The Smithsonian Institution and E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation present

Our Shared Future–a conversation in celebration of Half-Earth Day 2022

October 13, Washington, DC

Baird Auditorium, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation

Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine is a published author, computer scientist, lecturer, mathematician, historian, columnist, preservationist, environmental justice advocate, environmentalist, film consultant, and “The Art-ivist.” She is the founder of the premiere advocacy organization for the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition. 

Queen Quet was vetted with the US White House as an Expert Commissioner in the Department of the Interior. As an expert commissioner, she was also the Chair of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor General Management Plan. Queen Quet also served as a member of the “National Park Relevancy Committee ” and proudly continues to work to protect the environment and to ensure that diverse groups of people engage in the outdoors and the policies governing them. Queen Quet has engaged in several White House conferences on this issue. She has also been a part of the United Nations COP 22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco and COP 25 in Madrid, Spain. She also spoke at the United Nations Ocean Action Summit in Korea. 

Queen Quet was selected, elected, and enstooled by her people to be the first Queen Mother, “head pun de bodee,” and official spokesperson for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. As a result, she is respectfully referred to as “Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.” This bio represents a small portion of Queen Quet’s work and accolades; see her full bio at

Ellen Stofan, Under Secretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian

Ellen Stofan is Under Secretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian where she oversees the Smithsonian science research centers as well as the National Museum of Natural History and the National Zoo. The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, Office of International Relations, Smithsonian Scholarly Press and Scientific Diving Program also report to Stofan. Her focus is the Smithsonian’s collective scientific initiatives and commitment to research across the Institution, especially addressing issues such as biodiversity, global health, climate change, species conservation, astrophysics and the search for life outside Earth’s solar system.

Previously, Stofan was the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (2018–2021) where she was the first woman to hold that position. Under her leadership, the museum began its seven-year renovation of its flagship building in Washington, D.C., in 2018. Stofan also oversaw the momentous celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in July 2019 at the museum and on the National Mall.

Before joining the Smithsonian, Stofan had more than 25 years’ experience in space-related organizations and a deep research background in planetary geology. She was chief scientist at NASA (2013–2016), serving as the principal advisor to former Administrator Charles Bolden on NASA’s strategic planning and programs. She helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars and worked on strategies for NASA to support commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it transitions from the International Space Station to sending humans to the moon and Mars in the mid-2020s.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in geology at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and her master’s and doctoral degrees at Brown University, both in geological sciences. While finishing her doctoral degree, Stofan joined the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) as a postdoctoral fellow and became the deputy project scientist for the Magellan Mission to Venus.

In 1994, Stofan became JPL’s chief scientist for the New Millennium Program where she managed a team of about 100 scientists working on new technologies. The following year, Stofan moved to London while continuing to work at JPL and was, and continues to be, an honorary professor at University College London.

For 13 years (2000–2013), Stofan was vice president and senior scientist at Proxemy Research, a consulting firm in the Washington area specializing in planetary research.

She has published extensively and received many awards and honors, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and was named one of “CNN’s Extraordinary People of 2014.” She is co-author of the books Planetology: Unlocking the Secrets of the Solar System and Next Earth: What Our World Can Teach Us About Other Planets, both published by National Geographic.

Ani Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute

Ani Dasgupta is President and CEO of World Resources Institute, where he works to advance the institute’s global vision to improve the lives of all people and ensure that nature can thrive. He took the helm at WRI after seven years as Global Director of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, which is dedicated to shaping a future where cities work better for all people.

Under his leadership, he brought an increased focus on research to the Cities program, spearheading a number of new initiatives including the World Resources Report: Towards a More Equal City, launching new platforms like the Coalition for Urban Transitions and the New Urban Mobility Alliance (NUMO), as well as the Prize for Cities that supports innovative urban projects.

He developed his expertise in positions ranging from nonprofits in India to the World Bank. A widely recognized leader in the areas of sustainable cities, poverty alleviation, and building cultures of inclusion. Dasgupta has a history of building strong cross-sector, multi-national coalitions with governments, corporations, and civil society. 

