Organizations Take Stock of Regional Conservation & Biodiversity Efforts

January 9, 2020

Habitat Planning, Black Market Biodiversity, San Diego Canyons, and Human Health Are Focus of 2020 State of Biodiversity Symposium

SAN DIEGO, CA—The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is hosting the third annual State of Biodiversity Symposium on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations about our region’s ecological condition in the wake of climate change. Tickets are available at

The Symposium brings together regional scientists and conservation practitioners, along with the interested public, to discuss the latest science surrounding impacts on biodiversity, and how the world of conservation is working to mitigate them. Speakers will share emerging trends, success stories, and threats to conservation. This year’s topics include:

  • Habitat degradation: a leading cause of species extinction and endangerment
  • Conservation priorities for San Diego’s canyons
  • The link between biodiversity and human health
  • Black-market biodiversity and violence against conservation advocates 

Closely following the State of the Union, State of the State, and State of the City addresses, the Symposium is meant to shed light on a topic that is minimally discussed in those public addresses.

Past symposia have resulted in resource sharing, knowledge transfer, and collaborations and relationship building among individuals and organizations—the collective goal being to preserve and protect the incredible biodiversity that exists in our binational region.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Todd Keeler-Wolf, former senior vegetation ecologist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. He will offer a California-based perspective: what is unique about the state’s biodiversity, what are the most vulnerable habitats to loss of biodiversity, and what hope is there for restoration, protection, and recovery of the loss of biodiversity? 

The keynote will be followed by panel discussions throughout the day featuring more than 15 conservation professionals, including: César Guerrero Ávila, executive director of Terra Peninsular in Baja California; Mark Kramer, director of federal external affairs for the California Chapter of The Nature Conservancy; Eric Bowlby, former executive director of San Diego Canyonlands; and Dr. Sarah Mesnick, ecologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center and adjunct professor and co-founder of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. 

A high-level summary of the Symposium will be shared by the museum’s Vice President of Science and Conservation Dr. Michael Wall at a Nat Talk the following week, Tuesday, February 11. Tickets for the Nat Talk are available online at

The 2020 State of Biodiversity Symposium is generously supported by the Jane A. Lehman and Alan G. Lehman Foundation, the J.W. Sefton Foundation, San Diego Zoo Global, The Downing Family Foundation and media partner KPBS. 

The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is one of California’s oldest and most respected cultural and science institutions. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, the Museum’s mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education, and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of Southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico; and to inspire in all a respect for nature and the environment. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. For more information, call 877.946.7797 or visit To stay up to date on Museum news, follow The Nat on Instagram and Twitter and join the discussion on Facebook




Press Kit

Media Info

For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact Rebecca Handelsman, 619.255.0262, or Stephania Villar, 619.255.0189,