Dr. Liz Smith - Annual Whooping Crane Festival in Port Aransas, Texas
Dr. Liz Smith is a native Texan, and the rich, coastal environment has been an intimate part of her life. With age, the uncomfortable realization that the coastal landscape was changing became an ever present thought. Native habitats are shrinking and becoming fragmented as well as limited in productivity and abundance. Yet, newcomers see it as unspoiled, fresh and tantalizing; coastal populations encompass over 1/3 of Texas inhabitants and tourism is an important economic venue. Her career and life path have focused on finding ways to balance increasing human population numbers and their need for land and water while maintaining a sustainable coastal ecosystem. As a coastal ecosystem ecologist, her career has been an interactive journey with other scientists, resource managers, and conservationists. Through their photography and art, Liz and her husband, Dave, have also endeavored to convey the beauty of the coastal native diversity and increase awareness of the delicate web of life in the Texas Coastal Bend. The fortuitous connection with the International Crane Foundation as their Whooping Crane Conservation Biologist in coastal Texas has provided the opportunity to focus 100% of her efforts on finding viable alternatives that will maintain the system integrity of our coastal environment for cranes and people.
TOPIC: ”Saving Whooping Cranes: The Texas Coast Commitment”
The international range of Whooping Cranes that covers over 2,500 miles from Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in coastal Texas creates a conservation challenge for complete recovery of this endangered species. Since the last wild population winters in our area almost six months every year, our commitment to saving these cranes’ habitat and quality of life will also ensure that our future generations will enjoy coastal life as we know it. Liz Smith, Whooping Crane Conservation Biologist for International Crane Foundation, will highlight the crane’s ecological requirements and initiatives being undertaken by our conservation community in the Texas Coastal Bend.
SESSION: Friday, February 22 from 9 to 10 a.m.
LOCATION: The University of Texas Marine Science Institute