Bob Cabin, Ph. D., started off his Dogwood Alliance board service with a bang, speaking “truth to power” on behalf of Southern Forests at the Yum! Brands shareholders meeting in Louisville, Kentucky on May 17th.
“I’d never spoken directly to a corporate CEO before ,” he says. “It was empowering, and it was great to hang out with the Dogwood staff and Gary Phillips.” You can read Cabin’s personal reflections about the experience on his Huffington Post blog.
Cabin is no newbie to environmental preservation. He’s been a professor of ecology and environmental science at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina since 2005. Before that, he taught at Kenyon College and The State University of New York at Plattsburgh. He earned his Ph. D. from the University of New Mexico. After graduate school, Cabin worked in the conservation trenches of Hawaii as a research ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service.
“Hawaii is both the best and the worst place to be a conservation biologist,” he says. “It has more native endangered species and more noxious alien species than anywhere else in the world. So while it can be depressing, you can also make a huge difference, and single-handedly prevent a species from going extinct.
In addition to research and teaching, Cabin has written many technical and popular scientific articles. His first book, Intelligent Tinkering: Bridging the Gap Between Science and Practice, (Island Press) was published last fall, and his second book, Restoring Paradise: Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawaii, (University of Hawaii Press) is scheduled for release early in 2013.
Shortly after moving to Brevard in 2005, Cabin met Dogwood’s Executive Director Danna Smith, and began inviting Dogwood staff to come speak to his classes at the college. “I was always impressed with Dogwood’s work, and their ability to inspire my students and me,” he says. “This past year was a sabbatical year for me, so it was the perfect time to act on my longstanding desire to become more actively involved in the conservation of the Southern Appalachians. I really liked the Dogwood model, so I decided to jump in as a board member.”
“I am deeply concerned about Southern forests, and have a strong personal interest in protecting them,” says Cabin, who especially enjoys spending time in nearby DuPont State Forest with his wife and two children, ages 6 and 9. “Being a part of Dogwood Alliance helps to remind me that things are not hopeless. Sometimes David can get Goliath to change.”