Thursday, March 28th

Sammy Gensaw III, a dynamic young Yurok leader, will share some of his experiences working for ecological and cultural revival along the Klamath River, central to his people’s identity and livelihood. He’ll discuss how the epic struggle to remove destructive dams required drawing deeply from ancestral wisdom, modern science, and cutting-edge activism, and how Indigenous leadership can play a central role in rekindling our connections to land and water and ushering in a restorative, resilient future for all of us.

March 28th | 11:25 am to 11:41 am | Zellerbach Hall

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Keynote


Samuel Gensaw, III – Youth Keynote
Founding Director
Ancestral Guard

Biodiversity loss is a global crisis, but success is out there. The new broadcast and YouTube series WILD HOPE aims to make these conservation stories accessible and engaging for a global, young audience. The key to that success? Focus on hope. Biodiversity decline is a local problem with local solutions – and the milestones for successfully reversing the crisis are everywhere. Produced by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios. Introduction and post-screening Q+A with Sarah Arnoff, Co-Executive Producer of the series; Alex Duckles, Senior Digital Media and Impact Producer, and Alexandra Pearson, Impact and Communications Producer.

Vertical Meadows (7:11): As urban expansion quickly replaces natural habitats, façade engineer Alistair Law has created a radically new way to restore native ecosystems for pollinators and create natural spaces for us all within cities—by turning the walls of buildings and construction sites into meadows.

Return of the Manatees (16:01): Today, manatees are experiencing what scientists call a UME — an unusual mortality event — some 1000 of them are dying each year, a major crisis for a population of only 7000, but citizens in the manatee stronghold of Crystal River have pioneered an approach to restore critical seagrass that now shows promise to help the gentle giants throughout their range.

March 28th | 6:40 pm to 8:10 pm | Goldman Theater, Brower Center

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Panelists


Sarah Arnoff
Co-Executive Producer of the Wild Hope series
Tangled Bank Studios
Alex Duckles
Digital Media Specialist
HHMI Tangled Bank Studios
Alexandra Pearson
Impact and Communications Producer
HHMI Tangled Bank Studios

Friday, March 29th

Introduction by J.P. Harpignies, Bioneers Senior Producer

For decades, scientists have warned about the consequences of deforestation and fossil fuel burning that have led to today’s climate and biodiversity crises.  They have also conducted careful research that has helped inform development of nature-based solutions.  Despite the urgency of the interdependent crises and the agency we have in helping address them, there abound efforts to discredit peer-reviewed climate change science. Dr. Simard’s talk will delve into recent backlash she has experienced over her science that informs climate solutions for the forests of western North America.

March 29th | 12:02 pm to 12:24 pm | Zellerbach Hall

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Introduced by


J. P. Harpignies
Senior Producer
Bioneers

Keynote


Suzanne Simard
Professor of Forest Ecology
University of British Columbia

In British Columbia and many other places, colonization removed Indigenous people from their wooded lands and made way for industrial forestry, causing incredible harm to both the people and the land. Using a variety of approaches, many First Nations are regaining governance of their ancestral forests and seeking to steward them in ways that draw on both historical Indigenous management practices and cutting-edge contemporary science to support ecosystem health, cultural values, and local livelihoods. This panel brings together the Mother Tree Network and the Awi’nakola Foundation to share how they support First Nations in British Columbia in this transformational work.  With: Mak’wala Rande Cook, Ma’amtagila hereditary chief and founding Director of the Awi’nakola Foundation; Coreen ChildYakawilas, Executive Director, Awi’nakola Foundation; Suzanne Simard, Ph.D., UBC Professor and Chair of the Mother Tree Network; Jana Kotaska, Ph.D., Executive Director, Mother Tree Network. Moderated by: Teo Grossman, President, Bioneers.

March 29th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Freight & Salvage

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Panelists


Suzanne Simard
Professor of Forest Ecology
University of British Columbia
Coreen Child – Yakawilas
Executive Director
Awi’nakola Foundation
Rande Cook
Founding Director
Awi’nakola Foundation
Jana Kotaska
Executive Director
Mother Tree Network
Teo Grossman
President
Bioneers

In this session, Cole Bush, of Shepherdess Land and Livestock Co.; Bre Owens, Director of Western Programs with the National Grazing Lands Coalition; and Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, of the renowned Quivira Coalition, will discuss the ways in which enlightened livestock management, particularly shepherding, can actually improve the land and soil, sequester carbon, and strengthen rural communities. They will share their experiences working in the American West, seeking to restore and protect its delicate landscapes through intelligent, cutting-edge grazing practices, as well as cultivating relationships between diverse peoples, cultures, and places. Questions they will explore will include: How can livestock contribute to building climate resilience? How can we think and act differently about the relationship between people, animals, and watersheds? How are unexpected allies critical in changing our food, fiber, and climate systems?

