SEJ's 21st Annual Conference Agenda — Friday





Agenda Coverage Registration Lodging/Transportation Español About Miami



As a journalism organization that believes in an open society, SEJ each year welcomes a diverse group of attendees to our annual conference. Attendees include representatives of business, government and environmental groups, as well as working journalists, academics and students.

Because non-journalists are here, you may see or hear presentations or responses to presentations that you might not expect from mainstream journalists. The presentations and any responses do not necessarily reflect the views of SEJ or any of its members.

As our guest, you should respect our interest in open discussions of environmental issues by thanking all participants in sessions you attend and not disrupting presentations of views you disagree with.

Finally, please respect our rule that SEJ members are given preference during question-and-answer sessions.

All sessions, as well as registration, exhibits and breaks, will be at the InterContinental Miami Hotel,
100 Chopin Plaza, unless otherwise indicated.

Note: The conference agenda is a rough draft only. All information is subject to change. Please check back often for updates and information on event times, speakers, etc. 


Friday, October 21, 2011


7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sign up for Beat Dinners and Mini-Tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn’t sign up ahead of time for the Saturday evening party, or Sunday morning breakfast, there may still be room — please check with registration.

Location: Outside the Grand Ballroom (near elevators)


SEJ Information Table

Sign up here for Mini-Tours. Find information about membership and services, pick up copies of SEJournal, TipSheet, FOI WatchDog, and other publications.

Location: Outside the Grand Ballroom (near elevators)


Books and Books

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Visit Books and Books, Miami’s independent, locally owned bookstore, on site in SEJ’s exhibit area, where you will find a variety of books for sale, written by SEJ members, invited speakers and University of Miami professors.

Location: Ballroom Foyer in front of the Oxford room


Exhibitor Displays

Browse through the wealth of information offered by our independent exhibitors. Talk with experts about their hopes for new environmentally friendly innovations. Learn about educational opportunities. Add to your list of sources. Step outside to test-drive prototype alternative-fuel vehicles. Also in the conference area: Don't miss SEJ's Reading Room with our members' work on display.

Location: Mezzanine


Breakfast Plenary — Communicating Science: Reporters Go Head to Head with Top Ocean Scientists

7:00 - 8:45 a.m.

From extreme weather, to climate change and ocean acidification — bridging the chasm between science and society has never been more urgent. Top journalists will interview four of the nation's leading scientists for their unvarnished views on why living in the coastal zone will become increasingly dangerous, to explore the link between climate change and extreme weather, and hear why ocean acidification should be on everyone's radar screen. Join this panel of leading scientists and journalists to investigate the issues and discuss how reporters can work with scientists to bring the latest, most relevant and accurate information to readers, listeners and viewers. Bring your tough questions and an open mind and participate in this fast-paced discussion that will kick-start the conference. SEJ dedicates this session to the memory of Stephen Schneider (1945 - 2010), Stanford University climatologist and lifelong champion for better communication between scientists and journalists. Coverage.

Moderator: Nancy Baron, Outreach Director, Ocean Science, COMPASS

Dirk Asendorpf, Science and Environmental Reporter, Die Zeit (broadsheet weekly) and Public Radio, Germany
Steve Curwood, Host and Executive Producer, "Living On Earth," Public Radio International
Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth blogger, The New York Times; and Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, Pace University
Ken Weiss, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times

Dee Boersma, Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science, Department of Biology, University of Washington; and Founder and Executive Editor, Conservation Magazine
Rebecca Goldburg, Director, Ocean Science Division, Pew Environment Group
Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Marcia McNutt, Director, U.S. Geological Survey

Room: Grand Ballroom


Beverage Break and News Conference Podium

8:45 - 9:00 a.m.
The News Podium is a first-time effort by SEJ to offer a "soap box" to businesses, non-government organizations, and government bodies to present their potentially newsworthy plans, products and perspectives to the world's largest gathering of environmental journalists. SEJ provides a microphone and floor space; content of the presentations is entirely the responsibility of the convening organizations. (A News Podium flyer is available at the Registration Desk.)

All conference attendees are welcome to attend, but SEJ’s longstanding rules of engagement apply: The journalist-members of SEJ get priority in asking questions.

Taking Stock Online
Convener: Commission for Environmental Cooperation

"Taking Stock Online" is a potential goldmine for reporters: An integrated, multi-year database covering over 500 toxic substances and almost 100 major industrial sectors in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. It's a remarkable tool that improves the public's (and journalists') access to information on toxic discharges and transportation, and is graphics- and Google Earth-friendly. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation is chartered by the governments of the US, Mexico and Canada to "facilitate collaboration and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment." CEC executive director Evan Lloyd is scheduled to give the presentation.

