The recent annual meeting of the Connecticut Association of Conservation and Inland Wetland Commissions (CACIWC) in Cromwell saw a record number of attendants, with representation from almost all towns. The turnout was attributed to the highly relevant topic of “Preparations for a Changing Climate: Impacts on Connecticut Climate and Populations” and to the conference’s prestigious keynote speakers.
Maria C. Kayne of Woodbridge, a member of the Board of CACIWC, introduced the keynote speakers at the November 18 event, which was the association’s 40th annual meeting. Kayne was a long-time member of the Woodbridge Conservation Commission and its chairman for six years. She is also a former member of the Woodbridge Board of Selectmen.
Invited were members of all Conservation commissions and Inland Wetland commissions of the 169 Connecticut municipalities. There were also several key environmental organizations, members of the business community, legislators and exhibitors. Kayne said the conference rooms were filled with citizens who expressed concern about the effects of a changing climate upon the Connecticut landscape, agriculture, the quality of air and water and other natural resources, as well as wildlife and human health.
Keynote speakers featured. Robert Dubrow, MD PHD, professor of epidemiology (environmental health) and faculty director of the Yale Climate Change and Health Initiative; David Skelly, PHD, director of Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; and Professor F. Oaster, an ecologist with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Dr. Dubrow focused on climate change and human health and Dr. Skelly on the effects of climate change on the natural world around us. Both speakers explained how decisions members of the conference and society make regarding all aspects of land use will virtually affect the health of the Earth and its people. “They emphasized that all things are connected and added a dire prediction if we do not act now,” Kayne said.
Their challenge set an inspiring tone and spirit for the conference. The day was filled with workshops and presentations across a broad scope of interests and issues affecting local communities. There were numerous discussions about tools and remedies to aid and resolve impending impacts to our environment and climate.
“It was quite evident that, in spite of the current Federal policies and Connecticut’s funding scenario , there exists a strong force even at the grassroots level committed to protecting and improving the environment to ensure a future of healthy, diverse ecological systems vital to human survival,” Kayne said.