September 6-8, 2022

About the Forum

The Future of Conservation Forum will bring together key experts on conservation and resilience to share information and work together to protect our natural heritage and improve access to the benefits of conservation. Through workshops, presentations, and discussions participants will learn about current efforts to:

  • Conserve land,
  • Identify and protect resilient landscapes,
  • Increase equitable access to the benefits of conservation,
  • Include diverse communities in conservation planning,
  • Improve the overall effectiveness of applying science to conservation issues in North Carolina.

Dates: Tuesday–Thursday, September 06-08, 2022

Location: North Carolina Botanical Garden, 100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Get Directions.

Click here to view the detailed forum agenda.


* indicates the presentation will include Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, or Justice topics

Day 1 – Tuesday, September 6, 2022: Biodiversity & Resilience

8:00 am: Registration and Check-in (Reeves Auditorium Foyer)

9:00 – 10:15 Opening Session (Reeves Auditorium)

  • Welcome to the Future of Conservation Forum – Damon Waitt, North Carolina Botanical Garden
  • Recognition of Conference Sponsors – Chuck Roe, Southern Conservation Partners
  • Introduction of Plenary Speaker – Milo Pyne, Friends of Plant Conservation
  • Plenary Speaker: Dr. Alan Weakley, Herbarium Director, North Carolina Botanical Garden

10:15 – 10:30 Morning Break

10:30 – 11:15 Climate Change in North Carolina – Rebecca Ward, North Carolina State Climate Office

11:15 – 12:00 The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) & Conserving America the Beautiful– Hilary Morris with Rua Mordacai, SECAS

12:00 – 1:30 Catered Lunch

1:30 – 3:15 Concurrent Session 1

  • 1A (Reeves Auditorium) Conservation, Resilience, and Human Communities*. Moderated by Debbie Crane, The Nature Conservancy
  • 1B (Joslin Classrooms) Conservation, Resilience, and Natural Communities Presented by Michael Schafale, NC Natural Heritage Program

3:15 – 3:30 Afternoon Break

3:30 – 5:00 Concurrent Session 2

  • 2A (Reeves Auditorium) Zoology Moderated by Judith Ratcliffe and Nathan Shepard, NC Natural Heritage Program
  • 2B (Joslin Classrooms) Botany Moderated by Brenda Wichmann, NC Natural Heritage Program and Katherine Culatta, NC Plant Conservation Program

5:00 – 6:30 Reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres (Sara Waitt Breezeway), including remembrance of Steven Leonard [1943-2022]

Day 2 – Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Biodiversity & Resilience

8:00 am: Registration and Check-in (Reeves Auditorium Foyer)

9:00 – 10:00 Plenary Session: Mark Anderson, The Nature Conservancy – Mapping Resilience

10:00 – 11:00 Working Together for Conservation and Climate Resilience, Moderated by Debbie Crane

  • Coast: Peatland Restoration – Eric Soderholm, The Nature Conservancy
  • Piedmont: Catawba-Wateree Initiative – Protecting Land to Protect Water – Vicki Taylor, Catawba Wateree Initiative and Bill Holman, The Conservation Fund
  • Mountains: Roan Highlands Conservation –Jay Leutze, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
  • Discussion and Questions

11:00 – 12:00 Cape Fear Storm Resilience – Landscape-level Analysis* – Danica Schaffer-Smith, The Nature Conservancy

12:00 – 1:30 Catered Lunch

1:30 – 2:45 Concurrent Session 3

  • 3A (Reeves Auditorium) Ensuring Resilient Ecosystems Through Protecting Landscapes and Wildlife Corridors (Part I) Moderated by Scott Pohlman, NC Natural Heritage Program and Chuck Roe Southern Conservation Partners
  • 3B (Joslin Classrooms) – Environmental Justice and Conservation* – Moderated by Misty Buchanan, NC Natural Heritage Program