Location: Mezzanine East near registration


Opening Plenary — Fish Fight

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.


Scientists have been warning for a decade that the modern era — with overfishing, offshore oil and gas drilling, and global warming — has depleted many fish stocks to dangerously low levels. Federal and regional managers in the U.S. have begun to respond, imposing curbs on fishing across the country and working to devise new approaches to governing the sea. But these measures have prompted an outcry both from some of the people who fish for a living, and those who serve up the daily catch to voracious consumers across the globe. Panelists will include high-profile marine scientists, a working fisherman and a sportfishing representative. All of them will grapple with the question: have we reached the limits of the sea’s abundance, or is there more beneath the waves? Coverage.

Moderator: Juliet Eilperin, National Environmental Reporter, The Washington Post; and Author, Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks

Jim Donofrio, Executive Director, Recreational Fishing Alliance
Steve Gaines, Professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, and Dean, Donald Bren School of Environmental Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara
George Geiger, Fishing Guide and Recreational Fisherman, and former Member, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Daniel Pauly, Professor, Fisheries Centre & Zoology Department, University of British Columbia; and Principal Investigator, Sea Around Us Project
Nils Stolpe, Communications Director, Garden State Seafood Association, and Webmaster,, and

Room: Grand Ballroom


Beverage Break and News Conference Podium

10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
The News Podium is a first-time effort by SEJ to offer a "soap box" to businesses, non-government organizations, and government bodies to present their potentially newsworthy plans, products and perspectives to the world's largest gathering of environmental journalists. SEJ provides a microphone and floor space; content of the presentations is entirely the responsibility of the convening organizations. (A News Podium flyer is available at the Registration Desk.)

All conference attendees are welcome to attend, but SEJ’s longstanding rules of engagement apply: The journalist-members of SEJ get priority in asking questions.

Convener: Oceana

More than a year after Deepwater Horizon, many claim that offshore drilling is safer. But upon close scrutiny, new regulations won’t prevent another spill. While BOEMRE has issued some new rules, they fall woefully short of what’s needed to protect Americans from another catastrophic, expensive spill. Oceana will present new research on the effectiveness of the new safety measures, in light of the many failures that led to last year’s spill.

Presenter Jackie Savitz is a senior marine scientist and climate/energy campaign director for Oceana, a non-profit conservation group that works to restore and protect oceans.

Location: Mezzanine East near registration


Concurrent Sessions 1

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Freelance Pitch Slam
Writers read carefully prepared pitches in 60 seconds to a panel of editors. Editors then critique the queries — explaining why the pitch would or would not work in their publications — and offer tips for improving the pitch. Editors reveal which sections of the magazine are open to freelancers and which sections are generally off limits. While editors are not prepared to make assignments on the spot, some of last year's pitches led to published stories. We encourage writers to craft their pitches in advance, with as much care as an actual e-mail query. Please note the moderator will use a stopwatch to help keep pitches to 60 seconds. Coverage.

Moderator: Sharon Oosthoek, Freelance Writer and Editor

Scott Dodd, Editor,
Douglas Fischer, Editor, The Daily Climate
Robert Kunzig, Senior Environment Editor, National Geographic Magazine
Angela Posada-Swafford, U.S. Senior Science Editor, MUY INTERESANTE Magazine
Michael Todd, Online Editor, Miller-McCune

Room: Theater

Connecting the Mining Frontier and the Corporate Hometown
How are Latin American countries and international investors meeting the challenges of the 21st Century boom in metal mining? Scrutinizing some of the most newsworthy mining projects across the region, panelists will recount hair-raising experiences and present proactive positions to help journalists identify local story angles on the globalized themes of voluntary and mandatory mechanisms for environmental protection and conflict reduction in the extractive industry. Stakeholder representatives of the indigenous, environmental, corporate, and government sectors will express contrasting viewpoints. Coverage.

Moderator: Talli Nauman, Co-director, Journalism to Raise Environmental Awareness

Santos de la Cruz Carrillo, Traditional Wixarika (Huichol) Indigenous Authority and Attorney, AJAGI
Anthony Hodge, President, International Council on Mining and Metals
Francisco Pineda, 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize Recipient for South and Central America; and Founder / President, Cabañas Environmental Committee / Comité Ambiental de Cabañas El Salvador
Keith Slack, Program Manager, Extractive Industries, Oxfam America

Room: Sandringham

The BP Spill and the New Future of Offshore Drilling
The BP spill last summer forced deep reflection on both the environmental costs and the regulation of offshore drilling. Now, with Arctic drilling also on the table, the panel will examine what role offshore drilling should have in future energy production in the U.S. Key questions include: How effective can regulatory changes be in preventing another spill? How will regulators meet critical budget and staffing challenges made apparent by last year’s spill? Where is the balance between environmental stewardship and economic development? And does the public hold reasonable expectations about the environmental risk that accompanies its demand for energy? Coverage.

