I actually got to see and hear his plenary talk (thanks to my supervisor!) which was set up like a fireside chat. it was a wonderful talk. The most memorable moment for me was when he discussed how important he felt it was that children should be able to explore the natural world on their own terms, that zoos and botanical gardens are great places for children if they get to explore but if they go to see the labels on the specimens and animals it is the worst way for them to experience it. And then he said "I think the largest enemy of the natural world are soccer moms [who over schedule them and do not let children discover for themselves]". This got a lot of laughs from the audience and later a woman started her question by saying "I'm going to overlook your snide remarks about soccer moms...." Wilson replied "Oh, don't! Stay angry and mull on it for awhile". And that is the part of the quote that I savor because isn't it true that too often we are soothing ruffled feathers to the extent that we don't think through whey something makes us angry or if it should make us angry? I hope to use that quote in the future.
Later, after his plenary, E.O. Wilson came down to the bookstore to sign books. He had a huge line. At the very end was me, an armful of books that other people had asked me to have him sign because they had places they had to be (although I must admit that I don't really understand that point in having your book signed if you don't get the opportunity to chat with the author). As I was the last in line we had time to chat and he was very gracious. He talked about how when he flies anywhere he always tries to calculate how far a child would have to walk from any subdivision or housing unit to the nearest thing resembling wilderness. I had a book of my own I wanted signed and we had been chatting for awhile and I had mentioned that I was an -ologist so when I put my book down and said, "and this one is for me" he announced, "ah, well you, you get an ant" and not only did he sign my book but he drew me an ant (he is very well renowned for his work with ants) in it and then a conference organizer snapped a photo of us!