Malcolm L. Hunter, Jr., Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Libra Professor of Conservation Biology, University of Maine

Last week four members of the Of Pools and People team traveled to Montpellier, France, to participate in the International Congress for Conservation Biology and European Congress for Conservation Biology, for which we had organized a symposium, Conserving small natural features with large ecological roles, involving 32 authors from eight countries. Mac Hunter, the primary organizer for the symposium, introduced seven speakers who covered various small features including temporary pools (presented by Aram Calhoun), large trees, desert springs, bat caves, temporary waterways, and rocky outcrops; in each case describing why they are important, how are they threatened, and how can they be conserved. The final two talks were produced by several members of the Of Pools and People team: one was a case study of our vernal pool conservation work in Maine (presented by Kathleen Bell); and one was a policy synthesis that provided an overarching view of conservation activities and approaches across all the different types of small natural features (coordinated by Dana Bauer and presented by Aram Calhoun). The session was well attended (at least 150 people) and generated lots of interesting discussion; for example, the importance of viewing these features in a landscape context, and the role of artificial ecological features such as hedgerows. Later in the day the presenters met again and decided that this was a fertile arena for additional efforts at “cross-pollination” of conservation strategies for conserving small, often overlooked, gems. Thus we will work together to produce a set of papers for a special section of a journal and perhaps a follow-up workshop.