Moderator: Abrahm Lustgarten, Energy Reporter, ProPublica

Walter Cruickshank, Deputy Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior
Elgie Holstein, Director, Strategic Planning, Environmental Defense Fund
Erik Milito, Director, Upstream Operations, American Petroleum Institute

Room: Windsor

Pollution Politics: Conservatives Attack Conservation, GOP Looks To Gouge Environmental Budgets
Republican presidential candidates are going from hot to cold when it comes to their position on global warming. Meanwhile, conservatives and Tea Party-types in Congress and statehouses on an anti-regulatory, anti-big government agenda have made environmental regulations and budgets their No. 1 target. Political pendulums swing all the time. But experts say the severity of attacks on environmental regulations are the worse they’ve seen since the U.S. EPA was created by Republican President Richard Nixon. Not all Republicans are happy with the direction some in the party are taking. Environmentalists meanwhile are fuming that President Barack Obama hasn’t fought back hard enough. Coverage.

Moderator: Dina Cappiello, Environment/Energy Reporter, The Associated Press

Steven Brown, Executive Director, The Environmental Council of the States
Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
David Goldston, Director of Government Affairs, Natural Resources Defense Council
Lisa Heinzerling, Professor of Law, Georgetown University
David Jenkins, Government Affairs Director, Republicans for Environmental Protection
Mike McKenna, President, MWR Strategies

Room: Balmoral

Climate Change As a Cultural Issue
This panel will explore climate change from a cultural and social science perspective. We’ll discuss effective ways to communicate climate change and talk about what social sciences have to teach us. We’ll explore what marketers know about communicating environmental issues and discuss the psychology involved in this shared problem. We’ll also consider public awareness and understanding of environmental issues, and the role that businesses and government officials play in establishing that awareness. Coverage.

Moderator: Adriene Hill, Multimedia Reporter, Marketplace

Shahzeen Attari, Assistant Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
Kenneth Broad, Director, Leonard and Jane Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami; and Co-director, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, Earth Institute, Columbia University
Michel Handgraaf, Associate Professor, Economics of Consumers and Households, Wageningen University

Room: Alhambra

Untold Environmental Success Stories in Industry and Government
Environmental journalists are sometimes criticized for not giving enough coverage to success stories. Whether it's a corporation, government agency or non-profit, critics say success breeds success, that winning creates momentum in a society. SEJ has assembled several compelling success stories that have, so far, received little or no coverage. They're all here at one time to tell their stories: from the greening of the trillion-dollar medical industry to green-minded developers who invest beyond what the market demands or cities require to a corporation with $12 billion in annual sales while reducing its footprint and the footprint of its customers. Coverage.

Moderator: Kevin Corke, Anchor, NBC Miami; and former White House Correspondent, NBC News

Yalmaz Siddiqui, Director of Environmental Strategy, Office Depot
John Turchin, Developer, The Lodges at Eagles Nest (Banner Elk, NC)
Eric Wenke, Baptist Health South Florida (Coral Gables, FL)

Room: Michelangelo

Plate-Centric America: The Bottom Line is Social Good
The good food movement — an emphasis on organics, eating locally, sustainable agriculture — is not just about better food on our plates. For some, it is a matter of survival. In Indian country, tribes are working to return to traditional foods as a health and cultural imperative. African American farmers, whose roots in the soil are also community roots, are bracing for a changing climate. For others, it is a mission, including a national food service company whose bottom line includes sustainable foods and a foundation that will address climate change by supporting agricultural innovation. The panel will describe the value of sustainable food systems from perspectives other than the consumer. Coverage.

Moderator: Jackleen de La Harpe, Freelance Journalist

Leonel Perez, Farmworker Leader, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Rita Williams, Community Educator and Policy Coordinator, Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative (Ocmulgee, OK)
Helene York, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation (Palo Alto, CA)
Kolu Zigbi, Program Officer, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation (New York City, NY)

Room: Raphael

Covering Disasters Without Becoming One
Floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, chemical leaks, plane crashes, plagues of locusts — journalists can wind up in some pretty hazardous venues. A notebook, pen, and camera won’t keep bad stuff from happening to you. So how do you get the story without becoming a statistic in the story? Join us as veterans of covering natural and manmade disasters — from hurricanes to dam breaks to wildfires — offer their experiences, safety tips, and perhaps even a list of items to stock in your go-kit. Coverage.

