Teen Conservation Leadership Conference

July 7 - 9, 2021

The Teen Conservation Leadership Conference Returns!

The Teen Conservation Leadership Conference (TCLC) is a teen-created event aimed at inspiring teens who have a passion for science, technology, and conservation. In partnership with Lincoln Park Zoo, this three-day virtual conference will feature presentations on a variety of topics, including youth conservation opportunities, environmental justice, and technology, from both industry experts and teens around the world. From July 7 to 9, we “bring the world home” by showcasing a variety of speakers and conservation-themed activities.

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Keynote Speaker

The End of Water as We Know It

We are witnessing the end of the golden age of water. Freshwater was once abundant, cheap, and safe for humans, but that is changing rapidly. Couple that with the fact that over the next 30 years, the world’s demand for water will rise by more than 50%, and it’s no wonder that water technology and management figure to shape the 21st century much like oil conflicts influenced the 20th century. So how can we reshape a better future for water? In his talk, Dr. Seth Darling will discuss how we got to this point, what lies ahead, and what can be done now to respond and adapt.

Dr. Seth B. Darling is the Director of the Center for Molecular Engineering and a Senior Scientist in the Chemical Sciences & Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory. He also serves as the Director of the Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems (AMEWS) Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC). He received his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. His group’s research centers around molecular engineering with a current emphasis on advanced materials for cleaning water, having made previous contributions in fields ranging from self-assembly to advanced lithography to solar energy. He has published over 140 scientific articles, holds over a dozen patents, is a co-author of popular books on water and on debunking climate skeptic myths, and lectures widely on topics related to energy, water, and climate. 


Keynote Speaker

A Tale of the Young Earth Protectors from Kalimantan Island

In the world where most people think that indigenous wisdoms are no longer relevant and the fight for environmental justice only matters when you carry on a protest in front of parliament office, a group of Dayak youth in the heart of Kalimantan wet their sleeves with sweat while standing in front of blazing fires and breathing in such poisonous air. While recalling the teaching of ancestors in mind, they poured out water on the trees and peat ground, desperately trying to save the place that they call home, not only for their families but also for millions of creatures. This a not a story of admiration or beautification of nature. This is a story of fight and resilience; a tale of those who refuse to do nothing but converting their ideas about climate into real actions at the frontline of environmental battles.

Born as a Dayak Maanyan, Emmanuela Shinta was only five years old when the big fires burned around 6.5 million hectares of the land in Kalimantan, which then continue to be annual forest peat fires and toxic haze. 23 years later, she is at the frontline to stop the forest peat fires and mobilize youth movement to demand Climate Justice for Kalimantan.

In 2014, Emmanuela Shinta founded Ranu Welum, a Dayak youth initiative that combines indigenous knowledge and modern technology to empower indigenous youth to preserve the culture, protect the forest and fight for indigenous rights. Starting with a small group who were eager to use audiovisual media to express their Dayak identities, today Ranu Welum is known globally for its Youth Act green movement in ecological disaster relief efforts and Borneo forest restoration, and also known for its indigenous film festivals which use storytelling to address the indigenous rights. She has been speaking on behalf of her communities in regional and international forum including various the United Nations events about public misconception on Dayak people and bringing the stories from the ground up to global audience through short videos and documentaries. With her team that consists of young leaders from different regions and background, Shinta has trained 157 young Dayaks to use cameras as a storytelling tool, along with creating 77 films and 46 screenings in 12 countries on four continents. One of her famous lines, ”We are the power.” has inspired youth in Indonesia and beyond to take further action for climate justice and indigenous rights. 


Spotlight Conversation

Stargazing, a conversation with Jane Goodall

Activist Jane Goodall, i.c.stars alumnus Juanita Garcia, and Credell Walls of the Forest Preserves of Cook County sit down to a ZOOMside chat about conservation, anthropology, technology and changing the world.


Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE

Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute & 
UN Messenger of Peace 

Jane Goodall was born on April 3, 1934, in London England. At the young age of 26, she followed her passion for animals and Africa to Gombe, Tanzania, where she began her landmark study of chimpanzees in the wild- immersing herself in their habitat as a neighbor rather than a distant observer. Her discovery in 1960 that chimpanzees make and use tools rocked the scientific world and redefined the relationship between humans and animals. 

In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to advance her work around the world and for generations to come. JGI continues the field research at Gombe and builds on Dr.  Goodall’s innovative approach to conservation, which recognizes the central role that people play in the well-being of animals and the environment. In 1991, she founded Roots & Shoots, a global program that empowers young people in nearly 60 countries and since it’s inception in 1991 has greatly impacted youth in over 100 countries to act as the informed conservation leaders that the world so urgently needs. 

Today, Dr. Goodall travels the world, speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees, environmental crises and her reasons for hope. In her books and speeches, she emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things and the collective power of individual action. Dr. Goodall is a UN Messenger of Peace and Dame Commander of the British Empire. 
For more information, please visit www.janegoodall.org

Juanita Garcia

LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, and EcoDistricts AP
Senior Project Manager of High Performance and Sustainable Construction
Pepper Construction Company 

Juanita joined Pepper's High Performance team based on a shared commitment to improve people's quality of life through the built world. Drawing on more than 10 years of experience in mechanical design, Juanita is an environmentalist for the built environment and an advocate for diversity in STEM careers. In 2009, she was one of the first people to earn the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Accredited Professional credential with the specialization in Building Design and Construction. Juanita founded BIM for Better and hosts Shades of Green Chicago, a podcast highlighting the stories of environmentalists of color. Her work has been informed by her study of psychology, human rights, and massage therapy, which allows her to incorporate a well-rounded health and wellness perspective into the built environment. Juanita's contributions to the Chicago sustainability community include serving as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the WasteShed, a nonprofit that diverts material from landfills for creative reuse. She is also on the advisory council of Environmentalists of Color.

Credell Walls

(Special Outreach) Program Coordinator, Forest Preserves of Cook County

Credell currently is the Outreach Program Coordinator for the Forest Preserve of Cook County. He has worked with the Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots program and the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance managing various youth programs and connecting people of all ages to nature and engaging in the outdoors.

Throughout his career, he has done several TV and radio spots promoting the care for nature, people, service learning and youth development.  He has delivered professional and personal development training workshops to more than 3,000 youth nationally.  He has studied Improvisational comedy at Chicago's Second City and has performed with his sketch comedy group at different festivals and venues in Chicago. He has a BA from DePaul University in Non-Profit Management and an MA in Biology from Miami University. He is a proud graduate of the 2019 Latino Policy forum, Multicultural Leadership Academy which promotes black and brown unity. He is also proud 1997 Alum of AmeriCorps, Chicago Public Allies program. He is also a proud Alum of Public Housing’s (Robert Taylor Homes) and Chicago Public School system.

He believes that everyone can make a difference, but the first change must come from within. With that change, you can create change around you and the world.

Spotlight Conversation

A conversation with Danielle Boyer


Danielle Boyer is a young award-winning Indigenous (Ojibwe) robotics inventor, author, environmental activist, and advocate for youth who has been teaching kids since she was ten years old. Danielle creates innovative learning solutions utilizing robots that she invents and gives to kids for free to make technical education accessible. Armed with a desire to make the technical space an equitable one, she created The STEAM Connection, a nonprofit that has helped her reach hundreds of thousands of children worldwide with life-changing education. Danielle’s affordable tools champion the educational space and cost less than 20 USD to manufacture. She has been named one of PEOPLE Magazine’s Girls Changing the World and a L’OrĂ©al Paris Woman of Worth and currently mentors 35 youth robotics teams. Danielle is currently studying Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering with goals to discover how she can use technology to create positive change in the world and for our Earth.


Full Agenda



The King Conservation Leadership Academy is proudly supported by: 

King Family Foundation
The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc.
Baxter International Inc.
BNSF Railway Foundation
Nalco, an Ecolab Company
S & C Electric Company
State Farm®
Wintrust Financial Corporation