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June 26th, 2008
2008 ESRI User Conference Features Keynote Address by Dr. Peter H. Raven

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PR — The 2008 ESRI International User Conference (ESRI UC) will feature renowned botanist, environmentalist, biodiversity expert, and president of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Dr. Peter H. Raven. Raven will discuss the significance of biodiversity and the environment for sustaining our world.

 “Dr. Raven has played a vital role in teaching others about the importance of biodiversity and in researching our planet’s ecosystems,” says Jack Dangermond, president, ESRI. “He’s making a difference in securing our environmental resources. We’re honored to have him as our guest and we’re excited about the opportunity our users will have to hear from such a distinguished individual.”

The ESRI UC, the largest conference in the world devoted to geographic information system (GIS) technology, will be held August 4–8 at the San Diego Convention Center in California. The conference draws approximately 13,000 users from more than 120 countries who come together to learn, collaborate, and discover the latest developments in GIS technology. The conference theme this year is GIS: Geography in Action.

Raven will talk about the importance of biodiversity and how it influences our daily lives. He will discuss the threats—including loss of habitat, overconsumption, and climate change—that impact biodiversity and the solutions available for us to preserve and improve our planet’s sustainability. As part of the presentation, GIS will be used to analyze ecosystems and the myriad of plant and animal life that inhabit them. In addition, GIS will be used to model future impacts to these bionetworks.
Time Magazine “Hero for the Planet”
Raven is one of today’s leading botanists and advocates for conservation and biodiversity. Described by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Raven champions research and support across the globe to preserve endangered plants and animals and build a sustainable environment. For more than 36 years, Raven has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he has nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticulture display.

Born in Shanghai, China, Raven earned highest honors at the University of California, taught as a professor of botany and biology, and serves as a trustee of the National Geographic Society and chairman of the society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. In recognition of his work, Raven is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in the United States. He has also held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships and received honorary degrees from universities worldwide.

Raven has written and contributed to many books and publications, both popular and scientific, including Flora of China, a shared Chinese-American project that is leading to a contemporary, 50-volume account on the plants of China. He also coauthored an internationally best-selling textbook on botany, the seventh edition of which appeared earlier this year.

To find out more about the ESRI UC and to register, visit For more information on the Missouri Botanical Garden, visit

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