The Dover Democratic Committee’s Energy and Environment Action Group will host “Shot Down: A Forum,” a discussion about the implications of U.S. government challenges to long-held interpretations of both the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act. The event will take place Tuesday September 25 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the second floor of the Dover Public Library.

The forum will be of interest to proponents of wildlife and migratory bird protection, as well as individuals with general concerns about the prospects of degradation of environmental protections in general.

The event will focus specifically on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a century-old law that is just now drawing negative attention, as well as the 45-year-old Endangered Species Act. In the case of the Migratory Bird Act, the government is reinterpreting the law to allow bird deaths from industrial activities. Likewise, the Department of the Interior has proposed sweeping changes that will weaken the law that has saved bald eagles and grizzly bears from extinction.

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State Senator David Watters
will moderate the session, which will feature distinguished panelists with strong backgrounds in the protection of endangered species and the preservation of laws designed to protect them. Senator Watters has served as the University of New Hampshire’s Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Academic Outreach. In addition, he also served as an English professor, attaining the level of professor emeritus. 

Kurk Dorsey, Carol Foss, and Clay Mitchell

The three panelists will each address a different aspect of the issue.

Kurk Dorsey received his Ph.D. from Yale University.  He is the Class of 1938 Professor of History and chair of the History Department at the University of New Hampshire.  He is the author of The Dawn of Conservation Diplomacy and Whales and Nations: Environmental Diplomacy on the High Seas.


Kurk’s Program Focus:

100 years ago, an unusual coalition came together to push the Migratory Bird Treaty Act through Congress.  In this brief illustrated lecture, Kurk Dorsey will show how economics, science, and sentiment came together to pass this monumental piece of environmental legislation.


Carol Foss earned her Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maine.  She is New Hampshire Audubon’s Senior Advisor for Science and Policy and has more than 40 years of experience as a conservation biologist in northern New England.


Carol’s Program Focus:

Carol will address changes in the rules for implementing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act enacted recently and proposed rule changes for the Endangered Species Act. Foss will discuss these changes and the effects they could have on wildlife protection in New Hampshire.


Clay Mitchell holds a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from UNH and a J.D. in law from Vermont Law School.  He teaches at UNH, has served as a city planner, government consultant, and is a renewable energy entrepreneur.


Clay’s Program Focus:

Mitchell will show how these two examples of environmental deregulation are canaries in the coal mine for far broader changes to our environmental protections.


“Shot Down: A Forum” is open to the public. Ample time will be provided for questions and discussion.