WHC Conservation Conference 2024


Subject to change

Badge Pick Up and On-Site Registration  |  7:00am – 3:30pm

Exhibit Hall Open  |  8:00am – 4:00pm

Breakfast Briefing  |  Cultivating an Interest in STEM: Mutually Beneficial Partnerships to Engage the Next Generation of Environmentalists  |  8:00am – 9:00am
Conservation programs not only have a positive benefit on local habitats and native wildlife — they can also expand beyond the corporate fence line to meet community and educational needs. By engaging students in STEM education, corporations can support the educational endeavors of local students and build positive relationships with schools and youth-serving organizations. This session will feature the stories of three WHC member companies who partnered with educational institutions to support site-level needs and encourage next-generation environmental stewards.

  • Edward McGinnis, Project Manager / Manufacturing Rep, Bayer
  • Sheri Spivey, Community Relations Specialist, Cemex
  • Amanda Young, Environmental Engineer, Toyota
  • Joey Mendolia, Consultant, WHC (Moderator)

Mainstage Keynote Presentation    |  9:00am – 10:00am

  • Michael Hecht, President & CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.

Concurrent Sessions (there are 3 concurrent sessions during this time)  |  10:15am – 11:15am

Achieving Gold: Enhancing Your WHC Certification® for Top-Tier Recognition
Since 1989, WHC Conservation Certification® has been an objective standard recognizing meaningful and voluntary corporate conservation efforts around the world. WHC-Certified Gold programs represent the strongest, most robust conservation efforts captured in an excellent application. Want to achieve gold during your next application? Whether you’re overseeing the applications of multiple sites or focusing efforts on just one program, ensure you’re not leaving points on the table with helpful hints from these experienced, Gold-tier applicants — including one that achieved Gold Certification on their first-ever application!

  • Karen Fernandes Alonso, South America ESG and Sustainability Engineer, General Motors
  • George Cella, Property Manager, BXP
  • Randy Roths, Community Outreach Director, Summit Materials
  • Delainey Williams, Manager, Certification, WHC (Moderator)

Crafting Standards for Biodiversity: An Interactive Workshop
Whether directly or indirectly, all business depends on nature. Being responsible stewards of nature means ensuring that proposed industrial development or processes exist in harmony with habitats and species, both at the operational level and across the supply chain. In this interactive workshop, participants will work together across sectors to propose standards for biodiversity conservation and restoration that will help industry leaders in the prioritization, adoption and implementation of biodiversity uplift efforts.

  • Mechelle Engemann, Senior Sustainability Officer, Syensqo
  • Adrianne Pedrosa, Sustainability Business Partner, Syensqo
  • Hannah Tailor, Senior Manager, Certification, WHC (Moderator)

Everyone In! How Citizen Science Benefits the Community and the Company
Connecting members of the community to active conservation projects is a mutually beneficial way to support local habitats and wildlife species while simultaneously building expertise and knowledge on various ecological techniques. For many corporate conservation programs, the general public provides a largely untapped source of participation in conservation efforts, from gathering monitoring data to engaging in on-the-ground actions. In this session, WM and Vulcan Materials Company will share how they’ve incorporated public engagement in their programs the form of citizen science efforts — and how the involvement of volunteers benefits both the local community and the corporation.

  • Adrienne Fors, Senior Community Relations Specialist, WM
  • Karla Gonzalez, Sustainability Manager, Vulcan Materials Company
  • Omar Vidal, Vulcan Materials Company
  • Jacque Williamson, Senior Consultant, WHC (Moderator)

Mainstage Presentation State of Corporate Conservation   |  11:300pm – 12:15pm

  • Margaret O’Gorman, President, WHC

Break (no official lunch event) | 12:15pm – 2:00pm 

Concurrent Sessions (there are 3 concurrent sessions during this time)  |  2:00pm – 3:00pm

If You Plant It, They Will Come: The Benefits of Wildlife-Friendly Planting
From boosting biodiversity to feeding pollinators, native plants deliver a host of positive impacts — and their benefits for wildlife cannot be understated, either. Native plants provide crucial food and shelter for birds, insects, mammals and more. When developing a corporate landscape, it’s always important to keep local wildlife in mind by choosing native plants that will not only support the ecosystem, but also the species that rely on them. This session features native plant experts who will discuss why using native plants is critical, how to source native plants for your area and sustainable maintenance tips that benefit biodiversity and wildlife.

