A hand holding up an oak leaf in front of the sun.
Forest Assessment Sun shines through an oak leaf in Garrett County, where The Nature Conservancy recently conducted a forest assessment. © Matt Kane / TNC

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2021 Global Science Gathering

The Global Science Gathering creates space for Nature Conservancy science and conservation staff as well as our partners to build relationships across geographies, projects and focal areas in order to deliver on conservation priorities. This year, the Gathering is going virtual and will take place March 1-31, 2021. That's right, we are gathering in the name of conservation science for an entire month!

As we move forward in this new format, our guiding principles are: 

  1. To capture the spirit of our in-person meetings, creating space for science and conservation staff and external partners to work towards advancing priority science areas via sessions that are less one-way reporting and more discussion and feedback with a clearly stated goal,
  2. To embrace this opportunity to broaden the reach of the GSG and make our community more accessible and inclusive for all TNC staff and partners, providing space for everyone to get to know TNC science and conservation colleagues and their work, and 
  3. To offer many ways to participate in the meeting at your own pace and schedule over an extended month-long period. Different from many other virtual conferences, our aim for extending the conference over a month is to reduce the stress and fatigue brought on by too much screen time, which many of us are experiencing. This format allows attendees to view content at their leisure and provides a schedule with less overlap of multiple events of interest.

Highlights of the meeting include: 

  • Live-streamed symposia and plenary lectures. This content will also be recorded and available on-demand until April 15, 2021.
  • A diverse array of capacity building workshops spread across the month of March. This includes shorter 90-minute sessions as well as multi-session deeper dives. Themed weeks include:
    • March 1-5: Climate
    • March 8-12: Connecting Science and Sharing Tools
    • March 15-19: Land and Waters
    • March 22-26: Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
    • March 29-31: Closing Sessions

The registration fee for the conference is a flat rate of $100 which provides access to a month of conservation science content as well as access to conference recordings and transcripts. To ensure representation from our global community, scholarships will be available to those requiring assistance in covering the registration fee. 

Register Now!

Registration fees will be used to cover the costs of the online collaboration tools (which includes technology needed to offerlarge numbers of live and on demand presentations over an extended period including Zoom and Mural accounts), facilitators for capacity building sessions, closed captioning and transcript translations, plenary speaker honorariums, and efforts to make the meeting more accessible for a more diverse group of participants through scholarships. 

Cancellation Policy

Registrants will be refunded 75% of the registrations fee if they cancel before February 26. Refunds are not available after March 1.


If you require a scholarship to cover all or part of the $100 registration fee please email globalsciencegathering@tnc.org.

To ensure representation from our global community, scholarships will be available to those requiring assistance in covering the registration fee. Selection of scholarship recipients will take into consideration geography and whether a person is presenting.

As scholarship funds are limited, we kindly ask that as a first step you consider exploring other funding sources. Note that many Business Units set aside funds for employees’ professional development such as conferences. Following registration, if you succeed in securing funding for any portion of your registration fee, please letus know as soon as possible so that we may redirect your funds to another attendee.

Scholarship support for the 2021 Virtual Global Science Gathering is graciously provided by North America and the Western & Canada divisions.


The 2021 Global Science Gathering Agenda is organized around five themed weeks featuring a combination of plenary talks, speed talks, working sessions, and capacity building opportunities.

  • March 1-5: Climate
  • March 8-12: Connecting Science and Sharing Tools
  • March 15-19: Land and Waters
  • March 22-26: Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning
  • March 29-31: Closing Sessions

Agenda overview can be found here. Please register to see the full agenda.

Plenary Speakers

Portrait of Myriam Dormer, TNC Cities Program Community Engagement Strategist.
Myriam Dormer Myriam Dormer is the Community Engagement Strategist for The Nature Conservancy's Cities program. © Lawrence Marbury, 2021

Myriam Dormer is the Community Engagement Strategist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Cities program, optimizing the implementation of the organization’s community engagement approaches and associated projects for many different urban conservation programs. For the past twenty years, Myriam Dormer has been part of efforts to cultivate and steward natural and working landscapes, local institutions, infrastructure, and cultural resources. She is an analyst and strategist who has developed programs and relationships with communities in the United States and Brazil in service of sustainable, community-driven development. She collaborates with a diverse network of organizers and leaders to develop strategies that are locally impactful, while also developing regional partnerships aimed at influencing regional policy decisions. While completing her Masters in Development Practice at Emory University, she filmed a documentary about social organizing within riverside communities in Amapa, Brazil and also conducted a baseline measurement of pesticide use by small-holder farmers.  Prior to her work at TNC, Myriam worked as a food security manager, youth programs director, curriculum specialist and art teacher.

Esther Duflo.
Esther Duflo Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT. © Bryce Vickmark. All rights reserved.

Esther Duflo is the Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). In her research, she seeks to understand the economic lives of the poor, with the aim to help design and evaluate social policies. She has worked on health, education, financial inclusion, environment and governance.

Professor Esther Duflo’s first degrees were in history and economics from Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. She subsequently received a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT in 1999. 

