The Heath Hen Could Come Back
– Panel Presentation & Exhibit
Martha’s Vineyard, MA
July 24, 2014
On Thursday, July 24, 2014, Revive & Restore convened a panel presentation with six experts in conservation, de-extinction and island ecology in Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard. The presentation to the community outlined the opportunity to bring back the extinct heath hen – one that is provided by new techniques in genomic technology. The presentation was followed by Q&A and a panel discussion.
Stewart Brand – Founder/editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, Cofounder of Revive & Restore
Stewart Brand is Cofounder of Revive & Restore, of The Long Now Foundation, of The WELL, Read More
Ryan Phelan – Entrepreneur and Cofounder of Revive & Restore
Ryan Phelan is Cofounder and Executive Director of Revive & Restore, with a mission to Read More
Josh Donlan – Ecologist and specialist in island conservation
Josh Donlan is the Founder and Director of Advanced Conservation Strategies, which focuses on outcomes, Read More
Tom Chase – Ecologist, conservation strategist
Tom Chase directs the conservation strategies for the Massachusetts chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Born and Read More
Tom Dunlop – Journalist and author
Writer Tom Dunlop, a lifelong year-round and summer resident of the Island, is a former editor of and now Read More
Matt Pelikan – Naturalist and writer
Matt Pelikan is a coastal ecologist on Martha’s Vineyard for The Nature Conservancy, helping to maintain and restore Read More
Susan Johnson Banta has been instrumental in the creation of this event and with connecting Revive & Restore with the Martha’s Vineyard Community. Susan has called Martha’s Vineyard her summer Read More
Susan has served for 18 years on the boards of a variety of organizations in West Marin, California. Her work has been recognized for building community by the Marin Community Foundation. She is also the Founder and CEO of Alphabet Soup, the parent-child learning and relationship building program that makes global connections through cooking, art and gardening activities.
Prior to serving the nonprofit world, Susan worked 17 years in the corporate world. She began her career at the Smithsonian, the Cooper Hewitt and I.M. Pei & Partners. During her 10 years at Ogilvy & Mather Promotions in New York she was an intrapreneur Trained as both a creative director and account manager, she successfully started up new profit centers for Ogilvy while serving as Senior Vice President and Creative Director.
With our special thanks
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the Vineyard Gazette joined forces for the July 24 event to create a special exhibit on the history of the heath hen and the extraordinary effort the Islanders’ made trying to save the species. Arranged in a linear timeline, the exhibit began in 1876 when the last flocks died on the mainland (leaving the Vineyard as the sole host of the near-extinct species) and ended in 1932 with the death of the last heath hen, “Booming Ben”, on Martha’s Vineyard.
The exhibit highlighted the heath hen’s history and the formation of a dedicated preserve (now the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest) where the flock initially thrived, and even recovered from a devastating fire in the spring of 1916 that burnt much of the island during nesting season. Beautifully chronicled by Henry Beetle Hough and captured in the audio recordings of those who remember, this interactive exhibit told not only the story of the heath hen’s extinction but the story of extinction itself. It’s also a story about the Vineyard community— their history, their vision and their leadership in the world of Island Conservation.
Martha’s Vineyard Museum
Anna Carringer is the assistant curator at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Founded in 1922, the Museum preserves and interprets collections that engage and connect the public Read More
Linsey Lee is the Oral History Curator at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Linsey has been collecting oral histories of the people of Martha’s Vineyard Read More
Nathaniel Janick – Oral history assistant and Museum Archivist
Hilary Wall is the Archivist and Librarian at the Vineyard Gazette, a nationally recognized weekly newspaper based on Martha’s Vineyard. Founded in 1846, the Gazette has long been associated with conservation Read More
The Vineyard Gazette Research Library & Archive has assembled a unique collection of newspaper clippings, town and state reports, manuscripts, scrapbooks and photographs that document the history of the Vineyard and its people. Hilary, is working toward a master’s degree in library science at Simmons College, and is dedicated to making the Vineyard Gazette’s historical collections accessible to the public.