  • Damon Abdi, Assistant Professor of Landscape Horticulture, Louisiana State University
  • Shubber Ali, CEO, Garden for Wildlife
  • Doug Tallamy, Founder, Homegrown National Park
  • Savanna Delise, WHC (Moderator) 

Leveraging the Latest Tech for Better Biodiversity Outcomes
Permitting, implementing and monitoring a conservation program takes time, energy and money — all of which are extremely valuable. By leveraging the latest innovations in technology, corporate conservation professionals can save time and money while building a more resilient future. In this session, learn how technological advances like remote sensing and machine learning can merge with on-the-ground science to result in a better understanding of an area’s biodiversity-related needs, as well as how making data accessible at a large scale can help drive positive outcomes for nature.

  • Brittni Engels, Senior Consultant, Ramboll
  • Gene Huntington, Founder, Steward Green
  • Lee Lance, Co-Founder and CEO, Ecobot
  • Mitchell Robinson, Consultant, WHC (Moderator)

Now is the Time to Act: Embarking on the Corporate Nature-Positive Journey
With an increase in external expectations regarding the private sector’s impact on nature comes the need to shift from mere discussion about nature positivity to concrete actions. For the first time, many companies are developing a corporate strategy to support nature, but various questions arise in the process. Why act now? What does success look like? How can existing initiatives support nature-positive aspirations? These queries and more will be addressed in a dynamic conversation between WHC and Freeport-McMoRan, a company that has recently embarked on a nature journey. From making the business case for engaging in nature to determining priority locations, the panelists will share concrete, tangible examples of what it looks like to start a corporate nature-positive journey.

  • Josiane Bonneau, Manager, Nature Programs, Freeport-McMoRan
  • Shaun Clark, Senior Consultant, WHC
  • Sheila Deely, Assistant General Counsel & Sr. Director of Corporate Environmental Affairs, Freeport-McMoRan
  • Rob Campbell, Director, Consulting, WHC (Moderator)

Networking Break Sponsored by Chevron  |  3:00pm – 3:30pm

Concurrent Sessions (there are 3 concurrent sessions during this time)  |  3:30pm – 4:30pm

Beyond Reclamation: Providing New Life for Business, Nature and Community
Once a mining site is shuttered, it undergoes a remediation and reclamation process to remove harmful substances and return the landscape to as close to its original state as possible. While this is standard practice, there are ways to go beyond the regulations and enhance a reclaimed site even further to benefit the company, the community and the ecosystem. In this session, NSSGA will discuss the basics of enhancement reclamation, including whether a site is a good candidate and stakeholder involvement. Then, Freeport-McMoRan will share the company’s journey to enhance a reclaimed Arizona mining operation by opening it up to the community and incorporating various biodiversity, cultural and education-related elements.

  • Libby Pritchard, Director of Occupational Health, Safety & Sustainability, National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA)
  • Michael Steward, Remediation Manager, Freeport-McMoRan
  • Doreen Tadde, Senior Consultant, WHC (Moderator)

Building Champions for Biodiversity: How to Empower and Encourage Your Entire Workforce
Across many companies, the guiding force behind a conservation project is often just a few passionate, motivated employees using their ecological knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife to bring a thriving program to life. In order to sustain and expand corporate efforts for biodiversity, this same passion for nature must be instilled across all departments and in all decisions. This session will explore how companies can encourage their entire workforce to take an active role in conservation, transforming nature-related projects from the work of a few to the work of all.

