Keynote Address

California’s Estuaries in the Face of Climate Change

  • Wednesday, February 7, 2024 — 10:00am to 11:30am
  • In-Person and Recorded
  • Chair: Jim Sedinger, TWS Rep to Council

Two experts on California’s coastal wetlands will discuss their current and future state. Christine Whitcraft, Professor and Director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program at California State University, Long Beach and John Takekawa, Operations Manager of the Suisun Resource Conservation District and retired Research Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey will talk about current issues with California’s coastal wetlands, and their future in a discussion moderated by Jim Sedinger of the Western Section.

Dr. Christine Whitcraft is currently a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Director of Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P) at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). Her major area of interest is coastal wetland ecology, focused on the impact of anthropogenic activities on functioning of brackish and salt marshes. Specifically, she investigates restoration strategies, impacts of invasive plants, and climate change-related impacts. Recent grant efforts include the development of a statewide monitoring plan for estuarine marine protected areas (MPAs). She received her B.A. in Biology from Williams College, Williamstown MA, and Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her postdoctoral research was a CALFED position at San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve until she started at CSULB in 2008.


Dr. John Takekawa is the Operations Manager at the Suisun Resource Conservation District in Suisun Marsh. His background includes leading projects on waterfowl and wetlands over 33 years as a federal supervisory research biologist and for 3 years as a program director for the National Audubon Society. He is a graduate of the University of Washington, University of Idaho, and Iowa State University. He founded the San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station in 1995 focused on waterbirds and their habitats on the Pacific coast and internationally, and he has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers.

Plenary Session

Surviving and Thriving: Embracing our Adaptability Amidst a Changing Climate

  • Thursday, February 8, 2024 — 1:30pm to 3:00pm
  • In Person AND Recorded
  • Chair – Brooke Langle, TWS-WS President-Elect/SWCA

The news in the world is often full of negativity and daunting challenges. This is especially true in our profession when it comes to loss of biodiversity, including the threats resulting from a changing climate. People across all spectrums of society are scrambling to address these challenges.  Join us at this year’s plenary for a discussion with two California-based leaders that are actively involved in driving change, both locally and globally. You’ll learn about science-based pathways and solutions happening now – and hopefully you’ll leave energized and inspired!

Wendy Millet is the director of the TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation, a ranch in the San Francisco Bay Area with a mission to discover and demonstrate the connection between healthy soils, healthy food, climate resilience, and thriving communities. For over 25 years Wendy has carried a passion for protecting and restoring large landscapes through her work in ranching, conservation, philanthropy, leadership, and education. She has worked at the Nature Conservancy, The Conservation Fund, Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, and more. Wendy currently serves on the boards of the Western Landowners Alliance and the California Council of Land Trusts. She is also co-founder of Women in Ranching, a program supporting women’s voices in ranching, and of Gallop Ventures, coaching with horses to connect with power and presence. Wendy lives in Pescadero CA with her husband and two big dogs.


Justin Winters is the Co-founder and Executive Director of One Earth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering everyone, everywhere, with the knowledge, inspiration, and opportunity to heal the Earth and reclaim our future. One Earth’s groundbreaking science proves that it’s possible to solve the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss through three pillars of collective action – renewable energy, nature conservation, and regenerative agriculture. They make this knowledge accessible through educational content, inspiring storytelling, and innovative digital tools that give people the opportunity to drive change across the Earth’s 185 Bioregions.  Prior to One Earth, Justin served as Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, where she helped Leonardo reshape his approach to philanthropy and activism, leveraging his position as a global figure to influence decision-makers and the public on the most pressing environmental issues. Justin built the organization’s grant-making program, which awarded over $100 million in grants across 60 countries and created a series of innovative philanthropic funds. She also led the global communications platform, growing its digital media community to 80 million followers and generating approximately 4.2. billion social and online media impressions per year. Through her collaborative, inclusive, and entrepreneurial approach, Justin is building a broad public movement of engaged and inspired changemakers who, together, will help solve the climate crisis and build a vibrant, just future for us all.

