Climate Change, Biodiversity and the Future of Conservation in America


Associated Program:
John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum
Edward O. Wilson
Terry Tempest Williams
Jonathan B. Jarvis
Harvard Divinity School
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Center for Public Leadership


A Conversation with
Edward O. Wilson
Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus in Entomology at Harvard University
Author, The Origins of Creativity, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life
Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner
Terry Tempest Williams
Writer-in-residence, Harvard Divinity School
Naturalist and Environmental Writer
Author, The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks
Jonathan B. Jarvis
Director, U.S. National Park Service (2009-2017) 
Executive Director, Institute for Parks, People and Biodiversity, University of California, Berkeley
Author, The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water
Linda J. Bilmes (Moderator)
Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, HKS
Member, National Park Service Advisory Board

*** This Event is Open to the Public ***

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Edward O. Wilson is the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He is an American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author. His is the world’s leading expert on ants. Wilson has been called "the father of sociobiology" and "the father of biodiversity" for his environmental advocacy, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters. Among his greatest contributions to ecological theory is the theory of island biogeography, which he developed in collaboration with the mathematical ecologist Robert MacArthur, which was the foundation of the development of conservation area design, as well as the unified neutral theory of biodiversity of Stephen Hubbell.  He is the author of 34 books, and is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction (for On Human Nature in 1979, and The Ants in 1991) and a New York Times bestseller for The Social Conquest of EarthLetters to a Young Scientist, and The Meaning of Human Existence.

Terry Tempest Williams has been called "a citizen writer," a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A naturalist and fierce advocate for freedom of speech, she has consistently shown us how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice. She is writer-in-residence at the Harvard Divinity School and author of more than a dozen books, including the 2016 book “The Hour of Land, A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks".

Jonathan (Jon) B. Jarvis officially became the 18th Director of the National Park Service on October 2, 2009. A career ranger of the National Park Service who began his career in 1976 as a seasonal interpreter in Washington, D.C., Jarvis took the helm of an agency that preserves and manages some of the most treasured landscapes and valued cultural icons in this nation.
Prior to his appointment as Director, Jarvis most recently served as the Regional Director of the Pacific West Region, with responsibility for 58 units of the national park system in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands of Guam, Saipan and American Samoa.
Jon Jarvis moved up through the National Park Service as a protection ranger, a resource management specialist, park biologist, and Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources at parks such as Prince William Forest Park in Virginia, Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, and North Cascades National Park in Washington. His first superintendency was at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and he later served as the Superintendent of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska from 1994 until 1999. He became the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park in August of 1999. In 2001 he completed training in the Senior Executive Service Candidate Program of the Department of Interior and in September of 2002, became the Regional Director of the Pacific West Region.
Jarvis served as president of the George Wright Society, 1997-98, a professional organization that sponsors a biennial conference on science and management of protected lands around the world. Mr. Jarvis has published and lectured on the role of science in parks at conferences and workshops around the U.S. In his previous positions, Mr. Jarvis has obtained extensive experience in developing government-to-government relations with Native American tribes, gateway community planning, FERC relicensing, major facility design and construction, wilderness management, and general management planning.
A native of Lexington, Virginia, Jarvis has a B.S. in biology from the College of William and Mary and completed the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Program in 2001. He and his wife Paula have two children, Benjamin and Leah.

Professor Linda J. Bilmes is a leading expert on budgeting and public finance. She is a full-time Harvard faculty member, teaching public finance, regional finance and budgeting. She leads Harvard's training in public finance for newly-elected U.S. Members of Congress and Mayors. Ms. Bilmes was twice confirmed by the US Senate, serving as Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  She currently serves on the US Department of Interior National Park System Advisory Board and the United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration. She serves on the Boards of Directors of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and Economists for Peace and Security, a distinguished body dedicated to promoting non-military solutions to world challenges.
Professor Bilmes has authored or co-authored numerous books, book chapters and articles on the costs of war, the value of public lands, conservation, and finance, including the New York Times bestseller The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (with Joseph E. Stiglitz). In 2016 she published the landmark study Total Economic Valuation of the National Park Service Lands and Programs, which established an economic value of park assets for the first time. Professor Bilmes was featured in the Academy award-winning documentary No End In Sight. Her work has been published in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Harvard Business Review, the Atlantic and other publications. She is the recipient of the 2008 "Speaking Truth to Power" Award by the American Friends Service Committee. Previously, she was a Principal in London, Madrid and Moscow with the Boston Consulting Group. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.