Moderator: Randy Loftis, Environment Reporter, The Dallas Morning News

Michael Kodas, Photojournalist, Reporter, Pulitzer Prize Winner, and Author, High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed
Mark Schleifstein, Hurricane and Environment Reporter, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune; Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner; and Co-Author, Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms

Room: Chopin Ballroom


Network Lunch and Breakout Sessions

12:15 - 1:45 p.m.

Enjoy an informal discussion on any of the topics listed below. Just grab your lunch in the back of the Grand Ballroom and locate the numbered discussion table that corresponds to your choice. A Network Lunch flyer is also available at the Registration Desk.

Concurrent with the small-group discussions, the following two breakout sessions are first-come, first-served. Pick up your lunch and beverage in the Ballroom and head to the nearby rooms.

1. Everglades Around the Globe
There is only one Everglades. But there are a few places around the world with similar issues. Gonzalo Merediz, executive director of Amigos de Sian Ka’an, talks about his work in the wetlands of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Dr. Curtis J. Richardson of Duke University tells about the restoration of the Iraqi marshes. And Joe Browder, a pioneer in the restoration of the Everglades and a Washington environmental consultant, puts the work in the Yucatan and in Iraq into perspective with the Everglades.

Moderator: Joseph Treaster, John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Cross-Cultural Communication, School of Communication and Knight Center for International Media, University of Miami

Joe Browder, Environmental Consultant and Partner, Dunlap & Browder
Gonzalo Merediz, Executive Director, Amigos de Sian Ka’an
Curtis Richardson, Professor and Director, Duke University Wetland Center, Nicholas School of the Environment

Room: Chopin Ballroom

2. Dolphins: The Success Story Is Threatened
A generation ago, many societies collectively seemed to agree that protecting this charismatic species was a good idea. Yet, the Academy-award-winning documentary "The Cove" shocked viewers with its bloody chronicling of wholesale dolphin slaughter in Japan. Ric O'Barry, the activist behind the film and the trainer of the original Flipper here in Miami, will speak his mind loud and clear at this panel and give you the behind-the-scenes account of the film and his radical activism. You'll also hear from scientists examining one of the most toxic populations of wild dolphins, swimming right outside the conference windows in downtown Miami.

Moderator: Michele Gillen, Chief Investigative Reporter, WFOR-CBS Miami

Hardy Jones, Executive Director, BlueVoice
Ric O'Barry, Marine Mammal Specialist and Campaign Director, Save Japan Dolphins, Earth Island Institute

Room: Theater

Small-group Discussions

  1. Drugs, Guns and Parks: The Environmental Impact of the War on Drugs. Laurel Neme, journalist/author, Animal Investigations; Eder Jimenez, El Espectador newspaper, Colombia; Andrea Obaid, director Neurona Group, host, Radio Coopertiva, Chile
  2. Oil Drilling in the Arctic: The (Final) Final Frontier? Seth Borenstein, Associated Press; Dorothy Childers, associate director, Alaska Marine Conservation Council USA; Marilyn Heiman, director U.S. Arctic Program, Pew Environment Group
  3. Understanding Congress’ “Push Me/Pull You” Approach to Public Lands Protection. Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; Lindsay Woods, Senior Associate, Campaign for America's Wilderness, Pew Environment Group
  4. Uncontacted Tribes in the Deep Amazon: Where Human Rights Meet Environmental Protection. Scott Wallace, journalist/photographer/author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes
  5. Procreate Already: An Update on the Eastern Whooping Crane Partnership. Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio; Tom MacKenzie, USFWS; John Brand French Jr., Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, USGS. Coverage.
  6. Environment and Women’s Health in Developing Countries. Meaghan Parker, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Patricia Okoed-Bukumunhe, news editor, Capital Radio, Uganda; Imelda Abano, president, Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists, Inc.
  7. Who’s Your Daddy? Genomics and Genetics Revolutionize Wildlife Conservation. Dawn Stover, freelance journalist; Kay Briggs, wildlife geneticist, USGS
  8. Sequestered! Biological and Geological Carbon Sequestration. Janet Raloff, Science News; Jonathan Smith, geographic analysis and monitoring program; and Douglas Duncan, energy resources program, USGS
  9. Encyclopedia of Life: Exploring Living Nature One Species at a Time. Sharon Oosthoek, freelance journalist; Breen Byrnes, Encyclopedia of Life
  10. Get to Know Your PIO: Building Relationships to Get at Better Stories. Carolyn Whetzel, president, SEJ, correspondent, BNA, Inc.
  11. From Green Leaves to Green Turtles: Costa Rica's Take on the Environment. Michelle Soto, reporter, La Nación; Vivian Mendez, Eugenia Jurado, and Guillermo Ortiz, Grupo Pachira, Tortuguero Area Tourism Bureau, Costa Rica.
  12. The Last Ocean Project: Using Multimedia and New Technologies to Cover Global Ocean Issues. Cassandra Brooks, news director, The Last Ocean Project; John Weller, photographer/project director, The Last Ocean Project
  13. Reporting in the Year of Seven Billion: Storylines for a Growing Population. Ken Weiss, Los Angeles Times; Geoff Dabelko, director, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson Center
  14. Practice Safe Reporting: Tips and Tricks from the Frontline. Tim Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun; Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune
  15. Hydrofracking, Water Resources and Earthquakes. Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica; Speaker TBA
  16. Serpents in Eden: Reptile Conservation Challenges in Florida. Craig Pittman, St. Petersburg Times; Frank Mazzotti, associate professor of wildlife ecology, University of Florida. Coverage.
  17. SEJ’s Diversity Task Force. Emilia Askari, Detroit Free Press; Derrick Jackson, The Boston Globe; Ayana Meade, freelance environment writer
  18. SEJ 2012, Texas Tech. Randy Loftis, 2012 conference chair and Dallas Morning News


