It was an honor to have guest lecturer Dr. Jennifer Norris at the 2023 UCLA La Kretz Center Public Lecture to speak about her work leading California’s 30×30 Initiative and the importance of sound science in protecting our state’s biodiversity. Dr. Norris serves as the Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat at the California Natural Resources Agency and has extensive experience in conservation policy, endangered species protection, and ecosystem management. Additionally, the Director of the La Kretz Center, Dr. H. Bradley Shaffer, spoke about the California Conservation Genomics Project (CCGP) and how the CCGP aims to use 21st-century genomic methods to assist in developing conservation strategies that will benefit the 30×30 Initiative.
During the post-lecture reception, several La Kretz Center postdoctoral researchers spoke with attendees about their work in conservation. This interaction allowed the public to meet UCLA scientists and hear about groundbreaking projects that the La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science supports. Postdoctoral researchers included Drs. Samantha Catella, Robert Cooper, Dave Daversa, Sarah Helman, Zachary MacDonald, Olivia Sanderfoot, and Erin Toffelmier.
Overall, the 2023 Public Lecture was successful in bridging the gap between conservation scientists and Southern Californian conservation advocates. Inclusivity is the forefront goal of this annual event. It encourages the local community to learn about current conservation issues, approach professionals with questions, and discover how they can contribute to California conservation science!
The La Kretz Center would like to thank Dr. Jennifer Norris, each of the postdoctoral researchers who participated, and all of the event attendees. We would also like to give a special thanks to the event’s cosponsors: the UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability and the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden.