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Eastern Cougar Conference 2004: Wednesday, April 28th – Saturday, May 1st

The program for this special conference in Morgantown, West Virginia is quickly taking shape and promises a diverse array of exciting and meaningful presentations and posters. It is the only the second such meeting devoted entirely to the fascinating subject of cougars in the East, Southeast, Great Lakes Region and Great Plains of North America. The gathering is open to anyone with an interest in wildlife, conservation, nature, cougars and related topic, including wildlife professionals, students, professors and lay people. It is jointly sponsored by the Eastern Cougar Foundation (ECF) and the American Ecological Research Institute (AERIE), which is directed by Dr. Jay Tischendorf of the ECF Board.

This is an incredibly rare and unique opportunity for anyone with an interest in mountain lions east of the Rocky Mountains to gather together, network, and share in literally the latest and most cutting-edge information and technology on this important subject. The last time was ten years ago. Those who attend will be monumentally glad they did, and those that don’t will regret it for a long time to come.

Chris Bolgiano will give the keynote address. She is the author of three award-winning books: Mountain Lion: An unnatural history of pumas and people, The Appalachian Forest, and Living in the Appalachian Forest: True Tales of Sustainable Forestry. She has written dozens of articles on wildlife and the environment, and is now at work on her fourth book, The Eastern Cougar Anthology.

Another highlight will be a talk by David Baron, author of The Beast in the Garden, an informed and sensitive analysis of the events in Boulder, Colorado, that led to the death of a young jogger in 1991. Baron’s talk will be part of the session devoted to Humans Dimensions, the interaction of humans and cougars. Bolgiano and Baron will both be selling and autographing books.

Other sessions will include regional updates (including a report from the United Kingdom, where DNA analysis has documented the existence of free-ranging black leopards), techniques for finding and analyzing evidence of cougars, and lessons to be learned from recovery efforts involving other large predators. Each session will be followed by a panel discussion. A tracking workshop and tour of the Coopers Rock Mountain Lion Sanctuary are scheduled for Saturday.

The conference will be held at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center and will run from the evening of Wednesday, April 28th to the afternoon of Saturday, May 1st. Registration fees are $125 for natural resource professionals, scientists and academic faculty; $75 for non-professionals; and $50.00 for students. A single day (Thursday, Friday or Saturday is $50.00. A late fee of $25.00 will be added for registrations after March 31st. We recommend you make motel or campground reservations soon to assure you have a place to stay.

For complete information, visit the Eastern Cougar Foundation’s web site, www.easterncougar.org and click on the lower left corner of the Home Page. There you will find a registration form, schedule of events (subject to last minute changes), information on the tracking workshop, and lists of motels and campgrounds. If it is not convenient for you to visit the Internet, you may send a check for the appropriate amount made payable to: Eastern Cougar Conference 2004. Mail it to ECF, c/o PO Box 300, Harman, WV 26270. Include your name, address, home and business phones, affiliation (if any), and email address. Let us know if you are a vegetarian or require a special dietary menu. The registration fee includes an information packet, keynote banquet dinner, lunch on Thursday and Friday, snack breaks, and publication of the proceedings on the Eastern Cougar Foundation’s web site. If you can’t find the answers to your questions on the ECF web site, you may call 304-227-4166.