Concurrent Sessions 2

2:00 - 3:15 p.m.


A Storytelling Playshop: Can Environmental Coverage Be Funny?
How can we cover a heavy subject like the environment — global warming, species collapse, industrial pollution — with a light touch? Even though I created a humor website about climate collapse ( and use humor as managing editor of NUVO, I don’t have many answers, but you might. Like last year’s session: Bring your own materials to share in this playshop — and/or materials you’ve found that you think are effective. We’ll take turns sharing, and talk through issues regarding journalism in all its platforms and its ability to cut through the noise (and fear, denial, etc…) for the purpose of attracting an audience to your content. Coverage.

Moderator: Jim Poyser, Managing Editor, NUVO

Stephanie McMillan, Editorial Cartoonist, "Code Green"

Room: Theater

Do Tropical Forests Have a Future?
The world’s tropical forests have been dubbed both the “Earth’s lungs” and a “green hell.” Far from a single ecosystem, a tropical forest is a quilt of diverse, interrelated ecosystems that are home to many species not yet named by science, and which affect climate beyond their borders. Deforestation — some of it driven by consumer demand in the U.S. and Canada — is a serious problem in the Amazon basin and Mesoamerica, affecting water and nutrient cycling and emitting greenhouse gases. This panel will discuss current research in the biogeochemistry of tropical forests, the impacts of forests on climate and climate on forests, the consequences of deforestation and land-use change, and community-based forest management as a conservation strategy. Coverage.

Moderator: Barbara Fraser, Freelance Journalist, Lima, Perú

David Bray, Professor, Department of Earth & Environment, Florida International University
Emilio Bruna, Associate Professor, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation/Tropical Conservation and Development Program, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida; and Associate Editor, Biotropica
Christopher Neill, Senior Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA)

Room: Sandringham

The Day after Tomorrow: Changing Atlantic Ocean Currents and Future Climate
Hollywood's over-the-top take on climate change, "The Day After Tomorrow," got it partly right: when it comes to future climate change, the behavior of the Atlantic Ocean's currents will be of utmost importance in determining how hot (or cold) it will be in Europe and North America. Whether these currents slow or speed up, and how salty and hot they become will also have a hand in determining everything from African and Indian monsoon rainfalls, to hurricane patterns in the southern Atlantic. A panel of experts tells you what you need to know to better understand the issue and to find compelling stories in this under-reported area of climate science. Coverage.

Moderator: Nancy Bazilchuk, Author and Freelance Journalist

Nancy Gassman, Natural Resources Administrator and Representative, Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, Natural Resources Planning and Management Division, Broward County
Igor Kamenkovich, Associate Professor, Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami
Christopher Meinen, Oceanographer, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Susan Skemp, Executive Director, Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Florida Atlantic University

Room: Windsor

Busting the Bad Guys: Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws
After the first Earth Day, Congress passed a raft of environmental laws designed to clean up the nation's pollution and save its endangered wildlife. Some of those laws carried criminal penalties. Forty years later, technology has made it easier to enforce those laws, but budget cuts and politics have become a bigger obstacle. How effective are the laws now, and the people in charge of making sure they're followed? What could be done to make them work better? Coverage.

