Student Delegate to Wildlife Trade Convention Talks at COA

Posted April 30, 2013, at 7:54 a.m.
Marissa Altmann examines bat skins at the Smithsonian Museum.
Marissa Altmann examines bat skins at the Smithsonian Museum.

Monday, May 6, 2013 4:10 p.m. to 4:10 p.m.

Location: College of the Atlantic - McCormick Lecture Hall, 105 Eden Street, Bar Harbor, Maine

For more information: John Visvader; 207-288-5015;

BAR HARBOR, ME—College of the Atlantic fourth-year student Marissa Altmann had a spring break like no other student. She was the first youth member of the United States delegation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.

She will be speaking about her experiences on Monday, May 6 at 4:10 p.m. in the college’s McCormick Lecture Hall. The talk is called, “Wildlife Trade Policymaking in Bangkok at CITES COP16: Human Ecology in Action.”

Says Altmann, who received the opportunity to join the delegation while interning at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, “I was incredibly privileged to attend the 16th Conference of Parties of CITES in Bangkok, Thailand this March. CITES is an international treaty that regulates the import and export of threatened species. Wildlife trade involves complex networks of biology, policy, and human-wildlife relationships—all of which I studied while pursuing my undergraduate degree in human ecology at COA.”

The legal trade in plants and animals provides most of the world with food, timber, medicines, and other materials. Illegal trade involves enormous flows of money, second only to the drug trade. Human uses of animals and plants are often culturally, emotionally, and even politically driven. “We need to understand these relationships to find practicable ways to conserve our natural resources,” she adds.

Altmann saw firsthand how species are granted protections under the convention, how working groups are formed, and how conservation plans are discussed. She continues, “I was exposed to a plethora of information, and left feeling confident about my choice to study science-human policy relationships with the goal of applying an interdisciplinary perspective to environmental and wildlife conservation.”

For more, come to McCormick Lecture Hall at COA at 4:10 p.m. on Monday, May 6. Or contact John Visvader at, 207-288-5015.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES. COA Human Ecology Forum. McCormick Lecture Hall, 105 Eden St., Bar Harbor, ME. Free. John Visvader, or 207-288-5015.