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A Desert Conversation 2020

 The goal of A Desert Conversation is to increase the general public's awareness of the role deserts play in the natural world and in human endeavors. The program for “A Desert Conversation” features a moderator and noted authors as panelists offering their observations and perspectives on desert issues posed by the moderator, as well as of their choosing. The theme for the 2020 Conversation is "Climate Change in the Desert."

Guest panelists for the 2020 Conversation include Robert Michael Pyle and Dahr Jamail. One more panelist will be announced soon. The 2020 moderator will again be Ellen Waterston.


Robert Michael Pyle

Independent scholar, biologist, and writer Robert Michael Pyle was born and raised in Colorado and has lived in the Pacific Northwest, California, New England, and Great Britain. His B.Sc. in Nature Perception and Protection and M.Sc. in Nature Interpretation from the University of Washington were followed by a Ph.D. in Lepidoptera Ecology and Conservation from Yale University. He worked as Ranger-Naturalist in Sequoia National Park, butterfly ecologist in Papua New Guinea, Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, and co-manager of the Species Conservation Monitoring Center in Cambridge, U.K.  In 1971, he founded the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (http://www.xerces.org/). 

For 35 years, Pyle has been a full-time writer, biologist, teacher, and speaker. He has published hundreds of articles, essays, peer-reviewed papers, stories, and poems. His 24  books include Wintergreen, The Thunder Tree, Where Bigfoot Walks, Chasing Monarchs, Walking the High Ridge, Sky Time in Gray’s River, and Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year; three poetry collections; one novel, Magdalena Mountain; and a flight of butterfly books including The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies and Butterflies of the Pacific Northwest,. Pyle's essays from fifty-two consecutive issues of Orion and Orion Afield magazines are published in The Tangled Bank by Oregon State University Press. The Tidewater Reach (poems) and Nature Matrix: New & Selected Essays, will come out in 2020. Pyle's books have been honored by the John Burroughs Medal, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award, three Governor's Writer's Awards, and two National Outdoor Book Awards. 

Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail, a reporter for Truthout (truthout.org), is the author of The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption.  He also is the author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied IraqThe Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Disintegration of a Nation (co-authored with William Rivers Pitt). Jamail spent more than a year reporting from Iraq, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey over the last 15 years. He also is an accomplished mountaineer who has worked as a volunteer rescue ranger on Denali. Jamail is a recipient of numerous honors, including the Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism for his work in Iraq and a 2018 Izzy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Media for his reporting on the Climate Crisis.