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People's Great Salt Lake Summit Program

10:00 AM - 11:15 AM

Opening Plenary: Why we are here and what's at stake

Welcome Speaker & MC - Nan Seymour

Nan is a writer and activist working to save Great Salt Lake

Indigenous community perspectiveBrad Parry
Brad is Vice Chairman, The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation

Ecological Condition of the Lake - Bonnie Baxter, Ph.D.

Bonnie is the  Director of the Great Salt Lake Institute, and a  Professor of Biology at Westminster College

Air Quality - Brian Moench, M.D. 
Brian is the Board Chair, Utah Physicians for a Health Environment

Agriculture - Matt Yost, Ph.D.
Matt is an Associate Professor at Utah State University in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences 

11:20 AM - 12:20 PM

Morning Breakout Sessions

1. The GSL, Air Pollution, Pesticides & You

(Room location: Lone Peak - main plenary room)

Human health issues are arising from Great Salt Lake management. The drying of Great Salt Lake is causing more air pollution and development around the lake is causing more pesticide use. Discussion will touch on:

  • The effects of air pollution on the reproductive cycle

  • Air pollution and mental health

  • The effects of pesticides


Each followed by Q&A with a group brainstorming session at the end.


Discussion Led By:

Kirtly Parker Jones, M.D.

Ren Griffeth

Brian Moench, MD

2. Environmental Justice

(Room location: Room 105) 

In this panel, we will learn from Indigenous leaders and community organizers about their relationships to the Great Salt Lake and their work toward a just water future.



  1. Brad Parry (Vice Chairman, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone)

  2. Virgil Johnson (former Chairman, Confederated Tribes of the Goshute)

  3. Carl Moore (Indigenous organizer with PANDOS, SLC Air Protectors, and O.U.R.S)

  4. Ruhan Nagra (Associate Professor of Law and founding director of the Environmental Justice Clinic, University of Utah)

3. Voices from the Fields; Farmers share their perspectives

(Room location: Upstairs rooms 209/213)

Primary Objective: An understanding of the famers’ stories as it relates to the GSL: how do they see they can help (versus the options that are being recommended/offered to them). 

Description:  Listen to farmers as they share their stories about the challenges and opportunities they see and the roles they can play in.

Joan Gregory
Patty Becnel


Trevor Nielson
Clay Carter

Braden McMurdie

Matt Yost, Ph.D.

4. The Global View: How Great Salt Lake fits into the worldwide decline of saline lakes

(Room location: Upstairs rooms 220/224)

This will be an interdisciplinary session looking at patterns in ecology and human society of the ~120 major saline lakes in decline globally.

Presentation by:

Ben Abbott, Ph. D., Assistant Professor, Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Brigham Young University


5. Birds and Wildlife

(Room location: Cottonwood - behind the main plenary room)

What are the impacts to wildlife and what do we need to do to protect wildlife? Professor Bonnie Baxter will give an overview of the current situation, followed by discussion about action steps.

Presentation by: Bonnie Baxter, Director, Great Salt Lake Institute, Professor of Biology, Westminster College
Discussion facilitator: Deeda Seed, Center for Biological Diversity

12:20 PM - 1:10 PM

Lunch Break (lunch is being provided free)

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

1. State Legislative Advocacy

(Room location: Cottonwood - behind the main plenary room)

Learn about how the Utah legislature works and the process for adopting legislative policy solutions that could help save Great Salt Lake 


Ren Griffith, Stop The Arsenic Dust Storms

Maria Archibald, Sierra Club

Kenna Petiño, HEAL Utah

Matt Berry, Utah Rivers Council

2. Think Globally, Act Locally

(Room location: Lone Peak - main plenary room)

While the shrinking Great Salt Lake will have far reaching consequences, local entities can positively impact the future of the lake, wetlands and shoreline. Learn what’s currently being considered and how you can get involved.


What role does local government have in helping to protect GSL? From water conservation measures to zoning decisions that preserve wetlands.


Panel with: Soren Simonsen, Executive Director, Jordan River Commission

Teri Harman, Utah Lake Conservation Coalition
Moderator: Deeda Seed, Center for Biological Diversity

3. Business and the future of the Great Salt Lake

(Room location: Room 105)

Businesses want to be part of the solution both for their own self interest and to make a positive impact on the community. This session will provide an overview of current business initiatives and hopefully generate some new ideas for collaboration with the business community.

Panel with Silicon Slopes Team Pete Larkin and Erik Stromness

4. Great Salt Lake & The Outdoor Community

(Room location: Upstairs Rooms 220/224) 

The Great Salt Lake watershed is home to a thriving outdoor community. Anyone who skis, hikes, bikes, climbs, runs, boats, paddles, camps, hunts or any recreational activity across our Wasatch Mountains has a personal connection and impact on this special place. While the snow we received last winter was record breaking, without our help Great Salt Lake is still on a path to disappearing. 

This breakout session will be an open dialogue and discussion about how the outdoor community can come together and become a stronger voice in saving the Great Salt Lake through engagement, education and action. We will explore how saving our Great Salt Lake will be a long term effort and explore ways to work together to build climate resiliency and protect the places we play. We will discuss how the Great Salt Lake impacts your industry/activities/community and talk about finding common ground around concerns for toxic dust and air quality, business impacts on outdoor industry and the next generation of recreationists. We will end with sharing ideas on how individuals and groups can take action and participate in the future. Working together the outdoor community can help save Great Salt Lake.

5. Exploring Interfaith Collaboration for Great Salt Lake

(Room location: Upstairs Rooms 209/213)

Explore how our congregations and spiritual communities can work together in interfaith collaboration to save Great Salt Lake. Learn more about congregation-based efforts to save Great Salt Lake and get water to Great Salt Lake now - what approaches are congregations taking, what is working, what isn’t, why. Explore with us the role of faith and spiritual communities in taking action that will help get water to Great Salt Lake and help Great Salt Lake reach and retain a healthy water and salinity level. Approximately 10 minutes will be devoted to Q&A, sharing, and brainstorming future interfaith collaborative efforts to save Great Salt Lake.

Franci Lynne Taylor,  Educational Consultant focusing on American Indian and other under-represented populations, and Member, Choctaw Nation.

Stephen Trimble, Member, Chavurah B'Yachad; renowned photographer and writer. 

Marc Coles-Ritchie, Chair, Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance 

Joan M. Gregory, Co-Coordinator, Environmental Ministry, and Co-Leader, Saving Great Salt Lake Team, First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City

Becky Burrage, Co-Chair, Creation Justice Team, Holladay United Church of Christ


6. Storytelling

(Room location: Upstairs Room 226)

The way we describe our world and the challenges we face - the stories we tell - has a profound impact on how we act in the world. Torrey House press staff will facilitate a training to help YOU become a better story teller and a more effective advocate.

2:20 PM - 3:00 PM

Closing Plenary

Reports back from breakout sessions and next steps

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