Paula J. Ehrlich, President & CEO, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation

Paula J. Ehrlich, DVM, PhD, is President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, whose mission is to reimagine the way we care for our planet through actionable scientific research that supports communities in their stewardship of biodiversity. Dr. Ehrlich is co-Founder of the Half-Earth Project, which is working to inspire informed collective action to save the biosphere and ensure we leave no species behind.

Dr. Ehrlich has led the development of the Half-Earth Project Map, a global, spatially-explicit, and taxonomically comprehensive map of species, which informs how well conserved places are protecting species and identifies priorities for future conservation. She is founder of Half-Earth Day, which brings together world-wide participants from across disciplines to share perspectives and thought leadership on how to achieve Half-Earth and ensure the health of our planet for future generations.

Dr. Ehrlich has over 30 years of strategic scientific management and research expertise, and diverse academic, non-profit, and corporate leadership experience. Her current work embodies the hopes of the greatest naturalist of our time, E.O. Wilson.

Jeff Corwin, wildlife biologist, TV host

Jeff’s television work has been awarded with multiple Emmys and the top broadcast industry awards. His very first TV series was the wildly successful Going Wild with Jeff Corwin on Disney Channel. His Animal Planet series the Jeff Corwin Experience was a global sensation. Jeff is also the creator and co-presenter of CNN’s groundbreaking documentary Planet in Peril, hosted alongside Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta. Jeff is Executive Producer and host of ABC’s Ocean Treks, five seasons of powerful and compelling stories exploring journeys of culture, adventure, and nature around the globe. Jeff is an Executive Producer and Presenter for the giant screen film Expedition Chesapeake and the Narrator for David Attenborough’s powerful, cinematic documentary Galapagos, Nature’s Wonderland. During the Gulf oil spill, Jeff served as an environmental correspondent for both CBS and NBC News. In April 2020, Jeff created and executively produced the critically acclaimed TV series Alaska Animal Rescue for Nat Geo Wild, now on Disney Plus.

Beyond television, Jeff’s acclaimed NBC documentary and book, 100 Heartbeats, engaged both the readers and broadcast audience in the 21st Century plight of endangered species. Jeff is also. the author of 10 books on wildlife and nature, including Living on the Edge, Amazing Relationships in the Nature World. Jeff is a leader in conservation, recognized through his work as a television host, producer, journalist, author, explorer, and wildlife biologist. Jeff’s education includes Bachelor of Science Degrees in Anthropology and Biology from Bridgewater State University and a Master of Wildlife and Fisheries of Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Jeff is the recipient of numerous Honorary Doctorate Degrees in Education and Environmental Science. His lifelong global exploration, academic training, and partnerships with top scientists allow Jeff exclusive access to the compelling stories from the battlefront of conservation. Jeff’s love for adventure and discovery has fueled his life-long career. He has been striving to change the world one species at a time and leave a vital legacy for future generations. “We cannot protect what we do not cherish, and we will not cherish what we do not know…” – Jeff Corwin

Elizabeth Gray, CEO, Audubon

Elizabeth joined Audubon in 2021, first as president and chief conservation officer before being appointed as Audubon’s first woman chief executive officer. Prior to joining Audubon, she was the Global Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Climate Change program. Trained as an ornithologist, she has spent 30+ years as a dedicated conservationist, spending considerable time in the field nationally and abroad.

Elizabeth has been a leader on equity issues, from founding the first urban conservation program in Washington, D.C., to empowering the next generation of conservation leaders through a young professional’s network and youth advocacy program, to serving as one of five members of TNC’s Global Gender Equity Council.

Elizabeth will be based in Audubon’s Washington, D.C. office. She holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Washington and an A.B. with highest honors in psychology from Harvard University.

Jennifer Morris, CEO, The Nature Conservancy

Jennifer Morris is Chief Executive Officer of The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization that partners with communities across the globe to overcome the barriers to climate and biodiversity solutions. Jennifer leads over 4,000 global staff working together to develop breakthrough tools and ideas, amplify local knowledge, influence decision-making, and forge  new paths to funding in pursuit of a world where people and nature thrive.