Moderator: Craig Pittman, Reporter, St. Petersburg Times

Henry Barnet, Director, Office of Criminal Enforcement, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Laurel Neme, Author, Animal Investigators: How the World's First Wildlife Forensics Lab is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species; and Host, "The WildLife" Radio Show
Jerry Phillips, Director, Florida Chapter, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Luis Santiago, Special Agent-in-Charge, Southeast Region, Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Room: Balmoral

Florida’s Iconic Critters
Florida is home to some of the most iconic and unusual animals in America, perhaps the world. Yet they reflect the very same struggle against habitat loss as wildlife in other cities. Top experts examine the extraordinary efforts under way — or not under way. Florida's quirky critters make for great stories: Pink Flamingos are essentially extinct in Florida yet found everywhere as plastic lawn ornaments. Florida Panthers are North America's rarest mammal. Goliath Grouper, the 400-pound gentle giants of the sea, are protected only by a controversial fishing ban. Alligators and crocs, found together only in South Florida, are making a stunning comeback. And manatees are under attack by some coastal developers and the boating industry. Coverage.

Moderator: Ari Odzer, Reporter, NBC Miami

Sarah Frias-Torres, Schmidt Ocean Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, Ocean Research & Conservation Association (Goliath Grouper)
Paul Gray, Okeechobee Science Coordinator, Audubon of Florida (Flamingos)
Frank Mazzotti, Associate Professor, University of Florida (Alligators and Crocodiles)
Pat Rose, Executive Director, Save the Manatees (Manatees)
Matthew Schwartz, Executive Director, South Florida Wildlands Association (Panthers)

Room: Escorial

Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples on the Frontlines
From the Arctic to the Amazon, indigenous communities around the world are uniquely vulnerable to a changing climate. Desertification, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, species migration: "place-based" peoples may be among the first to feel these impacts of climate change on their lives and livelihoods. But their shared store of traditional ecological knowledge may offer new adaptation strategies that we could all learn from. How can reporters cover these often isolated communities on the frontlines of climate change, and share their stories — and their potential solutions? Coverage.

Moderator: Geoffrey Dabelko, Director, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Margaret Hiza Redsteer, Research Scientist, Flagstaff Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey
Sarah James, Board Member/Spokesperson, Neet’sai Gwich’in, Arctic Village
Scott Wallace, Author, The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes

Room: Alhambra

Diseases and Chemicals: Are Environmental Exposures Fueling Our Worst Epidemics?
Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and asthma are epidemic in the United States and much of the world. Are environmental chemicals playing a role in triggering such diseases? Scientists will discuss the latest evidence, and give you tips on coverage. For example, recent research suggests that some chemicals, dubbed "obesogens," alter energy balance to favor weight gain and obesity. Another fascinating new area of research is the role of epigenetics in asthma. Many experts suspect that chemical exposures in the womb are turning genes on or off and programming babies to set out on a path toward diseases later in life. Coverage.

Moderator: Marla Cone, Editor, Environmental Health News

Bruce Blumberg, Professor, Departments of Developmental and Cell Biology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine
Kristina Thayer, Director, Office of Health Assessment and Translation, Division of the National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Room: Michelangelo

China and U.S. Energy Policies: Green or Mean on the Environment?
China is growing and modernizing at a pace and scale never before seen in history, while the U.S. is mired in an economic downturn, caused in large part by rising energy prices. Indeed, given the different economic circumstances that grip both countries — one soaring and the other in a serious slump — they nevertheless view energy production as the top national priority. And both countries, despite real progress in clean energy development in China and waning alternative energy interest in the U.S., are pursuing energy strategies designed to perpetuate their fossil-fueled economies. In the U.S. that means spending $100 billion to drill for, process, transport, and market fuels from tar sands and deep shale gas and oil. In China it means producing over 3 billion metric tons of coal this year. In both countries it means expanding damage to natural resources and climbing levels of carbon in the atmosphere. Coverage.

Moderator: Keith Schneider, Senior Editor, Circle of Blue

Christine Boyle, Research Fellow, Environmental Finance Center, University of North Carolina
Joshua Freed, Vice President, Clean Energy Program, Third Way
Jonathan Lewis, Staff Attorney and Climate Specialist, Clean Air Task Force
Dan Weiss, Senior Fellow and Energy and Climate Expert, Center for American Progress

Room: Raphael

Trouble in the Fishbowl: Making the Aquarium Trade More Sustainable
There are pet shops — and this story — in every town. Aquarium hobbyists depend in large part on a ready supply of live fish and invertebrates from the world’s imperiled tropical reefs. Poor handling and long supply chains can mean that many creatures die in transit or soon after arrival. In the South Pacific, destructive collection takes a heavy toll on habitat and attempts to introduce more sustainable practices have collapsed, whereas collection zones in Florida and Hawaii are comparatively well managed. Some voices are calling for new solutions. Will they come from the industry, NGOs, tougher regulation, or development of aquaculture and better handling practices for fickle fishes?

