It is February 1998. I am sitting in the office of a United States Senator in Washington D.C., about to discuss the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and wondering what I—a conservation biologist with training in freshwater fish ecology but no political experience or inclinations whatsoever—am doing in such a place. My graduate training in evolutionary and population ecology certainly did not anticipate this or prepare me for this day. As I rush from one Congressional office to another to speak to our elected representatives or their “staffers,” I feel ill‐prepared to influence national policy. Far out of my home range and native habitat, with my customary jeans and casual shirts in my home closet, wearing my only business suit (reserved for politicking and funerals), I dutifully try to convince those in power that reauthorization of a stronger Endangered Species Act is critical and that certain provisions of the proposed law are weak and scientifically indefensible. Overall, the effort goes well and people seem to listen, but my first foray deep into the jungles of Washington politics left me with more questions than answers and more convinced than ever that conservation scientists need to inject good science into policy,
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Aug 24, 1998
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