For more than 25 years, Jennifer has dedicated her life to protecting the environment for people and nature. She brings decades of global leadership, proven management skills, and a passion for conservation to the organization and its ambitious mission—conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Almost 30 years ago, Jennifer was teaching in Namibia, with an eye on a career in public health.

Years of working and living in a small community showed her that the health of each individual and each family was inextricably linked to the health of the environment. This realization propelled her to serve by working in economic development, and she went on to receive a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University with a focus on business development and micro-finance. After a short stint at Women’s World Banking, she joined Conservation International.

Jennifer was previously president at Conservation International(CI), where she developed some of CI’s most enduring programs, partnerships, and innovative strategies using business development as a tool to protect nature for the well-being of humanity. Prior to her role as president, she was CI’s chief operating officer and oversaw significant growth in budget and staff. Jennifer is a passionate storyteller, avid outdoors enthusiast, and mentor to the future generations of conservation leaders. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and daughter.

Cristián Samper, Managing Director and Leader of Climate Solutions, Bezos Earth Fund

Dr. Cristián Samper is the Managing Director and Leader of Nature Solutions at the Bezos Earth Fund (BEF), designed to support climate and nature solutions. He is a biologist and has worked on environmental science, policy, and education throughout his career. Prior to joining BEF, Cristián served as President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society (2012-2022), Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (2003-2012) and was the founding Director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute of Colombia. He grew up in Colombia, studied at the Universidad de Los Andes and received his masters and doctoral degrees in biology from Harvard University.

Lucas St. Clair, President of Elliotsville Foundation, Inc.

Lucas was born in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine and spent his childhood in a hand-built log cabin with few amenities and a focus on living in harmony with nature. After graduating from high school Lucas immersed himself in outdoor wilderness adventures: hiking the Appalachian Trail, paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, and fine-tuning leadership and technical skills with the National Outdoor Leadership School in Patagonia. He then pursued an interest in organic and sustainable food, and graduated from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London. Following his graduation he worked in the food and wine industry for nearly a decade in New York City, Seattle, and Maine. Lucas is an avid fly fisherman, boater, and mountain climber. Lucas is now the President of Elliotsville Foundation, Inc., a private operating foundation in Maine whose mission is to advance the dynamic relationship of innovative land conservation and community-based economic and community development in Maine. 

On August 24th, 2016, Elliotsville Foundation completed a multi-year campaign to establish Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument with an 89,000-acre donation of land to the National Park Service. Elliotsville continues to support the Katahdin Woods and Waters as well as conduct work to build more outdoor recreational infrastructure in Maine. Lucas is a former congressional candidate in ME-2 and now serves on the boards of the Quimby Family Foundation, Maine Conservation Voters, Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters, Maine Public, and the Northern Forest Center. He chairs the National Board of the Trust for Public Land and serves on the National Park Foundation’s National Council. He lives in Falmouth, Maine with his wife, Yemaya, and their two children.

Sean B. Carroll, Head of Studio, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios

An internationally recognized biologist, award-winning author, and two-time Emmy-winning executive producer, Sean Carroll is Head of HHMI’s Tangled Bank Studios whose mission is to bring great stories about science and scientists to broad audiences. Sean has served as executive producer on a wide variety of feature documentaries, IMAX, and short films. As leader of HHMI’s Department of Science Education, Carroll also oversees the largest portfolio of privately supported science education activities in the United States.

A frequent public speaker and prominent storyteller in print, in film, and on radio, Carroll is the author of several books including Remarkable Creatures which was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award and The Serengeti Rules which was the basis for an Emmy-winning feature documentary.

Dawn Wright, PhD, Chief Scientist, Esri

Dr. Dawn Wright is Chief Scientist of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (aka Esri), a world-leading geographic information system (GIS) software and data science company. Core to Esri’s mission is to inspire and enable people to positively impact their future by connecting them with the geoanalytic knowledge needed to make the critical decisions shaping the planet. Hence, Esri believes that geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future. As Chief Scientist, Dawn is responsible for strengthening the scientific foundation for Esri software and services, while representing Esri to the international scientific community. She also serves on the Half Earth Council and the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation Board of Directors, and is still a Professor of Geography and Oceanography at Oregon State University where she has been on the faculty since 1995.

