Animal Law Society Presents Symposium on Protecting Marine Wildlife March 27 at VLS

The Animal Law Society (ALS) at Vermont Law School will present “Below the Surface: Diving Deep to Protect Our Ocean Animals,” a symposium on the status of marine wildlife conservation in the United States and beyond, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in Chase Community Center at VLS. The event is free and open to the public and press, and will be streamed live at

The symposium agenda includes presentations on the intersection of marine wildlife conservation and international governance, global shark conservation policy, and the history of capture and conservation of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale population in Puget Sound.

Guest panelists include:

Don Baur, a partner in the Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources practice at Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C. Baur, who teaches Ocean and Coastal Law during Summer Session at VLS, is former general counsel to the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and currently serves on the boards of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Shenandoah National Park, and Environmental Law Institute. He is co-editor of the American Bar Association treatises on the Endangered Species Act and Ocean and Coastal Law.

Heather Rally, a supervising veterinarian for Captive Animal Law Enforcement at PETA Foundation. Rally, who teaches Animal Welfare Law at VLS, has specific training with marine mammals and serves on the advisory committee for the Whale Sanctuary Project. She has been featured in the acclaimed documentary “Racing Extinction,” and has taught wildlife welfare courses at Boston University, Dartmouth, and Florida International University. 

Aaron Strong, assistant professor of marine policy at the University of Maine. Strong’s research interests include coastal and marine policy, coastal pollution policy, international ocean policy, and marine climate change. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and addressing problems of sustainability and marine policy. 

Steve Kessel, director of marine research at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Ill. Kessel oversees marine conservation projects aimed at protecting important marine species in the Bahamas, and launched a research project to better understand Caribbean shark species. He has assisted with conservation management programs studying lemon sharks, Red Sea sharks, and manta rays.

Vegan refreshments will be served during “Below the Surface: Diving Deep to Protect Our Ocean Animals.” For more information about the symposium, email ALS Co-Chair Ana Berninger JD’18 at

The Animal Law Society at Vermont Law School, named a 2017 Student Animal Legal Defense Fund Chapter of the Year, is committed to providing a forum for education, advocacy, and scholarship aimed at protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system, and to raising the profile of the field of animal law. For more information about the society, follow on Facebook or email


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a juris doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; four master’s degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy, and Master of Arts in Restorative Justice; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Center for Applied Human Rights, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.