Moderator: Rebecca Kessler, Science and Environmental Journalist

Christopher Buerner, President, Quality Marine
Ted Morton, Coral Reef Wildlife Campaign Director, Environmental Defense Fund
Ken Nedimyer, President, Coral Restoration Foundation Inc.; and Owner/Operator, Sea Life Inc.
Brian Tissot, Professor, School of Earth and Environmental Science, Washington State University

Room: Chopin Ballroom


Special Newsmakers Forum

3:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Bring your pad and pencil, journalists, to this specially scheduled Newsmakers Forum, as SEJ makes available to you one of the top names in environmental issues.


Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle, widely known as "Her Deepness," is not solely the leading female ocean explorer and advocate, she is among the planet's most passionate and thoughtful protectors of the environment. Your jaw will drop and your pencil will move furiously when she details for you her deadline for acting on climate change.  Coverage.


Location: Grand Ballroom


Beverage Break and News Conference Podium

4:00 - 4:30 p.m.
The News Podium is a first-time effort by SEJ to offer a "soap box" to businesses, non-government organizations, and government bodies to present their potentially newsworthy plans, products and perspectives to the world's largest gathering of environmental journalists. SEJ provides a microphone and floor space; content of the presentations is entirely the responsibility of the convening organizations. (A News Podium flyer is available at the Registration Desk.)

All conference attendees are welcome to attend, but SEJ’s longstanding rules of engagement apply: The journalist-members of SEJ get priority in asking questions.

A Better Way to Fish
Convener: Oceansmart, Inc.

Hans Jusseit is a veteran longline tuna fisherman and managing director of OceanSmart. The "Smart Hook" is designed to minimize the longline fishery's impact on seabirds, sea turtles and other "bycatch."

Location: Mezzanine East near registration


SEJ Membership Meeting

4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
All SEJ members should plan to attend the annual membership meeting. Our agenda includes board elections to fill three seats and brief reports on SEJ programs, finances and membership. This is your opportunity to share ideas and talk about SEJ issues that are important to you.

Location: Grand Ballroom


Beat Dinners on South Beach, and a VIP Film Fest


7:00 - 11:00 p.m.

This year we’re offering a beat dinner experience like never before. We’ll start on the sandy shores of South Beach, where you can mingle for mojitos before walking up Lincoln Road, a famous pedestrian thoroughfare chock full of delicious delicacies and unparalleled people-watching. Dine over the catch of the day or authentic Cuban cuisine as you discuss emerging environmental issues or talk shop about the craft of journalism.



Later, you’re invited to attend the world premiere of the first-annual South Florida Environmental Film Festival at the recently opened and Frank Gehry-designed New World Symphony Hall. A VIP “green carpet” awaits conference attendees, who will be escorted to their reserved seats to screen the latest in environmental filmmaking.

Miami Beach's Lincoln Road is a hip pedestrian thoroughfare running through the heart of South Beach. All restaurants listed are within easy walking distance of the New World Symphony Hall, where SEJ shuttle buses will drop attendees beginning at 6pm. Dress code is casual. Pay for your own meal.

REMEMBER, if you RSVP'd for the Environmental Film Festival, a private, world-premiere screening of "My Father, The Captain," it runs from 9:00-1100 p.m. Buses will run loops to the Symphony Hall and back to the InterContinental all night, from 6:00-11:30 p.m.

If the nightlife gets the best of you and you miss the shuttles, call Central Cab at 305-532-5555.

ADVANCE SIGN-UP REQUIRED! Sign up for the dinner of your choice at the SEJ Information Table. Sorry, no wait list.


  • Please select your dinner group carefully. Notify your dinner leader immediately if you can’t attend and cross your name off the sign-up sheet.

  • Buses will drop attendees off at the New World Symphony Hall, one block from Lincoln Road (at Washington and Lincoln Lane).

  • The SEJ Registration area will have a detailed map with walking directions from the Symphony Hall to each restaurant. You will need to meet your group AT the restaurant. Reservations are for 7:00 p.m.

  • All prices are for entrees only (except in cases of prix fixe menus). Any side dishes, tax, tip, and drinks are separate. Some restaurants may not issue separate checks. Be prepared to keep track of the cost of your meal.

