The first Oklahoma Biodiversity Forum on March 5, 2016 attracted 67 attendees representing 7 universities and colleges, 4 state agencies, 3 federal agencies, 3 consulting firms, several non-profits, 1 high school, and an rural electric cooperative. The expertise at the Forum covered mammals to lichens, climate change to citizen science, and land managers to homeschool educators.
The discussion questions were intentionally open-ended for this first meeting of conservation biologists. In the morning, small group discussions covered the importance of education, making connections with landowners, involving others through citizen science projects, and better ways to share information within the Oklahoma Biodiversity Network and with the public.
The afternoons sessions were more focused on potential projects that could be taken up by members of the Network. Groups developed topics that were important to Oklahoma and could be addressed by network members within the next year. The most popular ideas were then sent back for group discussion to draft a potential project for that topic. Below are the project ideas that resulted from the discussion. Volunteers were recruited to lead the project; their name and contact information is also listed.
Top Project Ideas
Under-surveyed Taxa and Areas, examine current information to identify taxa or regions that need survey work – Richard Butler, firstname.lastname@example.org
Splash Event, similar to BioBlitz!, but goal is a community service project that has conservation value – Priscilla Crawford, email@example.com
Recreate Oklahoma Springs Project, survey springs and organize a multi-investigator collaboration – Ricky Cothran, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ecofriendly Highways, reduced mowing and promote native plants – Jeremy Ross, email@example.com
Encourage Native Plant Use, building a collaboration with other groups to promote the use of native plants in public spaces – Sheila Strawn, firstname.lastname@example.org
Natural Areas Website, promoting interesting areas with natural history information online – Todd Fagin, email@example.com
Website Resource List, creating a clearinghouse for biological conservation information online – Jessa Watters, firstname.lastname@example.org
OBN Stamp of Approval, developing a certification type process for entities and projects – Stephanie Rainwater, email@example.com
Click on name and title for PDF of poster.