In the early 1990s Dawn was the first female of African descent to dive to the ocean floor in the deep submersible Alvin. On July 12, 2022 she became the first person of any gender and of African descent to dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth, and to successfully operate a sidescan sonar at full-ocean depth. This was accomplished in the deep submersible Limiting Factor.

In April 2021 Dawn was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She holds an Individual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Physical Geography and Marine Geology from UC-Santa Barbara, an M.S. in Oceanography from Texas A&M, and a B.S. cum laude in Geology from Wheaton College (Illinois). Follow her on Twitter @deepseadawn.

Kirk Johnson, PhD, Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Kirk Johnson is the Sant Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where he oversees the world’s largest natural history collection. The Museum hosts nearly 5 million visitors each year. In 2018, its scientists published 586 scientific research papers and named 310 new species. In 2019, the museum opened The David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-Deep Time, an exhibition that interprets the history of life on Earth and its relevance to the future of humanity.

Before his arrival at the Smithsonian in 2012, Kirk was a paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science where led expeditions in 18 states and 11 countries. His research focuses on fossil plants and the extinction of the dinosaurs. In 2011, he led an ice age excavation near Snowmass Village in Colorado that recovered parts of more than fifty mastodon skeletons. He is known for his scientific articles, popular books, museum exhibitions, documentaries, and collaborations with artists.

His recent documentaries include Making North America and The Great Yellowstone Thaw, both of which aired on PBS channels. He is the host of NOVA’s Polar Extremes, a documentary about the ancient climate of the Arctic and Antarctic, which premiered on February 5, 2020. His latest book, Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline, The Travels of an Artist and a Scientist along the Shores of the Prehistoric Pacific explores the deep history of the West Coast from California to Alaska.

Kirk is originally from Bellevue, Washington, has a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College, a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in geology and paleobotany from Yale University.

Alison Fox, CEO American Prairie

Alison is the CEO of American Prairie, a nonprofit with the vision of restoring and sharing with the public a fully functioning shortgrass prairie ecosystem in north central Montana. With hundreds of thousands of acres already under the organization’s management, American Prairie works with scientists, biologists, neighboring landowners and other collaborators to restore the full suite of biodiversity that comprises a grassland ecosystem, manages a conservation herd of bison, and provides thousands of visitors each year the opportunity to connect with nature on a truly grand scale.

Ms. Fox has led the organization as CEO since February 2018 and had various leadership and management roles with the organization since 2007, including communications, marketing and branding, institutional partnerships and philanthropy. She holds an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, where she focused on marketing and nonprofit management, and a BA in History from Dartmouth College. She is a member of the Big Sky Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, Inc. (YPO) and the Advisory Board of William & Mary’s Institute for Integrative Conservation.

Heather Tallis, Assistant Director for Biodiversity and Conservation Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Heather Tallis is the Assistant Director for Biodiversity and Conservation Sciences and the Acting Director of the National Nature Assessment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She has deep experience advancing science and policy that bridges nature, the economy and health. She provides evidence-based input to the Biden-Harris Administration’s America the Beautiful effort, leads cross agency action on nature-based solutions, and with the US Global Change Research Program, established the National Nature Assessment. Through previous work with The Nature Conservancy and the Natural Capital Project, she has designed and informed conservation practice with local communities, Indigenous groups, governments and companies around the globe. Heather is an avid explorer of forests, rivers, the ocean and the Natural History Museum’s Hall of Geology, Gems & Minerals! She also serves as Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Walter Jetz Scientific Chair, E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation

Walter Jetz is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Adjunct Professor in the School of Forestry and the Environment at Yale University. Dr. Jetz is Director of the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change, which links scientists, students and practitioners engaged in the environment, biological, informatics, policy or health aspects and implications of global biodiversity change. He also leads the Map of Life, which consolidates global biodiversity distribution data sources into a single asset to provide the best possible species range information and species lists for any geographic area worldwide.

