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Island Press at SEJ Conference 2008

We arrived in Roanoke for the 18th Annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference ready to Tim Kaine speaking at SEJ.engage and to celebrate, and our first evening there did not disappoint. Governors Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Tim Kaine (image to the left) of Virginia spoke of their efforts to improve environmental quality in the region, singer Kathy Matea (second image below) performed, and Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau presented awards. The evening ended with great news for Island Press as Callum Roberts won SEJ's Rachel Carson Environment Singer Kathy Mattea performs at SEJ.Book Award for his book The Unnatural History of the Sea. This is the first year the award has been offered, with a prize of $10,000. Island Press celebrated a festive night with SEJ conference goers at our "Humble Pollinators"-themed reception. Each hors d'oeuvre was pollinated by a different featured pollinator—guests munched on mini breis and beef skewers from cows-fed, bee-pollinated alfalfa, dined on fly-pollinated chocolate dipped fruit, and tasted hummingbird-pollinated pineapple along with chicken brochettes. The greatest hit of the night was Island Press's signature tequila cocktail, the "Pollinatini" made with bat-pollinated tequila. Guests browsed through display copies of our featured books on climate change, population, green building, environmental health, water, and food issues; some Robert Engelman, author of even won free copies in our drawing! The highlight of the evening was author Robert Engelman's (at left) talk on his new book More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, along with a video presentation about his research. Some conference goers were lucky enough to explore Roanoke and beyond through field trips examining critical environmental issues in the region. Our own editor Jonathan Cobb took part in a daytrip to Kayford Mountain to see first-hand the devastating consequences of mountaintop removal. The following days of the conference were packed with activities as conference participants attended information sessions focused on everything from coal mining to population and climate to environmental health and women. Engelman spoke on the population and climate panel with "Living on Earth's" Steve Curwood and Tom Horton. They discussed how the integral connection between our rising population numbers and climate change aren't getting the immediate attention they should with the media and the environmental community. After the panel, Engelman graciously agreed to sign copies of his new book for journalists and attendees.Pitch Slam at SEJ. The conference ended on an encouraging note, with Island Press president Chuck Savitt (seated second from right in image below) and editors from University of Georgia Press and Chelsea Green presiding over a pitch slam (image at right) for hopeful authors with ideas for books on the environment. Acclaimed author Wendell Berry closed the conference with a reading from his poetry and the renewed message that hope for preserving our environment is up to all of us and the best channel to communicate those ideas and solutions is through the media and in books. Chuck Savitt, Island Press President, at SEJ. ---------- Contributed by Megan Hansen, Marketing Outreach Coordinator, and Hannah Davey, Content Marketing Coordinator at Island Press.