Duflo has received numerous academic honors and prizes including 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel (with co-Laureates Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer), the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences (2015), the A.SK Social Science Award (2015), Infosys Prize (2014), the David N. Kershaw Award (2011), a John Bates Clark Medal (2010), and a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship (2009).  With Abhijit Banerjee, she wrote Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty, which won the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2011 and has been translated into more than 17 languages, and the recently released Good Economics for Hard Times.

Duflo is the Editor of the American Economic Review, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.

Selfie of Ying Li in front of a red building with murals painted on it.
Ying Li Ying Li is the Sustainable Agriculture Director for The Nature Conservancy China. © Ying Li

Ying Li is the Sustainable Agriculture Director for The Nature Conservancy China. She has MSc and PhD degrees in Plant Pathology and Plant Science from Wageningen University, the Netherlands. Her current work focuses on researching and promoting sustainable agricultural development in response to climate change, building a multi-stakeholder cooperation platform, improving soil health and biodiversity by scaling regenerative agriculture. The work in TNC accelerates these efforts to further build a resilient and regenerative agricultural system, protect water resource, and strengthen food and nutrition security. Ying has research experience in both academia and private sector. She has rich scientific knowledge and practical experience in biotechnology, plant science, food safety management and sustainable supply chain. She has leaded or participated in the research projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Special Program of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the International Cooperation Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology in Chin. She has published more than 30 academic papers and R&D patent.

Black and white headshot of Emily McKenzie.
Emily McKenzie Emily McKenzie is the Head of Evidence and Policy, Dasgupta Review, HM Treasury. © Courtesy of Emily McKenzie

Emily McKenzie, Head of Evidence and Policy, Dasgupta Review, HM Treasury and other members of the independent Review team for will lead a presentation and Q&A session on the independent, global Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity. Led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, the review explores humanity’s engagements with Nature and the transformative changes that are required to protect and enhance biodiversity and support our prosperity and wellbeing now, and in the future.

Very close-cropped headshot of Alice Ruhweza.
Alice Ruhweza Alice Ruhweza is the Africa Region Director for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). © Courtesy of Alice Ruhweza

Alice Ruhweza is a Global Thought Leader and a Sustainable Development Practitioner. She has extensive experience working at the intersection of Environment and Development in Africa and globally, fostering successful partnerships with a wide range of international institutions. She is currently the Africa Region Director for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), where she leads and directly oversees a regional program comprising 10 countries and over 500 staff. She is currently leading the design of a new conservation framework that brings together work at national, transboundary and global levels, as well as development of a new system of program quality assurance. Alice sits on the Board of the CGIAR; the Global Ever-Greening Alliance and on the steering committee of the Future Earth Water-Food-Energy Nexus working group.

Daniel Wildcat photographed in front of a red traditional blanket hanging on a wall.
Daniel Wildcat Daniel Wildcat is a professor and director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center. © Daniel Wildcat

Daniel Wildcat, Ph.D., is a professor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, and an accomplished scholar who writes on Indigenous knowledge, technology, environment, and education. He is also director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center, which he founded with colleagues from the Center for Hazardous Substance Research at Kansas State University. Wildcat helped design a four-part video series entitled All Things Are Connected: The Circle of Life (1997), which dealt with the land, air, water, biological, and policy issues facing Native nations. A Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, Wildcat formed the American Indian and Alaska Native Climate Change Working Group, a tribal-college-centered network of individuals and organizations working on climate change issues. In 2008, he helped organize the Planning for Seven Generations climate change conference sponsored by the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He is the author of the widely read, Red Alert! Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge.

Speed Talk and Working Sessions

All sessions have been assigned to TWO time slots, an “AM” and “PM” period (depending on time zone) to promote a more global and inclusive experience.

March 1-14

  • Period 1: 10:00am EST / 3:00pm GMT/ 11:00pm Beijing / next day 2:00am Sydney
  • Period 2: 6:00pm EST / 11:00pm GMT / next day 7:00am Beijing / next day 10:00am Sydney

March 15-31

  • Period 1: 10:00am EDT / 2:00pm GMT/ 10:00pm Beijing / next day 1:00am Sydney
  • Period 2: 6:00pm EDT / 10:00pm GMT / next day 6:00am Beijing / next day 9:00am Sydney

Speed Talk Sessions consist of up to 9 independently submitted presentations organized around a common theme. Each presenter will have 5 minutes for their talk followed by up to 4 minutes for Q&A.

Working Sessions feature opportunities to take a deep dive on a single topic led by experts in the field. Sessions vary in format but almost all will feature opportunities to breakout into smaller groups to foster deeper discussion and better capture learning.