Dr. Jetz’ work addresses patterns and mechanisms of changing biodiversity distribution and the resulting implications on conservation and environmental management. His research combines remote sensing, phylogenetic, functional, and spatiotemporal biodiversity data with new modeling approaches and informatics tools. Dr. Jetz is particularly interested in how environmental, ecological, and macroevolutionary mechanisms combine to determine the co-occurrence of species and the structure of species assemblages.

In addition to his work at Yale, Dr. Jetz chairs the IPBES Task Group on Biodiversity Indicators and is Co-Lead of the GEO BON Working Group on Species Distributions. Dr. Jetz was previously a professor of biological sciences at the University of California San Diego.

Dr. Jetz earned his MSc in Integrative Bioscience and DPhil in Zoology from the University of Oxford.

Mamie Parker, Ph.D., Trustee of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

An executive coach, facilitator, and inspirational public speaker, Mamie Parker is a retired fish and wildlife biologist who rose to the rank of Assistant Director for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Washington, DC. She made history when appointed the first African American USFWS Northeast Regional Director in the Senior Executive Service.  She also served as Chief of Staff and Chief of Fisheries. Mamie has vast experience in water resources planning, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Clean Water Act, wetland protection, and restoration.

As the USFWS Assistant Director, she served as the facilitator at the White House Conference on the Environment. Dr. Parker played a major role in implementing the Coastal Barrier Resources Act system mapping and flood insurance, Coastal Program, and protecting our nation’s waters from pollutants and invasive species such as listing the snakehead fish as an injurious wildlife species. She helped create the National Fish Habitat Action Plan in partnership, for which the President of the United States presented her with the Presidential Rank Award, the highest award given to government employees. She also received the Department of Interior’s Silver Award presented by the Secretary of the USFWS.

Dr. Parker is a leader in various organizations and serves on the Board of Directors of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Duke University School of the Environment Visitors Board, Northland College, Student Conservation Association, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Brown Advisory Sustainable Investment, Marstel-Day Consulting Company, Defenders of Wildlife, the Potomac Conservancy, and the Chesapeake Conservancy.

The Governor of Virginia recently appointed her to the Board of Directors of the Game and Inland Fisheries. The Council of World Women Leaders awarded her with an Aspen Institute Fellowship where she worked in the Kingdom of Lesotho and in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a 2018 winner of the prestigious William K. Reilly Award from American University School of Public Affairs’ Center for Environmental Policy, and a 2015 Champion of the Chesapeake from Chesapeake Conservancy. Born and raised in Arkansas, she was inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame by the Governor.

Dr. Parker holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), a Master of Science in fish and wildlife management, and a doctoral degree in limnology from the University of Wisconsin. She also received executive leadership training at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. When she is not working, Mamie enjoys watching movies, hiking and mentoring young ladies.

Melanie A. Adams, Director, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

Melanie A. Adams is the director of the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. With more than 25 years of community engagement experience in museums and higher education, she is dedicated to bringing stakeholders together to address relevant community issues.

Previously, beginning in 2016, Adams served as deputy director for learning initiatives, at the Minnesota Historical Society. She led efforts at the society to develop strategic partnerships, audiences and resources within local communities. As deputy director, she managed 26 historic sites and museums throughout Minnesota. During her tenure, she created the community outreach department to provide partnerships and programs outside the museum walls. 

Adams was the managing director of the Missouri Historical Society for 11 years (2005–2016) where she oversaw more than 700 St. Louis community programs annually, including events with more than 100 community partners. Her work focused on addressing the cultural and social concerns of the St. Louis community.

Adams was president of the Association of Midwest Museums from 2014 to 2016, and she currently serves on the council of the American Association for State and Local History. As a facilitator of workshops on topics related to museums and race, she helps professionals understand barriers to connecting with diverse audiences.

