Plenary Session


The 2018 Plenary Session Theme is:

Conservation Delivery in Changing Times


and will feature the following speakers (more information to come):




Dr. Karl Brooks
Clinical Professor of Public Leadership, LBJ School of Public
Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; former Region 7 Administrator, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency; former associate professor of history and environmental studies, University
of Kansas

“IT’S NEVER BEEN THIS BAD SINCE LAST YEAR: PERENNIAL POLICY STRUGGLES AMONG PEOPLE 
ABOUT NATURE”

Kansas’ and America’s present conservation policy picture seems out of focus, a blur amid
turmoil in Washington, D.C., uncertainty in Topeka, and deepening frustration across the
country. Conservation professionals, and the public they serve and advise, may feel that things
are bad, and getting worse fast. Without diminishing one bit the importance of current policy
tensions, a little historic perspective will help situate the conservation community amid a long-
running national dialogue about how people should manage the natural world, and themselves.
Fortunately for the conservation community, they have always played a crucial part in driving
this dialogue, and will have many opportunities in the near future to share their knowledge and
to apply their dedication. Anxiety may be an appropriate emotion. Gloom should not become
an operating strategy.


Jamie Konopacky is a research attorney and watershed policy fellow with the Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative. As the Initiative’s lead attorney on watershed policy issues, Jamie focuses on addressing sediment and nutrient-laden runoff from urban and agricultural areas through small-scale watershed planning and implementation. Jamie has conducted on-the-ground research in Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin to identify successes in small-scale watershed planning involving urban and agricultural land uses. In her policy role, Jamie works with local stakeholders, conservation districts, trade groups, state and federal agencies, and state and federal lawmakers to identify ways to integrate important insights from her field research into local, state and federal water and agricultural policies. Most recently, Jamie has focused on identifying ways to integrate voluntary small-scale watershed planning into Farm Bill conservation programs. In her academic capacity, Jamie has recently published articles that provide in-depth analyses of how to evolve existing state and federal policies to scale-up HUC12 scale watershed planning and implementation and increase voluntary implementation of scientifically sound agricultural best management practices as well as required urban stormwater best management practices. Prior to joining Harvard, Jamie worked as an associate at Godfrey & Kahn in Milwaukee, WI and worked in Washington D.C. on sustainability, energy and environmental issues for the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs and the NAACP. Jamie received her J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School and graduated from the University of Wisconsin with honors with a degree in philosophy.




Stephen Jones

Applying Nature's Wisdom and Inspiration to Conservation Delivery


Stephen B. Jones began serving as Fairmont State University’s interim president on July 1, 2017. He has a Ph.D. with a specialization in resources management from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York Syracuse, and a Bachelor of Science degree in forestry from the same institution. His faculty experience includes tenured faculty roles at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Science; North Carolina State University in the College Of Natural Resources; Auburn University in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; and Pennsylvania State University in the School of Forest Resources.
Jones founded the Nature Based Leadership Institute at Antioch University New England in 2015 while serving as that institution’s president. He has authored two books on the subject – Nature Based Leadership: Lessons for Living, Learning, Serving and Leading and as well as the recently released Nature-Inspired Learning and Leading: Revealing and Applying Nature’s Wisdom.
Jones and his wife of 45 years, Judy, reside permanently in the Tennessee Valley region of northern Alabama. He also serves the CEO of Great Blue Heron, a consulting company.
Jones is a native of Cumberland, Maryland.