The first annual Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summit was held on April 21-23 in Washington, DC. This summit brought together scientists, environmentalists, artists, engineers, and civic leaders to share conservation success stories from across the planet. The summit drew in over a thousand attendees, representing 25 countries and engaging audience of all ages. Presentations and panels focused on what’s working in conservation today and how we can scale up these diverse successes to sustain our planet.
The NPS Biological Resources Division’s Community Stewardship Program (CSP) represented the National Park Service (NPS) as participants, facilitators and speakers, inspiring people to become citizen scientists and engage locally and globally in biodiversity conservation and restoration and working at landscapes levels in conservation connectivity. CSP highlighted a successful partnership between the NPS and iNaturalist and the importance of observing biodiversity in your own backyard. By using the iNaturalist website and app, people can become citizen scientists by simply taking photos of the natural world around them. After they take a photo, the data is uploaded to iNaturalist and crowdsourced to identify the species. Anyone interested in the data can then download it from the website for free. Summit participants could explore iNaturalist data from 2016 BioBlitz events and were encouraged to download the app and give it a try.
After three days of presentations and discussions about conservation successes, attendees came away feeling inspired and motivated to take action, large and small, personally and collectively and to build upon, enhance, and implement models of success throughout the world, at the local level and landscape level.
To learn more about the CSP program, visit our website here.
And to watch recorded videos from the summit, click here.