Members Town Hall & Business Meeting

  • Thursday, February 8, 2023 — 3:30 to 4:30pm 
  • In Person and Recorded
Join Western Section friends and members at our annual town hall meeting.  Learn what the Section is all about, hear from officers and Chapters about their recent activities, review and ask questions about our financial statements, eat snacks and celebrate a great past year. 


3:30pm to 3:35pm — Welcome

    • A brief welcome from TWS-WS President
    • Thank you meeting sponsors!

3:35pm to 3:50pm — Committee Reports

    • Hear what all the great section committees are up to!  

3:50pm to 4:05pm — Chapter Reports

    • Hear updates from Chapters throughout the Section
    • Don’t forget to attend Chapter Meetings @ 8pm!

4:05pm to 4:10pm — Treasurer’s Report

    • A recap of the financial standing of the section.

4:10pm to 4:15pm — Update on TWS-WS Strategic Planning

    • A quick update and call for member comments

4:15pm to 4:30pm — Member Comments

    • Open forum. Your chance to ask questions or offer ideas!

4:30pm — Adjourn Meeting

Capstone Presentation

Kim Stanley Robinson

  • Friday, February 9, 2024 — 11:00am to 12:30pm
  • In Person AND Recorded
  • Chair – Randi McCormick, TWS-WS President/McCormick Biological

We are excited to announce our 2024 Capstone Speaker, Kim Stanley Robinson, who will wrap up our Annual Meeting discussion on Surviving and Thriving – Embracing our adaptability amidst a changing climate.  

His book, The Ministry for the Future, is a must read for anyone interested in solutions to the climate crisis.  The book endorsements best tell the story:

  • “If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future… Robinson is one of the greatest living science fiction writers.”―Ezra Klein on The Ministry for the Future
  • “So far, the best descriptions of what this new world could be like come from Kim Stanley Robinson, a science-fiction author who specializes in depicting the kinds of delights that a world that took our predicament seriously might produce.”―The New Yorker on The Ministry for the Future
  • The Ministry for the Future ranks among Robinson’s best recent works, a collection of actions and observations that adds up to more than the sum of its eclectic and urgent parts.”―Sierra on The Ministry for the Future
  • “Score a point for the audacity of hope….Robinson digs deep into how, with institutional support and some off-the-books black ops, revolutionary ideas could still seize our world.”―Shelf Awareness on The Ministry for the Future
  • “[A] gutsy, humane view of a near-future Earth…Robinson masterfully integrates the practical details of environmental crises and geoengineering projects into a sweeping, optimistic portrait of humanity’s ability to cooperate in the face of disaster. This heartfelt work of hard science-fiction is a must-read for anyone worried about the future of the planet.”―Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Ministry for the Future
  • “If there’s any book that hit me hard this year, it was Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future, a sweeping epic about climate change and humanity’s efforts to try and turn the tide before it’s too late.”―Polygon (Best of the Year) on The Ministry for the Future.

Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the international bestselling Mars trilogy, and more recently New York 2140, Aurora, Shaman, Green Earth, and 2312, which was a New York Times bestseller nominated for all seven of the major science fiction awards—a first for any book. He was sent to the Antarctic by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers’ Program in 1995 and returned in their Antarctic media program in 2016. In 2008 he was named a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and he works with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and UC San Diego’s Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. His work has been translated into 25 languages and won a dozen awards in five countries, including the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. In 2016 he was given the Heinlein Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction, and asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson.” In 2017, he was given the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society. A prolific writer and speaker, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington PostNewsweekNature, and Wired, among many others, and he has lectured at more than one hundred institutions over the last 25 years. His novel, The Ministry for the Future, was selected as one of Barack Obama’s Favorite Books of 2020 and one of Bill Gates’ “5 Great Books for the Summer” in 2022. His most recent book, The High Sierra: A Love Story is a non-fiction exploration of Robinson’s years spent hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains, one of the most compelling places on Earth.