State Land Commissioner Ray Powell to Present Talk

Ray PowellRay Powell, commissioner of public lands in New Mexico, will visit the UNM School of Law on Nov. 16 to present a brown-bag talk from 12-1 p.m. in Room 2403. The title of his talk will be, “Developing a Land Ethic at the New Mexico State Land Office Using a One Health/Conservation Medicine Approach.” All members of the law school community are invited to the talk, which is being presented by the Utton Center.

Conservation medicine is an emerging, interdisciplinary field that studies the relationship between human and animal health, and environmental conditions. It was first used in the mid-1990s, and represents a significant paradigm shift in both medicine and environmentalism.

Following is an example of this new field:
Burning huge areas of forest to make way for farmland is normally seen as an environmental and economic concern. That action may displace a wild animal species, which comes into contact with and infects a domesticated animal species, creating a veterinary problem. The domesticated animal then enters the human food chain and infects people, and a new health threat emerges. Conventional approaches to environmental protection and animal and human health only as an exception examine these connections, whereas in conservation medicine, such relationships are fundamental.

As land commissioner, Powell oversees the State Land Office, which is charged with generating and maximizing revenue from state trust lands to support public education and other beneficiary institutions, while simultaneously striving to protect, conserve, and maintain the lands so they may be used by future generations. He previously held this position for 10 years, from 1993-2003.

Powell is a native New Mexican, trained as a veterinarian. He received his doctorate of veterinary medicine from Tufts University, with an emphasis in wildlife rehabilitation in 1985. Previously, he received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and biology and his master’s degree in botany and plant ecology from the University of New Mexico. Powell served as the chairman of the New Mexico Board of Veterinary Regulation and Licensing from 2003-2005 and is currently the vice chairman.

Don’t forget to bring a lunch to the Nov. 16 talk.

November 4, 2011