Mainstreaming Biodiversity in the Decade of Action A virtual symposium during Spring 2021

A four-part virtual symposium series to expand networks and inspire creative strategies to promote biodiversity in urban, agricultural and natural areas, to improve human and ecological health and well-being.

purpose & goals

  • A global movement has emerged to mobilize governments, civil society, businesses and all people to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals within the next 10 years.
  • Among the key goals are the need to ensure biodiversity and a healthy bioeconomy.
  • Biodiversity is critical for healthy ecosystems, producing plentiful nutritious food, and human well-being.
  • Supporting and expanding biodiversity requires creative and cross-disciplinary approaches that bring together scientists and stakeholders.
  • Penn State is a world leader in the study and management of biodiversity across agricultural, natural and urban landscapes.
  • This symposium will foster synergies across the expertise and perspectives of multiple Penn State colleges, institutes, and centers as well as partner institutions.
  • The goal of the symposium is to inspire innovative collaborations, which will be supported by a seed grant program.
  • Funding for the seed grant program is being provided by the Sustainability Institute, Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Ecology Institute, and Insect Biodiversity Center.


The symposium opens on January 13 with a keynote presentation by David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary, U. N. Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal. Weekly symposia will follow between January 20 and March 24, 2021. All sessions, including the keynote, are from 1:25 pm to 2:30 pm and are free and open to everyone. However, registration is required as you join the ZOOM meeting. Please see the schedule below. To apply for seed grant funding, at least one member of a collaborative team needs to have registered for 1 or more sessions.

opening session

January 13 with David Cooper

David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary, U. N. Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal

Humanity at a Crossroads: What transformative changes are needed to achieve the UN global biodiversity targets?

For more information, please see the recently released Global Biodiversity Outlook 5

section 1: value of biodiversity

week 1, January 20

  • Darla Lindberg, Mass Amnesia (even the memory of what was lost is lost): seeking modern lessons from post-agrarian mistakes
  • Vikas Khanna, Mapping the economic dependence of US agriculture and industry sectors on insect-mediated pollination service
  • Karl Zimmerer, What drives value? Integrating food, land use, and livelihood models with sociocultural analysis of biodiversity

week 2, January 27

  • Melissa Kreye, Social and economic values associated with private forests, wildlife and water resources
  • Derrick Taff, Value of protected areas and biodiversity for outdoor tourism and human well-being
  • Lilly Zeitler and Bronwen Powell, Increasing diversity in agricultural landscapes with indigenous trees and wild foods for improved diet quality and climate resilience

section 2: biodiversity in a changing world

week 1, February 3

  • Toni Lyn Morelli, Impacts of global change on biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Julian Avery, Biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene
  • Sarah Ivory, Why time matters, future biodiversity inferred from ancient archives

week 2, February 10

  • David Miller, Integrating data streams to measure wildlife community responses to land-use and climate change
  • Margot Kaye, Global change impacts on eastern deciduous forests
  • Joshua Trey Barnett, Mourning Biodiversity: Ecological grief and earthly coexistence

section 3: tools for supporting biodiversity

week 1, February 24

  • Christina Grozinger, Beescape: a decision support ecosystem for bee health
  • Kristina Douglass, Integrative and inclusive approaches to studying human-environment interaction in a global biodiversity hotspot
  • Alex Klippel, Immersive experiences for place-based education and decision making

week 2, March 3

  • Melanie Kammerer, Developing a generalizable, data-driven method to estimate landscape floral resources for bees
  • Yanghui Kang, Harnessing remote sensing and machine learning to map ecosystem dynamics
  • Lucas Heintzman, Grassland recovery and dynamic connectivity of a drylands Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site

section 4: strategies to expand biodiversity efforts

week 1, March 17

  • Shannon Cruz, Applying communication science to build support for biodiversity conservation
  • Allyson Brownlee Muth, Peer volunteer networks to conserve biodiversity and care well for the land
  • Juliet Pinto, News production of biodiversity in comparative perspective

week 2, March 24

  • Doug Wentzel, Promoting biodiversity via environmental education and public outreach
  • Harland Patch, Designing resilient and regenerating plant-pollinator communities: lessons from the Penn State Arboretum and Solar Farms
  • Jason Kaye and Erica Smithwick, LandscapeU: A graduate research traineeship in regenerative landscape design

steering committee

Christina Grozinger, Publius Vergilius Maro Professor of Entomology, Associate Director of Research, Institute for SAFES, Director, Insect Biodiversity Center

Karl Zimmerer, Miller Professor of Environment and Society Geography

Derrick Taff, Assistant Professor of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management

Erica Smithwick, Professor of Geography, Director of Ecology Institute, Associate Director of the Institute for Energy and the Environment

Jason Kaye, Professor of Ecosystem Science and Management, Chair of Ecology Intercollege Graduate Degree Program

Shannon Cruz, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences

Natalie Boyle, Assistant Research Professor of Entomology, Director of Educational Programming, Insect Biodiversity Center

Julian Avery, Assistant Research Professor of Ecosystem Science and Management and Curator, ESM Natural History Collections

For questions about the symposium or seed grant program, please contact Christina Grozinger, Sustainability Institute Scholar in Residence, cmg25@psu.edu.

Created By
Diana Malcom