March 29th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Golden Bear Room, Hotel Shattuck Plaza

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Panelists


Cole Bush
Owner/Operator
Shepherdess Land and Livestock Co.
Sarah Wentzel-Fisher
Executive Director
Quivira Coalition
Bre Owens
Director of Western Programs
National Grazing Lands Coalition

From being a blip on the screen 20 years ago, the movement to recognize the legal rights of nature has become the fastest growing environmental movement in history, with powerful leadership by First Nations and Indigenous communities. Yet in light of the climate emergency and the accelerating destruction of natural systems, it must become much bigger, much faster. How can we scale the Rights of Nature movement? In this session, Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, and Menominee tribal member and Menīkānaehkem Director Guy Reiter, share new tools and movement-building strategies, including a new mapping app that facilitates the building of bioregional alliances across ecosystems, and conservation easements that can be used by landowners to recognize the rights of nature on their land.

March 29th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | The Marsh Theater

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Panelists


Thomas Linzey
Senior Legal Counsel
Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights
Mari Margil
Executive Director
Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights
Guy Reiter
Executive Director
Menīkānaehkem

Join Puyr Tembé, First Secretary of Indigenous Peoples of the State of Para in the Brazilian Amazon; Celia Xakriabá, a Federal Deputy in the Brazilian Congress and a co-founder of ANMIGA (the National Association of Ancestral Indigenous Women Warriors);  and Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director of Amazon Watch, in an intimate and inspiring conversation about the power of Indigenous women’s leadership to protect the Amazon and all of the biomes of Brazil. What began as seeds of resistance to deforestation and land-grabbing for industrial extraction has grown to a national and international movement to reforest minds and hearts to defend Indigenous land rights, respect women’s rights and protect Mother Earth. Learn how you can join the movement. “The fight for Mother Earth is the Mother of all fights!”

March 29th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Goldman Theater, Brower Center

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Panelists


Puyr Tembé
First Secretary
Indigenous Peoples of the State of Para
Celia Xakriabá
Federal Deputy
The Brazilian Congress
Leila Salazar-López
Executive Director
Amazon Watch

Saturday, March 30th

Introduction by J.P. Harpignies, Bioneers Senior Producer

A widely-traveled, brilliant conservation ecologist/wildlife biologist who has done cutting-edge work on apex predators in many remote and rugged locales around the world, Rae Wynn Grant is also one of the most captivating and inspiring science communicators of our time as well as a leading advocate for women and people of color in the sciences. In this talk, she will draw from her just about-to-be-released memoir, Wild Life, to share some of her experiences finding her way in a profession with very few scientists who looked like her as she embarked on a quest to study the ever-shifting relationship between humans, animals, and place and came to understand the vital roles we must each play not just as stewards for our land and water, but also for our communities, each other, and ourselves. 

March 30th | 9:47 am to 10:09 am | Zellerbach Hall

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Introduced by


J. P. Harpignies
Senior Producer
Bioneers

Keynote


Rae Wynn-Grant
Wildlife Ecologist and Conservation Biologist
University of California at Santa Barbara + Host of Wild Kingdom

What can fiber arts and rotor sails have in common? How can we create sustainable technologies that can be implemented in the near future while balancing interests of profit with public health and climate change mitigation? Charlotte Lenore Michaluk, an extraordinary 17-year-old scientist, researcher, biomimetic inventor and passionate eco-activist and conservationist shares her hopeful vision informed by a deep respect of the natural world and powered by brilliant, clean green technologies. Pulling insight from her experiences ranging from cargo ship systems to a novel constructed writing script for greater freedom of expression, she will share the possibilities unleashed by an interdisciplinary mode of thinking that leverages common ground and societal and technological inertia.

March 30th | 10:09 am to 10:20 am | Zellerbach Hall

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Keynote


Charlotte Michaluk – Youth Keynote
Engineer, Scientist and Linguistics Researcher
Acnestis By Wind

Introduction by Teo Grossman, President of Bioneers

Erica Gies is an independent journalist, National Geographic Explorer, and the author of Water Always Wins: Thriving in an age of drought and deluge, published in the U.S., U.K., and China. She covers water, climate change, plants and wildlife for Scientific American, The New York Times, bioGraphic, Nature, and other publications. The honors she has received include the Sierra Club’s Rachel Carson Award, Friends of the River’s California River Award, the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Excellence in Journalism Award, and the Harvey Southam Lectureship at the University of Victoria.

