Conservation Conversations with Sean O'Brien

NatureServe has launched its premier podcast series, Conservation Conversations with Sean O’Brien. Hosted by NatureServe’s President & CEO, Dr. Sean T. O’Brien, each episode features an exclusive interview with a leading expert in the conservation field.

Geared towards both conservation professionals and casual listeners alike, this educational and entertaining podcast discusses how emerging technologies can benefit conservation, regional and global trends in biodiversity, and the future for life on Earth.

Conservation Conversations with Sean O’Brien is released on a monthly basis and can be found wherever you listen to your podcasts.


July 2021 — Doug Chadwick: Four Fifths a Grizzly

In this first episode of the new season of Conservation Conversations, Sean sits down with author and wildlife biologist Doug Chadwick to talk about the future of biodiversity conservation. Listen as Doug recounts his adventures with National Geographic, explains the need for connectedness between public lands, and shares what it means to be four-fifths a grizzly.

June, 2021 — Michelle Nijhuis: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction

Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction, joins Sean in a conversation about the origins of conservation, climate change, and the many motivations for protecting nature. Listen and learn about the complex history of species conservation, the challenges we face today, and the interconnected solutions for our future.

May, 2021 — Carrie Brown-Lima: Invasive Species Awareness

In honor of invasive species awareness week, Sean speaks with Carrie Brown-Lima, Director of the NY Invasive Species Research Institute at Cornell University. Tune in and learn why invasive species are among the leading threats to native wildlife and how citizen scientists are helping to solve the problem. 

April, 2021 — Andrea Wulf: Storytelling for Science

In this episode of Conservation Conversations, Sean speaks with Andrea Wulf, an award–winning author of six acclaimed books, including the New York Times best sellers ‘Founding Gardeners’ and ‘The Invention of Nature.’ Listen as they discuss the adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, tips for effective science storytelling, and the NatureServe Network Van Tour!

March, 2021 — Saharah Moon Chapotin: The Vital Role of Botanic Gardens in Plant Conservation

In this episode of Conservation Conversations, Sean sits down with Saharah Moon Chapotin, Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Learn how botanic gardens support research and conservation both in the wild and in captivity, how plants are already being affected by climate change, and the future of agriculture.

February, 2021 — Congressman Don Beyer: The Bright Future of Environmental Policy

In this episode of Conservation Conversations, Sean chats with U.S. Congressman Don Beyer, Representative of Virginia's 8th district. Listen in on this candid conversation about policies past and present regarding wildlife corridors, climate change, and the 30x30 initiative. Beyer also shares stories from the Appalachian Trail.

January, 2021 — Annie Novak: Rooftop Farming, Engaging with Science, and "Following Your Bliss"

In the latest episode of Conservation Conversations, listen as Sean sits down with Annie Novak, an author, educator, and conservationist who's cultivated her passions into a gratifying and diverse career. Hear about Annie's journey from academia to rooftop farming in New York City, and learn how interested citizens can contribute to science and why “following your bliss" is a guiding motto for life and work.

December, 2020 — Ellen Shultzabarger: The Balancing Act of Natural Resource Management

In this episode of Conservation Conversations, Sean speaks with Ellen Shultzabarger, State Forester and Director of the PA Bureau of Forestry. Listen as they discuss Ellen's history in the NatureServe Network and becoming Pennsylvania's first female state forester, and how environmental review tools help to balance the diverse resource needs of businesses while creating positive outcomes for biodiversity.

November, 2020 — Jon Paul Rodríguez: Anticipating and Understanding Impacts on Nature

In our latest episode of Conservation Conversations, Sean sits down with an old friend—Jon Paul Rodríguez, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. Listen as they discuss how red listing helps us understand the impacts of our actions on biodiversity, the relationship between the environment and human health in the context of the pandemic, and the power of optimism in the conservation field.

October, 2020 — Dawn Wright: Mapping Biodiversity

In this episode, Sean speaks with Dawn Wright, Chief Scientist at Esri, about our landmark collaboration on the Map of Biodiversity Importance and the important role of open data for scientific advancement. Tune in to learn about Dr. Wright’s professional journey from deep sea exploration to her leading role on the forefront of GIS innovation, and how biodiversity conservation falls into Esri’s vision for the future.

September, 2020 — Anne Frances & Wes Knapp: Uncovering the truth about plant extinction in North America

In this new episode of Conservation Conversations, Sean speaks with Wes Knapp, a mountains botanists and ecologist with the NC Natural Heritage Program, and Anne Frances, NatureServe's Chief Botanist, about a new report that finds plants are going extinct faster than we realized. Listen as they share the challenges to assessing the extinction status of rare plants across jurisdictional lines, and how conservation can prevent more extinctions in the future.

August, 2020 — Lucas Joppa: The Intersection of Technology and Conservation

During this second episode of Conservation Conversations, Sean talks to Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer. Together, they discuss the intersection of technology and modern conservation practices. Listen as they reveal the unique career paths that lead them to where they are today, how artificial intelligence will play a role in protecting species and ecosystems, and what the future holds for those interested in the convergence of data, science, and biodiversity conservation.

July, 2020 — Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy, "the Godfather of Biodiversity"

In the first episode, Sean speaks with Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation who is often called “the Godfather of Biodiversity” for introducing the term biological diversity to the scientific community in the year 1980. From the amazing biodiversity of the Amazon, to the connection between the environment and social movements, Sean and Tom cover a wide variety of topics in this first interview.