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State of Biodiversity 2023

6th Annual State of Biodiversity Symposium

Wednesday, April 12, 1-8 PM 2023

Conservation professionals and biodiversity lovers, unite!

The 6th Annual State of Biodiversity Symposium brings together conservationists, land managers, scientists, students, and the interested public to convene diverse voices around regional conservation topics to understand the current opportunities, threats, and state of knowledge.


  • Keynote speaker: Jennifer Norris, Ph.D. | California’s 30x30 Initiative
  • Anna Becker | Centering Justice in Local Conservation
  • Julio Lorda, Ph.D. | Climate Change Impacts and Restoration Efforts in the Coast of Baja California
  • Mariana Delgado Fernández, Ph.D. | Expediciones Botánicas: Connecting People with Nature Conservation in Baja California
  • Ignacio (Nacho) Vilchis, Ph.D.
  • 1 PM: Registration and networking
  • 1: 45-5 PM: Afternoon Symposium
    • 1:45 PM: Opening remarks
    • 2 PM: Four talks focused on regional conservation
    • 3:30 PM: Coffee break
    • 4 PM: Panel discussion
  • 5-6:30 PM: Networking reception and opportunity to explore the Museum
  • 6:30-8 PM: Keynote presentation and public Nat Talk focused on the 30x30 initiative--conserving 30% of California's land and waters by 2030

The 2023 State of Biodiversity Symposium and Nat Talk are made possible with support from The Downing Family Foundation and media partner KPBS.

Keynote Speaker

Jennifer Norris, Ph.D.

We're thrilled to welcome Dr. Jennifer Norris as our keynote speaker for the State of Biodiversity Symposium.

Jennifer serves as Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat at the California Natural Resources Agency. She leads the state’s 30x30 initiative and oversees “Cutting Green Tape” in support of landscape scale habitat restoration. Jennifer has held numerous positions in federal and state government including most recently as supervisor of the Sacramento Office for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

Jennifer has extensive experience in conservation policy, endangered species protection and ecosystem management. She holds a B.S. in Resource Policy and Planning from Cornell University, an M.S. in Conservation Biology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of New Mexico. When she is not at work, she can be found exploring wild beaches, forests, and deserts with her family.

Anna Becker

Centering Justice in Local Conservation

Anna Becker is Los Angeles Zoo’s first Community Conservation Coordinator focused on fostering a culture of conservation that empowers communities, amplifies partners' work, and improves the lives of people and wildlife. With an academic background in biology and education and years of professional experience, they bring a unique perspective to this role. Having an innate passion for connecting nature and people, Becker is most excited to build new ways for everyone to find a place in conservation.

Mariana Delgado Fernández, Ph.D.

Expediciones Botánicas: Connecting People with Nature Conservation in Baja California

Mariana obtained a Ph.D. in desert ecology in 2018. She works as an environmental consultant in Tijuana and a field botanist at California's Baja Rare project. In 2020 she created the project Expediciones Botánicas to connect people with nature botanizing along trails in northwestern Baja California and to create awareness of the importance and threats of the native flora. She has promoted the creation of the State Norm for the protection of rare, threatened, or endangered plants of Baja California, in collaboration with the government of Baja California and the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Julio Lorda, Ph.D.

Climate Change Impacts and Restoration Efforts in the Coast of Baja California

Julio is a marine ecologist interested in the ecology and management of coastal ecosystems. He is a faculty member at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Ensenada and an adjunct scientist at the TRNERR. He is a member and co-founder of Mexcal, an interdisciplinary research program that focuses on generating socioecological data to inform how coastal systems respond to climatic and anthropogenic effects such as climate change. He also conducts hypothesis driven research on topics including population and community ecology, restoration, parasitology, conservation, invasions ecology, and biogeography.

Ignacio (Nacho) Vilchis, Ph.D.

California Least Tern Recovery Research in Southern California

Ignacio (Nacho) Vilchis serves San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance as Associate Director of Recovery Ecology. In this role, Nacho oversees day-to-day operations and research science of the Zoo's California least tern and western snowy plover monitoring program, as well as conservation projects in Mexico and Hawaii. Nacho is currently involved with research aimed to help inform adaptive management of California condors and thick-billed parrots in Mexico and Hawaiian petrels on the island of Lanai. Nacho also provides key support for management of Cocha Cashu Biological Station in the Peruvian Amazon.

Nacho earned his doctoral degree from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in conservation biology with the Wildlife Health Center at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis. His dissertation and postdoctoral research focused on determining factors that make certain species of seabirds more susceptible to rapid changes in their environment.