NSF sponsored Global Long Term Human Ecodynamics Conference, Eagle Hill, Maine.

October 15th-18th 2009

Chairpersons and affiliations

The chairpersons for the conference are Dr. Astrid Ogilvie (INSTAAR and U. Colorado), Dr. Andy Dugmore (School of GeoSciences, U. Edinburgh), Dr. Sophia Perdikaris (CUNY Honors College and Graduate Center) and Dr. Tom McGovern (Hunter College CUNY and Graduate Center). This organizing committee has collaborated on organizing many prior international conferences and has worked closely with the venue organizer Joerg-Henner Lotze of the Humboldt Institute on both conference and publication projects recently. We anticipate very active participation by the invited scholars and working group chairs will be selected from the participants.

Meeting Organization

The meeting will be structured to move rapidly from introductions and initial briefing work to more direct interaction between teams, scholars, modelers and experts. The participants will be asked to provide 3-5 pdf articles describing their work and their group results to date plus 2-3 pdf articles which they find particularly useful in providing a broader perspective on Human Ecodynamics research today. These readings will be circulated by email/web posting by August 15th to allow everyone the opportunity to do the background reading and come with prepared. We will have a mixer the first evening (14th October) and the following day we will open with a short overview / objectives talk followed by an introduction of all participants with a three-slide 5 minute "who am I and what do I do" presentation. We will also ask teams representing areas (N Pacific, SW US, coastal S America, Labrador/Greenland, N Atlantic, Caribbean, Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica/Maya, Oceania) and research foci (Environmental History, Climatology, Conservation Biology, TEK and Outreach) to do 20 minute presentations followed by 10 minutes or so of discussion. We expect that these presentations and discussions will take up days one and two and will allow us to identify major topics for integrative discussion for day 3 and 4. On day 4 morning we will ask the modelers attending to do a joint presentation on models and digital tools for understanding and presenting complex interactions of humans and environment over space and time. A final sense of the community draft discussion will end the meeting, but follow up by email and Skype conferences will definitely follow for several months after.

Topics for Community Discussion

  • Human impacts, social complexity, and long term sustainability
  • Environmental constraints: water, weather, catastrophe
  • Threshold crossing, alternate stable states, and long term continuities
  • Managing variability through time and space
  • Demographics, Migrations, Extinctions
  • Making a difference- connections of past present and future
  • Education and public involvement in global science
  • Digital tool kit expansion

Scientific Products of the Conference

  • Improved international and interdisciplinary communication among scholars working on Human Ecodynamics.
  • A detailed sense of the community statement (problems, potentials, research opportunities, research blockages, tools needed, areas for inter-regional collaboration) will be developed to provide a benchmark for further work and a community based agenda for action.
  • A series of integrative papers directly comparing processes of long term human ecodynamics across world areas.
  • A set of enhanced digital tools for modeling and visualization that will advance research, education and outreach in all areas: sharing best practice and avoiding duplication of effort.
  • Creating the ground work for a permanent Global Human Ecodynamics Consortium of scholars and institutions aimed at maintaining and expanding the collaboration established by this meeting.

Educational Products of the Conference

  • Integration of TEK and community based science into the widest possible range of interdisciplinary projects and programs. Community involvement in science and education will move forward as a primary scholarly objective from the beginning.
  • Sharing of digital tool kit with educators and community heritage groups so that they can benefit directly from new visualization tools and place-based map delivery of information.
  • The GPS+ Camera= Empowerment Project: At the 2008 NABO meeting in Bradford, the community statement put great emphasis on using simple digital tools now available at relatively low cost to empower local residents and school systems to record and map-reference disappearing archaeological sites, erosion events, place names, vegetation changes and other aspects of rapid global change. Thanks to support to the NABO IPY project, we have been able to implement the purchase and distribution of hand held GPS and small (but capable) digital cameras and work with the NABO webmaster Anthony Newton to develop a very friendly interactive interface which will allow schools and other local users (including science projects) to upload a wide range of digital data (video, high resolution images, text, songs, pdf, databases) via a Google Earth location bubble. The map-based interface for delivering data has already become very popular and is a way of providing widely accessible intuitive connection of place with content. We will use the working meeting to fully disseminate this research and education tool among the projects and participants and to solicit ideas for improvement and upgrades.