Maryland/DC Urban Conservation Program Director
Kahlil Kettering Maryland/DC Urban Conservation Program Director © Trent Burns / Casey Trees

Our People

Kahlil Kettering

Urban Conservation Program Director, Washington D.C.

Bethesda, MD

  • Areas of Expertise

    cities, natural solutions, green infrastructure, carbon markets


Kahlil is developing new conservation strategies in Washington, D.C., centered on implementing projects that elevate the intersection of protecting nature in urban areas and the benefits nature provides to people in cities.

He is working to build momentum for the first ever stormwater retention credit trading program in D.C. This involves using natural solutions, like rain gardens and bioswales, that absorb stormwater and reduce runoff into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. 

In addition to tackling stormwater runoff, Kahlil is also working on strategic tree canopy expansion, and engaging and training young people as environmental advocates for the future.

Kahlil was born in D.C., but grew up in East Africa. In his teens he began to see how urban development and economic growth were spurring industrialization. Areas on the outskirts of the city were being built up, pushing wildlife further out, and creating a human/animal conflict. 

When Kahlil came back to the United States for college he became energized and motivated about solving environmental issues in our cities. The opportunity to create positive change that benefits both the environment and the community is what drew Kahlil to The Nature Conservancy.

Before joining the Conservancy in 2015, Kahlil worked as an environmental analyst in Miami, Florida advocating for the protection and restoration of Everglades and Biscayne National Parks. 

Over the next few years, Kahlil hopes to see the completion of restoration projects that will help to advance the District's sustainability goals, empower residents to make conservation a priority, and transform the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers into positive focal points as water quality improves.  

These projects will also provide an example of what natural solutions can achieve. By unleashing the power of nature, we’re securing clean drinking water and helping to make cities more resilient, livable places where both people and nature can thrive. 

Kahlil holds an M.A. in Global Environmental Policy for American University and an M.P.M. in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of Maryland, as well as a B.A. in International Studies from American University.

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Canopy Award for Sustainability MD/DC's Urban Conservation Program was recognized by Casey Trees for work on the groundbreaking stormwater retention project at historic Mount Olivet Cemetery.

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