2:45 – 3:00 Afternoon Break

3:00 – 5:00 Concurrent Session 4

  • 4A (Reeves Auditorium) Ensuring Resilient Ecosystems Through Protecting Landscapes and Wildlife Corridors (Part II) – Moderated by Scott Pohlman and Chuck Roe
  • 4B (Joslin Classrooms) Funders Forum – Conservation and Resilience Funding Opportunities in North Carolina – Moderated by Will Summer
  • 4C (Bell Seminar Room) The Other 85% of Biodiversity – Moderated by Steve Hall and Carol Tingley

6:00 – 8:00 Catered Dinner (Reeves Auditorium). Guest Speaker: Dr. Gary Machlis – Future of Conservation: toward a unified vision of conservation. Includes time for questions & discussion.

Day 3 – Thursday, September 8, 2022: Equity & Inclusion

8:30 am: Registration and Check-in (Reeves Auditorium Foyer)

9:00 – 10:00 Plenary Session: Decolonizing Ecology* – Dr. Madhu Katti, NC State College of Natural Resources.

10:00 – 10:15 Morning Break

10:15 – 11:45 Equity Analysis of NC Nature Preserves* Misty Buchanan, NC Natural Heritage Program and Katie Warnell, Duke Nicholas School for the Environment, with time for questions and discussion

11:45 – 1:00 Catered Lunch

1:00 – 2:30 Equity and Inclusion in Action: Short presentations and discussion*

3:00 – 5:00 Concurrent Session 5 (registration not required)

  • 5A Natural and Working Contributions to NC Climate Goals (Reeves Auditorium)
    • NC Commitment to Address Climate Change and Net Zero Pathways Analysis – Jeremy Tarr, Office of Governor Roy Cooper
    • Natural and Working Lands (NWL) benefits for Climate Mitigation and Resilience – Misty Buchanan, NC Natural Heritage Program
    • Current projects and research
      • Agriculture – Climate-wise Agriculture Program – Keith Larick, NC Farm Bureau
      • Coastal Habitats – A Greenhouse Gas Inventory for NC Seagrass and Subaerial Wetlands – Paul Cough, Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuarine Partnership
      • Peatlands – Eric Soderholm, The Nature Conservancy
    • Questions, Comments, and Discussion
  • 5B Friends of Plant Conservation (Joslin Classroom) – Open meeting for guests, group members, and Session includes brief introduction to the group, current projects, future goals, group discussion. The Friends of Plant Conservation support the mission of the North Carolina Plant Conservation Program to permanently conserve native plant species in their natural habitats across the state. They accomplish this goal through outreach and education, fundraising, and stewardship activities on PCP’s Plant Conservation Preserves.
  • 5C Outreach and Career Fair (Sara Waitt Breezeway) – Conservation organizations and land trusts host tables to share information about their program mission, career opportunities, volunteering, and membership.

Who Should Attend?

  • Conservation specialists from local, state, and federal agencies.
  • Environmental organizations staff, volunteers, and members.
  • Researchers and students from North Carolina colleges and universities.
  • Anyone who has an interest in the future of conservation in North Carolina.

COVID Precautions

We are taking extensive precautions to make sure the Forum is safe for all participants. All forum participants must agree to abide by the UNC Community Standards. Read the UNC Community Standards here.

Forum Registration

Register online to attend the 2022 Future of Conservation Forum. Cost to attend the three day forum is $150 regular and $75 for students. A limited number of forum scholarships are available for those who may not be able to attend due to financial hardship. Please contact the NCBG Registrar at 919-962-4882 to inquire about these scholarships.

The Forum is made possible by the generous support of these sponsors

Burt’s Bees / Clorox Company
Blumenthal Foundation
Conservation Trust for North Carolina
The Conservation Fund
Felburn Foundation
Merck Family Fund
Foundation for the Carolinas:  Brad & Shelli Stanback Advised Fund

NCBG logo with UNC

If you are interested in sponsoring The Future of Conservation Forum, please contact:

Chuck Roe, President
Southern Conservation Partners, Inc.
PO Box 33222,  Raleigh NC 27636-3222
Tel.  919-500-6598 (o)    919-600-9893 (m)