March 30th | 11:19 am to 11:41 am | Zellerbach Hall

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Introduced by


Teo Grossman
President
Bioneers

Keynote


Erica Gies
Author & Journalist
Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge

Introduction by Toby Kiers, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Scientist, SPUN

Most fungi live out of sight, yet they make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. The symbiotic mycorrhizal networks formed by plants and fungi comprise an ancient life-support system that easily qualifies as one of the wonders of the living world. Yet climate change strategies, conservation agendas and restoration efforts overlook fungi and focus overwhelmingly on animals and plants. This is a problem: the destruction of underground fungal networks accelerates both climate change and biodiversity loss and interrupts vital global nutrient cycles. In this session, Merlin Sheldrake, the biologist and bestselling author of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our World, will drive home just how critically important fungi are and discuss the visionary work of the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN) and its efforts to map and protect the mycorrhizal fungal communities of the planet. He will also present cutting-edge research into the flow dynamics of carbon and nutrients within mycorrhizal fungal networks.

March 30th | 11:41 am to 12:04 pm | Zellerbach Hall

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Introduced by


Toby Kiers
Executive Director and Chief Scientist
Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN)

Keynote


Merlin Sheldrake
Biologist and Writer
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures

Hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Network (a nonprofit dedicated to helping wildlife and people coexist and thrive).

We share our planet with many other animals, including some especially beautiful and captivating wildlife species, and tragically, our own species is taking up more and more space and consuming an ever-increasing share of the biosphere’s resources, so many wild animals are facing unprecedented challenges. Protecting these incredible creatures is a difficult and fascinating job, one that requires as many of us as possible to become engaged and support conservation efforts around the world. In this session, some leading experts in the field will share their insights, experiences and remarkable stories about their efforts to safeguard wildlife and wild places, and tell us how we can be more involved in this critically important work. Hosted by Paul Thomson, Senior Director of Conservation Programs, Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN). With: large-carnivore ecologist and a fellow with the National Geographic Society, Rae Wynn-Grant; Neal Sharma, California Wildlife Program, WCN; ; Zoliswa Nhleko, Ph.D., a wildlife ecologist and Senior Programs Manager at WCN.

March 30th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Freight & Salvage

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Panelists


Rae Wynn-Grant
Wildlife Ecologist and Conservation Biologist
University of California at Santa Barbara + Host of Wild Kingdom
Zoliswa Nhleko
Senior Programs Manager
Wildlife Conservation Network
Neal Sharma
California Wildlife Program
Wildlife Conservation Network
Paul Thomson
Senior Director of Conservation Programs
Wildlife Conservation Network

In 2023, Mashpee Wampanoag youth came together to protect herring, a keystone species in their ancestral homelands, whom their tribe has stewarded for the last 12,000 years. Extractive fishing and pollution has reduced the herring population to 5% since this data has been tracked. The youth took note, organized a coalition, and drafted a resolution to protect herring, based on Rights of Nature legal principles. They brought it to their Tribal Council, who unanimously approved it. In this panel, we’ll hear this inspiring story from the youth directly, and their practical tips for how other youth can protect the places they live through direct action. Moderated by Britt Gondolfi.  Featuring: Talia Landry, Ciara Oakley Robbins, Jyrzie Alves, Amaya Balbuena, Jacelle Steiding.

March 30th | 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm | Berkeley Ballroom, Residence Inn

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Panelists


Talia Landry
Grants Manager
Mashpee Wampanoag Education Department
Amaya Balbuena
Member
Mashpee NEA
Ciara Oakley-Robbins
Carpenter and Indigenous Environmental Activist
Britt Gondolfi
Community Organizer, Author

The ravages inflicted on ecosystems and human communities, especially those of frontline First Peoples, by the brutally exploitative extractive system that dominates the global economy, threaten to unravel the entire web of life. The challenge of our time is to quickly reverse that ecocidal trajectory, and one of the best places to look for effective alternative models is in the deep wisdom of traditional Indigenous cultures who learned over millennia to work with the natural world with an attitude of reverent and respectful reciprocity to meet human needs while ensuring the environment’s ongoing health. In this session three inspiring leaders working to implement various forms of Indigenous ecological science in partnerships with university, state and local partners share their perspectives and experiences. With Nina Simons, author of Nature, Culture & the Sacred and Bioneers’ co-founder; deeply respected longtime activist and educator Jeannette Armstrong, Ph.D., Syilx Okanagan Nation, cofounder Enowkin Centre; dynamic young leader in salmon restoration/dam removal struggles on the Klamath River, Sammy Gensaw III, Yurok, co-founder, Ancestral Guard; and Niko Alexandre, co-founder of the Shelterwood Collective, which brings together Black, Indigenous and LGBTQ people in a land-based, community-building project that is implementing TEK methods in their fields and forests.   

