Our Staff

Maryland / DC

Kahlil Kettering

Urban Conservation Program Director

As the Urban Conservation Director, Kahlil is developing new conservation strategies in DC 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 DC. 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.

Before moving back to his hometown of Washington, DC and 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. He has a master’s degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University and a master’s degree in Public Management from the University of Maryland.

Kahlil on Why His Work is Rewarding

“I was born in D.C., but I grew up overseas in East Africa. In my teens I started to see how urban development and economic growth was spurring industrialization.  Areas on the outskirts of the city were being built up, pushing wildlife further out, and creating a human/animal conflict.  When I came back to the U.S. for college I became energized and motivated about solving environmental issues in our own cities.  The opportunity to create positive change that benefits both the environment and the community is what drew me to The Nature Conservancy."

Program Priorities

The Maryland/DC chapter is focused on two areas where our outcomes can have the greatest impact: clean water and climate resilience.  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’s Hopes for the Next 3-5 Years

"I hope in the next few years that we can complete restoration projects that will help to both advance the city’s sustainability goals and empower District residents to make conservation a priority.  These projects will also provide an example of what natural solutions can achieve.  As water quality in the Potomac and Anacostia improves, I can see the rivers becoming just as much of a draw as the monument and museums."

  • M.A. Global Environmental Policy, American University
  • M.P.M. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, University of Maryland
  • B.A. International Studies, American University



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