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Save the River’s annual Winter Conference is Saturday

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CLAYTON — Environmental experts, activists and educators with various backgrounds will speak Saturday at Save the River’s annual Winter Weekend Conference at the Clayton Opera House, 405 Riverside Drive.

D. Lee Willbanks, executive director of the Clayton nonprofit group, said the conference does not have a keynote speaker and instead will focus on a variety of topics concerning the upper St. Lawrence River, from Cape Vincent to Massena.

More than 100 researchers, community members and local leaders along the river are expected to attend.

While there may be last-minute changes, 11 speakers — including Jennifer Nalbone, director of navigation and invasive species at Great Lakes United, and John M. Farrell, director of the SUNY-ESF Thousand Islands Biological Station — are expected to give presentations and answer questions regarding the protection of native species, prevention and control of invasive species, mercury levels in common terns, wetland restoration and biodiversity.

Other topics include Save the River education programs and protection initiatives, such as the group’s catch-and-release sustainable fishing program.

Registration for the 24th annual event starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and the conference will kick off at 10 a.m. with presentations by Edward C. McNally, Save the River’s board president, and Mr. Willbanks regarding the state of the river.

The conference will be wrapped up with a 4 p.m. cocktail reception where participants can chat with speakers. A silent auction featuring “unique river items” to support Save the River activities will follow.

The registration fee is $35 and includes coffee, lunch and cocktail reception with light hors d’oeuvres.

For more information, contact Save the River at 686-2010 or visit the group’s website, www.savetheriver.org.

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