I've been involved in technology and conservation since I was 12 years old trying to build my first ham radio and learning how to hunt deer from my dad. For me conservation is many things: a lifelong practice, a profession, a lifestyle and a system of beliefs not unlike religion, with deep values of community and wilderness-based spirituality. SCGIS very graciously allowed me to describe some of our prehistory in the "history" section. Other amusing anecdotes: I ran away from home into a deep, rainy oak forest when I was 6, packing into a small suitcase 1 orange and 1 flashlight. My dad finally found me and after discussing the best places sleep on the wet forest floor, the deepening cold finally convinced me to return home. However I have never lost the feeling of being more at home in any wild forest anywhere than in any town or city. My family have been ranchers, farmers and pioneers in america since 1640, so ties to the american west are part of my dna by now. My dad has written numerous books on the american west, so when you search on my conservation books that's why you see so many history books.
At Esri I try my best to stay ahead of what conservation GIS users need in terms of both technology support and science support. As technology moves rapidly onto "the cloud", old paradigms of costly hardware investment and "owning" software are rapidly giving way to subscription-based ecosystems of data and tools vastly more powerful, flexible and simple to use than what we are used to. This change is going to be more radical and challenging, I think, than the entire path so far. Climate change is finally allowing "big science" resources and funding to flow into ecology and conservation science and the result is an explosion in biogeography, ecological analysis & modelling and many other related fields. There is no way any one person can stay abreast of all that, but as a community, and in our annual conferences, I feel SCGIS does as good a job as scientific and technical organizations many times our size.