Frozen streams on a hilly landscape form vein-like structures when viewed from above

Earth Day 2023: Species on the Move

April 18-19, 2023

Across the globe, climate change has put people, animals, and plants in a constant state of movement. What do these shifts mean for our world? How are we taking action?

Join UW–Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies for Earth Day 2023: Species on the Move, a two-day community learning event with both in-person and virtual opportunities to learn and connect.

The event will kick off on Tuesday, April 18, with an afternoon of in-person learning and networking at the Discovery Building. Browse partner exhibit tables, then enjoy three lectures presented by national experts. You won’t want to miss this chance to reconnect in person with fellow environmentally conscious learners!

Then on Wednesday, April 19, zoom in for a morning of virtual breakouts and plenary sessions. You can register for either the in-person or virtual option, or maximize your experience by attending both.

Thanks to all who attended!

Questions? Contact



  • All in-person sessions take place at the Discovery Building, 330 N. Orchard St., Madison, WI 53715.
  • All virtual sessions take place on Zoom.

1:30 p.m.

Exhibit area opens

Browse exhibit tables by our partners: American Family Insurance, Division of Extension, Lakeshore Nature Preserve, Natural Resources Foundation, Nelson Institute Energy Analysis and Policy Program, Nelson Institute Environmental Professional Programs, Office of Sustainability, Sierra Club, Sustain Dane, The Nature Conservancy, UW-Madison Arboretum, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Snapshot Wisconsin, Wisconsin Energy Institute.

2:30–5:30 p.m.


Paul Robbins, dean, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Human-Caused Climate Change, Global Biodiversity, and Solutions

Patrick Gonzalez, executive director, University of California–Berkeley Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity

New Frontiers in Genetic Rescue for Wildlife Conservation

Ryan Phelan, cofounder and executive director, Revive & Restore

Cohosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Addressing Human Mobility in a Warming World: Challenges and Opportunities

Erica Bower, climate displacement researcher, Human Rights Watch

Cohosted by the Laurie Carlson Progressive Ideas Forum and the Wisconsin Initiative on Law and Climate

6 p.m.

Exhibit area closes

This is a Gold Certified Green Event. Learn more about the Office of Sustainability Green Events program.

9–9:50 a.m.
Breakout sessions

Earth’s Biosphere in Flux: Terrestrial Ecosystems Transformed by Climate Change

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research

Learning to Make Running Water Walk: Partnering for Resilience in the Coon Creek Watershed in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Culture, History, and Environment

Becoming W.I.S.E.: UW–Madison’s Global Health Institute Prepares for the Next Pandemic

Hosted by the Global Health Institute

10–10:50 a.m.
Breakout sessions

Detecting Species on the Move

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and Global Environment

Framing the Message to Engage with Volunteer Monitoring and Management of Aquatic Invasive Species

Hosted by the UW Division of Extension Natural Resources Institute

Renewable Energy, Agriculture, and Home: Wisconsin’s Changing Landscapes

Hosted by the Wisconsin Energy Institute, the Office of Sustainability, and the Energy, Analysis, and Policy Program

11–11:50 a.m.
Breakout sessions

How Do Species on the Move Impact the Ecology of Their New Home?

Hosted by the Nelson Institute Center for Ecology and the Environment

Species on the Move for Creative Writers: A Reading and Collective Journaling Session in Response to the Essay “Living Words” by Brigitte Baptiste

Hosted by the 4W Initiative

Seeking Sanctuary: What Human and Wildlife Migration Have in Common

Hosted by the Loka Initiative

12:15–1:15 p.m.

Re-Setting Our Relationship with Nature by Indigenizing Conservation

Andrea Akall’eq Burgess, global director of conservation in partnership with Indigenous peoples and local communities, The Nature Conservancy

Cohosted by the Nelson Institute’s environmental professional programs and the Nature Conservancy