Written by: Dolly Potts, Agricultural Research Assistant

I attended the 11th Annual Nelson Institute Earth Day Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. The conference was held April 18, 2017 in the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. A beautiful building designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright sits on the shores of Lake Monona. The building’s design is spectacular and I was happy to have spent the day there.

The first session that I attended was The Future of Food. The presenters talked about how we will feed a growing world.  Some of the technology and social issues these choices will affect are health and culture. Irwin Goldman, Professor and Chair, Horticulture, UW Madison presented about an issue surrounding the ownership of seeds. The Open Seed Source Initiative is an organization working towards freeing the seeds. The other presenters spoke of adapting to the social issues and population of the earth today.

The second session I attended after lunch was Who Owns the Future? This session was about how today’s environmental decisions affect future generations. The moderator was Patty Lowe, Professor of Life Sciences Communication at UW-Madison. I liked Patty; she led a very interesting session.

What made this session so interesting was 18 year old high school student, Victoria Barrett, activist with Earth Guardians. She is part of the 21 plaintiff suit, Our Children Trust. It is a suit involving the rights of children to have a say in environmental quality and natural resource availability. The suit was declared to have merit and is in federal court. Victoria is from New York and spoke of how she became involved with the suit.

I enjoyed the conference immensely. There was a hall full of exhibits where I did some networking and met some very interesting individuals. Everyone was involved with the environment and ecology. The presenters, whether they were students or professors, led the sessions were very well and were knowledgeable and committed to the subject.

“The two most significant responsibilities we have as a society are the education of our youth and the preservation of our Resources”, Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day.