more sustainable future for engaging communities and constructing landscapes which heal? In this presentation, we will explore ways in which empathy tech can play a critical role in the design process and in the construction of our built landscapes.

12:45-1:45pm EST

Rewild in 10 Action Steps
Anna Fialkoff, Wild Seed Project

Entomologist Douglas Tallamy identifies a minimum of 70% native plant biomass in our landscapes needed to safeguard wildlife habitat, support biodiversity, and mitigate the effects of climate change. Wild seed Project recently launched an initiative that motivates people to meet this threshold through a holistic approach –  it is called rewilding and anyone can do it whether you have farmland, a yard in the suburbs, a hell strip in an urban neighborhood, or no land of your own. Fialkoff will walk you through what it means to rewild in 10 action steps.

2:00-3:00pm EST

Panel Discussion: Defining “Native” in a Changing Climate 
Moderator: Dan Jaffe Wilder, Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary

Jesse Bellemare, Smith College; Matthew Charpentier, Oxbow Associates; Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, Colby College; Michael Piantedosi, Native Plant Trust;  

Traditional definitions of “native” rely on time and place to determine the nativity of a species. While this method has merit, numerous issues arise when a hard line is placed on either time or place. How do we deal with plant adaptations to a human-altered landscape? What about species migrations? How do we determine “natural spread” when we compare the movement of plants from animals versus people? Most of all how might this definition of native work in terms of a changing climate and all of the issues associated with such an event. In The Living Landscape Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke propose a definition of native based not on time and place but on ecological interactions or as they put it “complex and essential relationships.” Where might this definition offer benefits in our changing climate? Where might it fail?

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