Professional Development and Capacity Building Opportunities

Capacity Building sessions are designed to help TNC scientists stay abreast of the latest conservation science development and techniques through targeted trainings and workshops. This includes opportunities to improve skills in strategic leadership and publishing as well as trainings in emerging science and conservation techniques and tools. This year’s offering’s include:

  • Using Drones to Measure Results in River Restoration
  • Decision Science
  • TNC's Cartography Guidelines and Practical Tips for Implementing Them
  • Building a sewage pollution community of practice
  • Getting Started with Greenprints: The What, the Why and the How-to of Greenprints
  • Top 10 Tips in Science Writing
  • Meme your science
  • Conservation by Design 2.0: Testing New Tools to Use in Your Planning Process
  • Using art to communicate your research
  • Tips and Tricks in using the SWAT model
  • A Rapid Adaptive Management Test Drive
  • ArcGIS Online
  • Survey design
  • Introduction to R
  • There's an App for That: Designing and Planning a Web App or Decision Support Tool for conservation
  • Intro to aquatic sewage pollution and climate impacts


The Global Science Gathering team is committed to creating an event at which everyone can participate in an inclusive, respectful and safe environment.

The Nature Conservancy events are guided by the highest ethical and professional standards, and all participants are expected to behave with integrity and respect towards all participants attending or involved with any event.

By registering to the 2021 Global Science Gathering you are agreeing to abide by this code of conduct and The Nature Conservancy’s values (Integrity beyond reproach; and Respect for people, communities and cultures). While registering you also consent to video and audio recording during the 2021 Global Science Gathering.


The Code of Conduct applies to any section of the event, which shall include presentations, discussions, break-out rooms, poster sessions, professional development sessions, and any other format organized, hosted or sponsored by the Global Science Gathering team.

The Code of Conduct applies to all participants at the 2021 Global Science Gathering, including all persons attending or involved in any capacity.

Prohibited Conduct

Harassment is any improper or unwelcome conduct that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation to another person. Harassment in any form because of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, national origin, political affiliation, age, religion or any other reason is prohibited at the 2021 Global Science Gathering.

Sexual harassment is a specific type of prohibited conduct. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offense or humiliation. Sexual harassment may involve any conduct of a verbal, nonverbal or physical nature, including written and electronic communications, and may occur between persons of the same or different genders.

Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Making derogatory or demeaning comments about someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • Name-calling or using slurs with a gender/sexual connotation;
  • Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing or body parts;
  • Rating a person’s sexuality;
  • Repeatedly asking a person for dates or asking for sex;
  • Staring in a sexually suggestive manner;
  • Unwelcome touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing or purposefully brushing up against a person;
  • Making inappropriate sexual gestures, such as pelvic thrusts;
  • Sharing sexual or lewd anecdotes or jokes;
  • Sending sexually suggestive communications in any format;
  • Sharing or displaying sexually inappropriate images or videos in any format;
  • Attempted or actual sexual assault, including rape.

Complaint Process

A participant who feels that they have been harassed at the 2021 Global Science Gathering may report the matter to [insert email], and a participant who witnesses such harassment should make such a report.

Examples of appropriate action may include, but are not limited to:

  • Undertaking a fact-finding exercise;
  • Requesting the perpetrator to immediately stop the offending behavior;
  • Suspending or terminating the perpetrator’s access to the 2021 Global Science Gathering event or refusing registration at future events, or both;
  • Conveying the complaint to any investigative or disciplinary authority with jurisdiction over the person accused of harassment;
  • Conveying a report to the employer or entity with jurisdiction over the person accused of harassment for appropriate follow-up action.

The victim of alleged harassment may also seek help from other relevant authorities, such as the police, bearing in mind the applicable legal framework.

A participant should never knowingly make a false or misleading claim about prohibited conduct.

Prohibition of Retaliation

Threats, intimidation or any other form of retaliation against a participant who has made a complaint or provided information in support of a complaint are prohibited.

The Global Science Gathering team will take any reasonable appropriate action needed to prevent and respond to retaliation, in accordance with its applicable policy, regulations and rules.

How aligned is this process to existing internal processes? Do we need a significantly different or changes from internal processes? (e.g. more stringent?)

Best Practices for Attending a Virtual Conference

  • Block off your calendar – instructions on adding sessions to your calendar
  • Attend with friends and coworkers – make plans to catch up and discuss keynote sessions after the fact or message them throughout about points you found interesting. This interaction can keep you engaged with the content.
  • Take notes on paper – focus more, keep your attention on the screen, but your fingers off of the mouse and keyboard. Rather than flipping between a notes doc and the conference, where it might be easy to get lost and end up on Instagram or Reddit, keep the screen dedicated to sessions. This means full screen!
  • Be considerate, respectful, and collaborative.
  • Come ready to participate.
  • Arrive on time and please do not multi-task.
  • Silence your phone, close Outlook, etc. to limit distractions.
  • Mute your microphone when not speaking to reduce background noise.
  • Turn your video on (where bandwidth allows) or upload a photo.
  • Ask questions or give feedback in the chat box on Zoom. You can also type R in chat through Zoom to indicate that you would like to ask a question or contribute. This will avoid us talking over each other and ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute.
  • Lean in and lean out. If you are naturally less talkative, stretch yourself to contribute, or find other ways through the chat box and digital workspace. If you tend to dominate conversations, lean out so that others can participate.
  • Engage constructively and respect differing opinions. Remember to always be kind.

Register for the Global Science Gathering

Choose the link that corresponds to your relationship with TNC.