Saturday, January 17, 2009

Zealous Advocacy For Biodiversity

On our final day, the highlight was meeting with local attorney, Jeff Weiss, who opened the class' eyes to the challenges, complications, and successes of litigating on behalf of biodiversity. My class describes our discussion with Jeff as well as the rest of their last day in paradise:

After lecture this morning, we went to Estate Nazareth to speak with Jeff Weiss, a well-respected attorney popularly known as a “bulldog” for his tenacity. We learned about his efforts to protect the Virgin Islands Tree Boa as well as his part in the Trust for Public Lands’ acquisition of 400+ acres of rainforest near Maho Bay, St. John. Jeff was kind enough to host us at his beautiful home and offered insights into the difficulties, frustrations, and joys that come with biodiversity litigation. Since class lectures were over, we had some free time so we chose to spend it at Magen’s Bay, enjoying the clear green water, the talcum-soft white sand, and beautiful coastal vegetation and tropical fish. We capped off our trip with an excellent dinner, during which we revisited what we had learned about biodiversity science, policy, and law, not to mention how much we hope the law can successfully preserve biodiversity into the future.

A “Little Ditty” authored by Kasey Barton
We will miss our Virgin Islands trip,
Especially Jeff B. James with his witty quip,
And heading out on capt’n Ron’s boat,
Snorkeling with the fish, all afloat.
Learning creative ways to preserve biodiversity made it’s mark,
Thank goodness no one got eaten by a shark!
Widening our short strides to keep up with Torrance,
Here we come, back to good ole Lawrence!

Tomorrow, the class will head back to Lawrence to begin working on their Biodiversity Law papers. Thanks to all of the wonderful local Virgin Islanders (people and creatures alike) who made the fieldtrip such a wonderful experience.


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