Zoologists Delia and Mark Owens to speak at annual Rachel Carson forum at Evergreen

April 26, 2006

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Renowned zoologists Delia and Mark Owens will deliver a lecture entitled “High Stakes Conservation: Saving Elephants by Giving Alternative Jobs to Poachers” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2 at The Evergreen State College’s Longhouse Education and Cultural Center. The event is free and open to the public.

During their lecture, the zoologists will initially discuss the severely diminished state of the elephant population in the North Luangwa Park, Zambia upon their arrival in 1986. They will provide a detailed account of their successful and charismatic effort to obstruct poaching through the provision of education, health care, and sustainable alternative jobs for local villagers, as well as their effort in aiding Zambian government game scouts. They will also explain how over the following ten years, with poaching controlled, they were able to conduct one of the most intensive and longest running research projects focused on a heavily poached elephant population. As a result, today 20,000 villagers have improved quality of life, poaching has declined significantly, and the elephants are recovering.

Delia Owens, Ph.D., and Mark Owens M.Ed., have conducted research and conservation projects on endangered species in Africa for 23 years. Together they have authored three books, Cry of the Kalahari The Eye of the Elephant and their most recent, published this year, Secrets of the Savanna. They also founded the Owens Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, whose mission is to foster, fund, institute, underwrite, and in other ways promote wildlife conservation research, education, and wildlife resource protection and development with particular emphasis on threatened species and their habitats in Africa and North America.

2006 marks the 16th annual Rachel Carson Forum, one of the largest free events open to students and the public on the Evergreen Campus. The forum is hosted by the Graduate Program in Environmental Studies and funded by student activities fees. The Rachel Carson Forum was founded by former Master of Environmental Studies student Eli Sterling. The forum was designed to bring a prominent environmental speaker to the Evergreen campus annually. Students in the graduate program elect the speaker.

The forum honors Rachel Carson (1907-1964) who is probably best known for Silent Spring her book that chronicles the impacts of pesticides on ecosystems. A well known piece of scientific synthesis, Silent Spring created an ecological theory of pesticides that remains substantially intact today, over 40 years after her book’s publication. Carson's writings were important in building the philosophy of modern environmental protection.

For more information, contact Evergreen’s Master of Environmental Studies program at (360) 867-6707.