Howard Milstein Opens the Milstein Science Symposium at the American Museum of Natural History

April 9th, 2013

On April 9, 2013, Howard Milstein welcomed participants to the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Science Symposium 2013. The subject of the Symposium was “Understanding Ecological and Social Resilience in Island Systems: Informing Policy and Sharing Lessons for Management.” The American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and its partners organized the three-day symposium that brought together local resource managers, researchers, educators, island leaders, policy makers, and other leading conservation practitioners to present and analyze real-world resilience case studies.  Central to the symposium was understanding resilience: the ability of ecological and social systems to absorb, resist, or recover from stressors and adapt to change while maintaining critical ecosystem functions and benefits.

In his remarks before the program began, Howard Milstein recalled the Milstein family’s long association with the Museum. “I’ve always felt at home here, ever since my mother brought us as kids to the Whale Room, a long time before it was the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. And we’ve been privileged to support this museum for two generations,” he said. “Given that long history, it’s a special joy to welcome such a distinguished group of speakers. You’ve come from around the globe to address the theme of islands, a topic that takes on urgency with each shift in climate and ecology, and each shift of the major and minor tectonic plates that undergird many of world’s major islands.”

Island ecosystems present unique challenges for conservation due to distinctive ecological and evolutionary processes and vulnerability to threats. The Milstein Science Symposium explored case studies that exemplify responses to disturbance of change in order to elucidate patterns and processes that foster resilience. Through sharing lessons learned and fostering networks of island managers who are addressing similar challenges, the symposium deepened manager insight into how to promote the resilience of coastal systems, particularly in tropical small island nations, as well as strengthen networks among island leaders, international scientists, and policy makers, paving the way for ongoing collaboration in the future.

The Milstein Science Symposium is proudly sponsored by the Irma and Paul Milstein Family.

Source: American Museum of Natural History

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