More than 1200 people from 57 countries converged on Madison last week (October 5-11) to attend the 5th World Conference on Ecological Restoration. Sponsored by the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), the conference was a homecoming of sorts for both the Society that was formed in Madison 25 years ago, and for the discipline itself that has its origins in the early restoration work initiated at the UW-Madison Arboretum in 1934.
A highlight of the conference for many was the opportunity to participate in a volunteer restoration project either at the Madison Arboretum or the Lakeshore Nature Preserve on the shores of Lake Mendota. Called Make A Difference Day Event (MADDE), the pre conference restoration work day on Sunday October 6 attracted more than 40 conference volunteers to each site where they removed pest species, collected seeds of native plants, and compared notes with fellow restorationists from around the world.
The MADDE day at the UW-Madison Arboretum was reported on by Susan Bence of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio (89.7 FM). Click here to listen to the story first broadcast on WUWM on Wednesday October 16. This is an excellent report that captures not only the personal spirit of civic engagement and learning that fuels the global restoration movement but also the ecological principles that provide the scientific foundation for the multifaceted discipline of ecological restoration.
Made A Difference Day Event (MADDE) was planned and organized by the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the SER2013 conference. Nancy Aten of Landscapes of Place (a SER 2013 conference sponsor) and LOC Vice-chair took the lead in planning MADDE activities. The event was sponsored by Weston Solutions, also a SER 2013 conference sponsor.