  • Please tip your servers well. ENJOY!


  1. Extreme Weather Events and Climate Change: A Conversation with NOAA Director Jane Lubchenco and National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read. Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans. Bella Cuba, 1659 Washington Ave. 305-672-7466. Cuban (three-course prix fixe menu – choose from among several options of Cuban delicacies), $30 per person. Max. group: 40. Coverage.
  2. Dinner with the New US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. Ken Weiss, The Los Angeles Times. Van Dyke Cafe, 846 Lincoln Road. 305-534-3600. Italian/Mediterranean (three-course prix fixe 3 course menu, choose from among several options of pasta, seafood and steak), $30. Max. group: 40. Coverage.
  3. Biodiversity: Why It’s Essential, Who’s Preserving It, Where to Find It. Callum Roberts, marine conservation biologist, University of York; author, The Unnatural History of the Sea; Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Duke University, author The World According to Pimm: A Scientist Audits the Earth. Maya Tapas & Grill, 809 Lincoln Road. 305-538-0058. Tapas/Steak/Pasta (outdoor seating in a private tent), $15-25. Max. group: 20
  4. This Hot Dinner is Not Scalding My Tongue: Science, Denial & Global Warming. Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press; Shawn Otto, author of Fool Me Twice, the American Assault on Science and creator of presidential Science Debate 2008. Pasha’s, 900 Lincoln Road. 305-673-3919. Turkish/Mediterranean, $12-20. Max. group: 16
  5. Covering Conflicting Research: Atrazine, BPA and Deep Horizon’s Legacy. Tim Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun; Janet Raloff, Science News. Yuca, 501 Lincoln Road. 305-532-9822. Cuban “Nuevo Latino” cuisine, entrees $20-35. Max Group 10
  6. River of (Turf) Grass: Don’t Let Florida-Style Development Happen to You. Neil Santaniello, Director, Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment, Florida Atlantic University; Joe Browder, Dunlop and Browder; Randy Loftis, The Morning News, Dallas, TX. De Luca, 530 Lincoln Road. 305-672-1009. Italian, entrees $15-25. Max group: 10
  7. Emerging Environment Stories in Latin America. Pere Estupinyà, Knight Journalism Tracker, MIT; Andrea Obaid, host of Technoscience on Radio Cooperativa and director, Groupa Neurona. David’s Café, 1654 Meridian Ave. 305-672-8707. “Home-style” Cuban, entrees $12-$20. Max group: 10
  8. Media with a Message: Environmental Film Fests as Environmental Journalism. Trish Riley, freelance journalist & film fest organizer; Ric O’Barry, founder (invited). David’s Café, 1654 Meridian Ave. 305-672-8707. “Home-style” Cuban, $12-$20. Max group: 10
  9. Livin’ La Vida Verde: Latinos and the Environmental Movement. Joe Treaster, Knight Chair of Cross-Cultural Communication, University of Miami, editor,, former reporter, The New York Times; Cecilia Alvear, board member, Unity Journalists of Color, former president, NAHJ, retired NBC Network News producer; George Lewis, NBC Network Correspondent. Da Leo, 819 Lincoln Road. 305-674-0350. Italian, entrees $20-35. Max group 9
  10. Can Florida’s Coral Reefs Survive Global Climate Change? John Lang, NBC 6, Miami; Chris Bergh, The Nature Conservancy. Tiramesu, 721 Lincoln Road. 305-532-4538. Italian, $15-30. Max. group: 15
  11. Non-Profit Journalism: New Ways of Doing an Old Business. McNelly Torres, associate director/reporter, Florida Center for Investigative Reporting; Keith Epstein, reporter/managing editor, Center for Public Integrity. Pasha’s, 900 Lincoln Road. 305-673-3919. Turkish/Mediterranean, $30. Max. group: 10
  12. Smokestack Lightening: Can the Shipping Industry Reduce Emissions & Build Better Boats? Rob Davis, Voice of San Diego; David Post, sales director, Petromedia; Jackie Savitz, senior scientist, senior campaign director. Yuca, 501 Lincoln Road. 305-532-9822. Cuban “Nuevo Latino” cuisine, entrees $20-35. Max Group 8
  13. Building a More Sustainable Future: Dinner with Architect Chad Oppenheim. Trimmel Gomes, news director, Florida Public Radio; Chad Oppenheim, architect of award-winning and LEED-platinum projects, Oppenheim Architecture + Design. Baires Grill, 1116 Lincoln Road. 305-538-1116. Argentine Steakhouse, $25-35. Max Group 15


Wednesday, October 19
Thursday, October 20
Saturday, October 22
Sunday, October 23