  • Doug Losee, Vice President Environmental and Land Management, Covia
  • Chris May, Senior Vice President, Safety, Health & Environment, CRH Americas
  • Molly Morrissey, Senior Community Relations Specialist, WM
  • Carolyn Jewell, Global Biodiversity and Natural Resources Senior Manager, CRH (Moderator)

Resilient Communities: Nature-based Solutions on Operational Land
As biodiversity becomes a larger topic within strategic conversations, teams are unlocking creative ways to make communities more resilient. In this session, hear from WHC members on how they used operational land to make a big impact for their employees and the community. Learn from WM and how they took an enterprise initiative local to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide a valuable educational experience for students, support climate change resilience, and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in conservation. Attendees will leave this session with actionable nature-based approaches for local, community-first, on-the-ground activities.

  • Kailey Miller Davis, Senior Manager, Social Impact, WM
  • Kellen Mahoney, Director, Suppliers Partnership for the Environment
  • Patricia Billette, Program Manager, Social Impact, WHC (Moderator)

WHC Elevate Networking Event Sponsored by CRH (separate registration required)  |  4:30pm – 6:00pm

Badge Pick Up and On-Site Registration  |  7:45am – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Exhibit Hall Open  |  9:00am – 3:00pm

Breakfast Briefing  |  Going Above and Beyond: Three Inspiring Conversation Success Stories  |  8:00am – 9:00am
Whether you’re looking to expand your knowledge on corporate conservation techniques or gain inspiration for your own efforts, hearing the stories of successful projects is a valuable learning opportunity. From partnering with federal agencies to trying innovative new techniques, these three conservation programs — which have all been in the running for WHC Awards — will illustrate their journeys to success and share the information they’ve learned along the way to go above and beyond for nature.

  • Jeremiah Haas, Aquatic Biologist, Constellation  
  • Pam Lyford, Compliance Manager, Matador Ranch & Cattle
  • Kamara Sams, Santa Susana Field Laboratory Program Director, Boeing
  • Erin Allegro, Senior Manager, Business Development, WHC (Moderator)

Mainstage Keynote Presentation  |   9:15am – 10:15am

  • Matthew Cappucci |  Meteorologist, Storm Chaser, FLASH 2023 National Weatherperson of the Year

Makers’ Pavilion  |  10:00am – 2:00pm

Concurrent Sessions (there are 2 concurrent sessions during this time)  |  10:15am – 11:45am

Biodiversity Credits: Emerging Trends, Innovations and Business Engagement – Roundtable  |  By Invitation Only 
Biodiversity credits are emerging as an innovative approach to finance and monitor projects that conserve and restore nature. By adopting biodiversity credits, corporations can actively back thoughtfully designed nature-based solutions, thereby making a tangible contribution to nature preservation as they embark on their sustainability journey. This session will serve as a platform for corporations to deepen their understanding of biodiversity credits and explore opportunities for meaningful engagement. Participants will share insights, challenges and innovative approaches and hear first-hand from experts, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas and collaborative problem-solving to drive impactful corporate engagement with biodiversity credits.

  • Zoe Balmforth, Pivotal Future
  • Mark Johnston, BP
  • Timothy Male, Environmental Policy Innovation Center
  • Diana Swidler, South Pole
  • Sinclair Vincent, VERRA
  • Anna Willingshofer, Chief Science and Innovation Officer, WHC (Moderator)

Birds of a Feather Nest Together: Making the Most of NestWatch Resources to Support Your Projects
With bird habitats declining around the world, one of the most valuable ways to support avian species is to provide supplemental nesting structures. By identifying the bird species on-site and providing nest boxes, corporations can support avian species while meeting both their conservation and education-related goals. This workshop will walk attendees through the myriad free nesting resources available through NestWatch, demonstrating how they can support corporate sites in developing and monitoring nesting projects. Attendees will have the opportunity to think through potential projects and consult with NestWatch experts about implementing and monitoring nest boxes. Note: This workshop will be capped at 50 participants to allow for interactivity.

