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Plenary speakers

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May 20 (Wednesday) Keynote Plenary Speaker: Jennifer Gimbel

Jennifer Gimbel was named Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science on October 1, 2014, where she oversees water and science policy for the Department of the Interior, and has responsibility for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. She administers the National Land Imaging Program, the nation’s longest sequential moderate-resolution satellite imaging program provided by the Landsat series of satellites, now hosted by USGS. Gimbel provides hands-on leadership on Colorado River issues and is the Secretary’s designee to, and Chair of, the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group.

Gimbel was previously the Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Bureau of Reclamation, where she managed congressional, legislative and public affairs activities. She was also the executive responsible for Reclamation's relationships with federal, state and local governments, citizen organizations, and other nongovernmental groups. Gimbel returned to Reclamation after serving as Interior’s Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science where she focused on legislative and legal matters, concentrating on issues regarding the Rio Grande, Salton Sea, California Bay Delta, and the Clean Water Act.

Gimbel came to Interior in 2013 after serving five years as Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.  As Director, she carried out the policies and directives of a citizen board and the administration relating to the conservation, development, and utilization of the state's water resources. She represented Colorado in several interstate activities, including as the Governor's representative on the Colorado River and as one of his appointees to the Western States Water Council.

From 2001-2008, Gimbel worked at Reclamation on a variety of policy and program issues, including facility operation and maintenance, the Water Conservation Field Services Program, drought, hazardous waste, invasive species, and water management and planning.  She also served as Chair of the Secretary’s Indian Water Rights Working Group for the Department.  Prior to that, Gimbel worked for both the Colorado and Wyoming State Attorney Generals offices, where she advised and represented the Attorneys General and other state officials regarding interstate water matters, water law and administrative law.  She has a Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctorate from the University of Wyoming and a Master of Science from the University of Delaware.

May 20 (Thursday Morning) Keynote Speaker: Ben Bobowski

Ben Bobowski has been Chief of Resource Stewardship of Rocky Mountain National Park since October 2007.  He was previously the Chief of Resource Stewardship at Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, Range Ecologist at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and field biologist at the US Forest Service Research Lab in LaGrande, Oregon.  He has served in several collateral assignments including: the National Park Service’s Servicewide Livestock Management Coordinator, co-author on the NPS Climate Change Strategy,  as well as most recently as an NPS representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Ben earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Rutgers University focused on Forestry and Wildlife Management and Masters of Science and PhD degrees from Utah State University, focused in Range Science.  Ben is native to New Jersey and was introduced to the western U.S. by his friend (now wife) in July 1989.  He has spent almost every day since living, working and enjoying the western U.S. with his family – his wife Katie and children Taylor, Ashley and Mia.  

May 21 (Thursday night) Banquet Speaker: Dr. Dan Wildcat 

Daniel R. Wildcat, A Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, is the director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas and a lead organizer of the Indigenous Peoples Climate Change Working Group.  A staunch advocate of tribal colleges and universities, Wildcat believes Indian colleges and universities deserve broader recognition for their contributions to academia and society, including issue pertaining to climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation efforts.

Dr. Wildcat is the coauthor, with Vine Deloria, Jr., of Power and Place: Indian Education in America (Fulcrum, 2001), and coeditor, with Steve Pavlik, of Destroying Dogma: Vine Deloria, Jr., and His Influence on American Society (Fulcrum, 2006). Known for his commitment to environmental defense and cultural diversity, Dr. Wildcat has been honored by the Kansas City organization, The Future Is Now, with the Heart Peace Award. His newest book, Red Alert! Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge, was released in 2009.