Ooh how nice to see the upcoming beaver conference get some positive press! I hope that gets many more curious people in the door.
CANYONVILLE — Oregon’s official state animal, the beaver, plays an important role in the state’s wetland ecosystems. Those advocating for the beaver plan to convene next month for a series of presentations focusing on beaver ecology as a crucial part of threatened species recovery.
The fifth State of the Beaver Conference, slated for Feb. 22-24 at the Seven Feathers Convention Center in Canyonville, is meant “to provide an international venue for academia, agency and stakeholders together to disseminate information pertinent to beaver ecology,” according to Leonard Houston, conference coordinator and co-chair of the Beaver Advocacy Committee (BAC) of the South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership.
“We chose the theme of ‘agents of regeneration’ largely to highlight the role that beavers play both in natural regeneration, which is ecological succession, and designed regeneration, which is restoration ecology,” Houston said.
The nicest part about this conference, and there are many, is that the famous names you have been reading about for years here or elsewhere are walking or sitting right next to you. Or coming up to say ‘hi’ and ask
about your presentation. The truth is that it is both a blessing and unfortunate that the science of beaver ecology isn’t yet so advanced that names like Woodruff, Obrien or Pollock can send
their undergrads to do the presenting for them and report back if they find anything interesting. As renowned as they are, they have to do their reporting in person and are eager to share ideas and learn from each other. They’re even happy to hear what you have to say.
Admittedly,they are probably even happier if you invite them out for a beer to say it. (And happier still if you offer to pay for it. Government salaries being what they are.)
The point is, I think this is a golden moment in time where beaver science hasn’t become dominated and controlled by lofty minds and big research institutions. You can contribute, you can interact. They need you! But already the world is starting to shift. More and more folk are interested in taking charge of the beaver meme, and it won’t be easy and collegial forever.
Beavers are getting so famous, you better come this year. Just to be on the safe side.