  • Robyn Bailey, Project Leader, NestWatch, Cornell Lab of Ornithology   
  • Holly Grant, Project Assistant, NestWatch, Cornell Lab of Ornithology   
  • Sophie Maass, Coordinator, Consulting, WHC (Moderator) 

Putting Numbers on Nature: Why and How to Measure Biodiversity (Sponsored Session Presented by Ramboll)
Biodiversity is in crisis. Since COP15 and the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework by nearly 200 nations, the call to “take urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss” has reverberated across the globe through all levels of government and business. Demonstrating progress requires measuring biodiversity.  Measuring nature is complex and doing so in a consistent and scientifically robust way remains a challenge. In this session, Ramboll’s team of biodiversity experts discuss biodiversity basics, why we need to measure it, how we measure it, and how measurement translates to action with real world benefits to the natural and human communities.

  • Lis Nelis, Principal, Biodiversity and Ecology – Americas, Ramboll
  • Vikki Patton, Senior Managing Consultant, Nature Positive Services – UK Lead, Ramboll
  • Dan Rockefeller, Senior Project Scientist, Biodiversity and Ecology – Americas, Ramboll

Lunch and Mainstage Session  |  Conservation in Louisiana: Create, Restore and Flourish  |  11:45am – 1:30pm
Louisiana is a vibrant, colorful state known for its culture, history and traditions — and its multitude conservation efforts. From tree plantings and community engagement to coastal protection, Louisiana is home to a variety of organizations supporting the area’s vital ecosystems. This session will feature stories from experts from throughout the region, showcasing how partnerships can strengthen and support the natural environment of Louisiana.

  • Davie Breaux, Deputy Port Director, Port Fourchon
  • Traci Birch, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Associate Director of the LSU Coastal Ecosystem Design Studio (CEDS)
  • Susannah Burley, Founder and Executive Director, SOUL NOLA
  • Chuck Morse, Executive Director, Thrive NOLA

Makers’ Pavilion and Dessert Break  |  1:30pm – 2:00pm

Concurrent Sessions (there are 2 concurrent sessions during this time)  |  2:00pm – 3:00pm

Greener Cities, Healthier Cities: Urban Forestry Benefits for People and Planet
Not only do urban forests improve air quality and boost biodiversity — they also directly impact the well-being and quality of life of city residents. From workforce development programs to community gardens, urban greening has the capacity to transform vacant land into an asset that promotes community cohesion, improves safety and supports the economy. In this session, hear how the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is helping to build vibrant communities through urban greening, as well as how the US Forest Service partners with communities across the country to support urban greening.

  • Matt Rader, President, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
  • Todd Reynolds, Executive Director, Groundwork NOLA
  • Robert Seemann, Natural Resources Specialist, Urban & Community Forestry, US Forest Service
  • Daniel Goldfarb, Director, Social Impact, WHC (Moderator)

Working Together to Create and Communicate Conservation Successes 
Corporate conservation is a team effort — from getting buy-in to implementing a project to sharing its impacts with the community. Building strong collaborations with stakeholders and using data to drive decision-making are just two of the foundational steps in corporate conservation efforts. An awareness of an organization’s various audiences is also valuable in informing how to communicate about a conservation project’s successes. In this session, Flint Hills Resources will discuss the importance of developing mutually beneficial partnerships with local organizations and engaging workforces to support conservation projects. Ducks Unlimited will then discuss the importance of tailoring messages about conservation to the appropriate audience, and Steward Green will share how innovations in technology can support data collection and analysis to further illustrate a project’s impacts.

  • Colin Benitt, Geospatial Analyst, Steward Green
  • KayLeigh Mitchell, Sustainability Communications Coordinator, Ducks Unlimited
  • Mike Westereng, Air Permitting Business Manager and Technical Lead, Flint Hills Resources
  • Abigail McBride, Consultant, WHC (Moderator)

Certification Photo Studio, Sponsored by ChemoursBy Appointment 3:00pm – 5:00pm

Networking Cocktail Hour, Sponsored by Bacardi  |  5:00pm – 6:00pm

WHC Awards Dinner, Sponsored by General Motors  |  6:00pm – 9:00pm

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