Her past work has focused on racial inequality in education. Appointed by the St. Louis mayor in 2007 to the Special Administrative Board of St. Louis Public Schools, she worked for nine years with students, staff and the public to help the district regain accreditation. Adams has received numerous accolades for her community work; she was named a St. Louis NAACP 100 Community Leader in 2009 and the Royal Vagabonds Foundation Extraordinary St. Louis Trailblazer in 2014.

Adams holds a bachelor’s degree in English/African-American studies from the University of Virginia, a master’s degree in education from the University of Vermont and a doctorate from the University of Missouri St. Louis in educational leadership and policy studies.

Alyssa Ravasio, Founder and CEO, Hipcamp

Alyssa Ravasio is the founder and CEO of Hipcamp, a global online platform that brings the sharing economy to one of the planet’s most plentiful resources—land. Built on the belief that getting outside should be simple, Hipcamp partners with private landowners across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom to create new spaces for recreation, increasing access to the outdoors while providing sustainable revenue to protect nature. To date, Hipcamp has unlocked access to more than 4 million acres of private land and helped people enjoy more than 6 million nights under the stars. 

Alyssa has received industry recognition for her achievement. She has served on the Outdoor Industry Association’s Recreation Advisory Council and in 2022 she was recognized by Outside Business Journal as one of the 20 most influential people in the outdoor industry.

Alyssa earned her bachelor’s degree in Digital Democracy and Complexity Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She lives in the wilds of Marin County with her husband and young son, and one of her deepest passions is shaping how the internet impacts our humanity and our planet.

Norina Vicente, Half-Earth Project Chairs & Scholars

Norina Vicente was born in Tete Province, Mozambique. She is an Entomologist in training and photographer. She earned her B.Sc. degree in Ecotourism, Wildlife and Management from Instituto Superior Politécnico de Manica (Manica province).

She is a Half-Earth Scholar and an associate Research Scientist at Gorongosa National Park. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s program at San Francisco State University in Integrative Biology.  Her interest involves understanding the Evolutionary, Ecology and Conservation Biology of insects, particularly ants.

Adams Cassinga, National Geographic Explorer and Founding Director, Conserv Congo

Adams Cassinga is a wildlife criminal investigator, wildlife activist, civic leader, and public speaker from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa. After running a successful mining consultancy business for years, he decided to dedicate his life to protecting the Congolese biodiversity.

A DRC honorary ranger, he is currently the founder and CEO for Conserv Congo, a nature conservation-aligned NGO which fights poaching and wildlife trafficking; and environmental conservation through education in the Congo.

Kate Kelly, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Deputy Chief of Staff – Policy

​​Kate Kelly most recently was the Public Lands Director at the Center for American Progress. During the Obama administration, Kate served as senior advisor to then-Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and also served as communications director on behalf of Secretary Jewell and former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Prior to joining the Interior Department, Kate worked in the U.S. Senate.  Kate received her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and hails from Colorado.

Alex Killion, PhD, Managing Director, Center for Biodiversity and Global Change, Yale University

Alex Killion, PhD, is the Managing Director of the Center for Biodiversity and Global Change at Yale University where he oversees several data-driven biodiversity initiatives. Alexander has over a decade of experience deploying geospatial platforms for biodiversity conservation and leading transdisciplinary research. He builds effective teams and fosters collaboration across sectors to develop and deploy actionable science products on a global scale.

Kameran Onley, Director of North American Policy and Government Relations, The Nature Conservancy

Kameran Onley is Director of North American Policy and Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy. Prior to joining the Nature Conservancy, she served as Associate Vice President with PBS&J, Inc., an environmental engineering firm focused on large-scale ecosystem restoration. Most notably, Onley held the position of acting Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at Department of the Interior, during the George W. Bush Administration, where she provided policy development, management, and oversight to the projects and programs of the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey. She also served as the principal advisor to the Interior Department Secretary and Deputy Secretary on significant environmental policy issues, such as Everglades’s restoration, western water issues, and ocean and coastal matters. Onley also served as Associate Director for Environmental Policy at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She received a B.S. in Economics from Seattle University, and a Masters in Agricultural Economics from Clemson University.