When is Conservation? Spirituality, Nature and Cultural Evolution in the 21st Century

Gabe Epperson

Executive Director, Whatcom Land Trust

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The modern conservation movement was founded to counter large-scale degradation and loss of wildlife habitat and to preserve natural areas as a refuge from human development and the "ills of society." With the twin crises of climate change and growing social inequality, how can we re-envision a conservation movement for the 21st Century that helps heal not only the damage that has been done to the natural world, but also to our human communities. Conservation can be a framework for environmental, societal and spiritual reconciliation.

Gabe Epperson Standing in a field

Gabe Epperson has a background in Urban Planning and large-scale environmental planning with a focus on public outreach. He was the Planning Director at Envision Utah for 5 years, completing the Blueprint Jordan River and Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow projects, which included thousands of Utah residents and led to the formation of the Jordan River Commission and the protection of hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat and recreation lands in the Salt Lake Metro area. Mr Epperson moved to Bellingham in 2015 to do land acquisition and conservation planning for the Land Trust. Since joining the Land Trust he has helped create a new Land Conservation Plan with public input from hundreds of Whatcom County residents and has led numerous land purchases and conservation easement acquisitions protecting many new farms and habitat areas. Gabe has been the Executive Director at the Land Trust for 3 years and is leading the charge to integrate conservation and community engagement through innovative approaches to land protection and management such as community forests and farming for food & wildlife.