March 30th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Crystal Ballroom, Hotel Shattuck Plaza

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Panelists


Nikola Alexandre
Co-Creator & Stewardship Lead
The Shelterwood Collective
Samuel Gensaw, III – Youth Keynote
Founding Director
Ancestral Guard
Jeannette Armstrong
Co-Founder
Enowkin Centre
Nina Simons
Co-Founder and Chief Relationship Strategist
Bioneers

In this session, two leading researchers seeking to understand the critically important but long overlooked and understudied role of fungal networks in supporting life and regulating climate will discuss their work with the groundbreaking, visionary Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), an organization at the forefront of studying and protecting fungal networks all over the world and driving innovation in underground climate and biodiversity science. With: biologist Merlin Sheldrake, Ph.D., author of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our World; and Toby Kiers, Ph.D., Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Executive Director and Chief Scientist at SPUN. Moderated by J.P. Harpignies, senior producer, Bioneers Conference.

March 30th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Freight & Salvage

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Panelists


Merlin Sheldrake
Biologist and Writer
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures
Toby Kiers
Executive Director and Chief Scientist
Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN)
J. P. Harpignies
Senior Producer
Bioneers

Almost 50% of lands in California have some level of protection, but how do we best take care of these lands and steward them responsibly in the face of rapidly increasing climate instability, development pressures, and the urgent need for far more inclusive access to the natural world by hitherto disenfranchised groups? Bay Nature is an independent nonprofit publication and website with a vision that all people have a close relationship with nature. It has been one of the leading organizations helping connect the people of the Bay Area to the natural world and motivating society to seek to solve problems with nature in mind. In this session leaders in local conservation will share their insights into how to engage specific communities and the broader public through wide ranging volunteer programs, green jobs initiatives and policy innovations to ensure vibrant ecosystems with equitable access to all. Moderated by Kate Golden, Bay Nature’s Digital Editor. With: Annie Burke, the Executive Director of TOGETHER Bay Area, a leading regional voice for resilient lands and watersheds for all the people around the Bay; Yakuta Poonawalla, Associate Director of Community Stewardship and Engagement at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy; Jessica Sloan, Volunteer Program Supervisor at East Bay Regional Park District; Steven Addison, Conservation Program Manager at Civicorps.  

March 30th | 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm | Golden Bear Room, Hotel Shattuck Plaza

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Panelists


Steven Addison
Conservation Program Manager
Civicorps
Annie Burke
Executive Director
TOGETHER Bay Area
Yakuta Poonawalla
Associate Director of Community Stewardship and Engagement
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy,
Jessica Sloan
Volunteer Program Supervisor
East Bay Regional Park District
Kate Golden
Digital Editor
Bay Nature

Written, Produced & Directed by Darrell Hillaire & Beth Pielert; executive-produced by the Lummi-led non-profit, Children of the Setting Sun Productions, and Vision Maker Media. (62-minutes)

Inspired by the late Chexanexwh Larry Kinley, a Lummi fisherman and tribal leader who worked to protect wild salmon and promote tribal sovereignty, Scha’nexw Elhtal’nexw Salmon People: Preserving a Way of Life follows two Lummi families as they fish sockeye while navigating climate change, wildfire smoke, and a depleting fishery. In these critical times, Larry asks: “Who Are We Without Salmon?” Scha’nexw Elhtal’nexw Salmon People shows the resilience and adaptive nature of the salmon and the people. It is a spiritual reflection on a lifeway centered on respect and gratitude since time immemorial.

There will be a 30-minute Q+A period after the screening with the film’s directors, Darell Hillaire and Beth Pielert.

March 30th | 7:00 pm to 8:40 pm | Goldman Theater, Brower Center

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Panelists


Darrell Hillaire
Executive Director
Children of the Setting Sun Productions
Beth Pielert
Founder
Good Film Works