S.C. Sea Grant Consortium

Blue Carbon Law Symposium Panelists

We are honored to host our expert panelists from a variety of top organizations and institutions.

Panel 1: Overview of Climate Law and Carbon Markets


Cinnamon P. Carlarne, J.D.

Associate Dean for Faculty and Intellectual Life, Robert J. Lynn Law, The Ohio State University

Professor Cinnamon Carlarne is the Associate Dean for Faculty and Intellectual Life and the Robert J. Lynn Chair in Law at the Ohio State University College of Law.

Her research focuses on questions of domestic and international environmental law, centering on climate change law and climate justice. Her scholarship includes two of the primary books in the field of climate change law, Climate Change Law with Dan Farber, and The Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law, as well as a monograph on comparative climate change law and policy with Oxford University Press, a casebook on international environmental law, a textbook on oceans and human health and numerous articles, book chapters, and essays on questions of domestic and international environmental law, with a particular focus on question of climate change and climate justice.

She is on the editorial board for Transnational Environmental Law (Cambridge University Press) and the academic advisory board for Climate Law (IOS Press). She was the co-chair of the American Society for International Law’s Climate Law signature topic working group and serves on various climate-focused academic and policy boards. She is a University leader at Ohio State, where she not only serves as Associate Dean at the College of Law, but also chairs the University Research Committee and serves on the Executive Steering Committee for The Ohio State Sustainability Institute.

She earned her BCL and an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford as a Marshall Scholar; a JD from Berkeley Law; and her BA from Baylor University. Prior to joining Ohio State, she was a Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, the Harold Woods Fellow in Environmental Law at Wadham College, Oxford, and an attorney at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C.


Moritz von Unger, Ph.D., J.D.

Principal, Silvestrum Climate Associates LLC

Dr. Moritz von Unger, principal at Silvestrum Climate Associates LLC, has over 15 years of professional experience in international climate cooperation, climate finance, and low-carbon interventions.

He specializes in climate finance and climate investments, transaction due diligence assessments, public-private partnership advice; as well as REDD+, soil and blue carbon program evaluations. He has extensive experience advising governments, as well as international finance institutions and the private sector.

Moritz holds a Ph.D. (Doctor iuris) in international law and is a member of the bar (Berlin, Germany).

Panel 2: Legal and Policy Needs to Advance Blue Carbon I


Hilary Stevens, M.S.

Coastal Resilience Manager, Restore America’s Estuaries

Hilary Stevens is the coastal resilience manager at Restore America’s Estuaries. She oversees the Blue Carbon and Living Shorelines programs. She is a geologist and environmental scientist with extensive experience in coastal resource management.

Hilary has worked on coastal issues and climate change adaptation around the US and globally, with an emphasis on using best-available science to address community needs and improve resource management. She has a particular affinity for island communities, stemming from her time working in Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. She holds a master’s from Yale University and a B.S. from Wesleyan University.


Kelly Samek, J.D., L.L.M.

Acting Assistant Director for Partnerships, NOAA National Sea Grant Office

Kelly Samek is with NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office (NSGO), currently as Acting Assistant Director for Partnerships. Her regular role in NSGO is as Gulf Regional Lead and Federal Program Officer for Florida Sea Grant, Louisiana Sea Grant, the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the National Sea Grant Law Center, and Texas Sea Grant. Her topical portfolio includes supporting Sea Grant’s Healthy Coastal Ecosystems and Resilient Communities and Economies Focus Areas, and as part of this she represents Sea Grant in NOAA’s cross-line office coastal blue carbon group.

Kelly holds a J.D. from the University of Florida and an LL.M. in Environmental Law and Policy from Florida State University. Prior to joining NOAA in 2016, she served as Gulf Restoration Coordinator at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and as Coastal Program Administrator at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Panel 3: Legal and Policy Needs to Advance Blue Carbon II


Read Porter, J.D.

Deputy General Counsel for Environment, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

In August, 2021, Read Porter was named Deputy General Counsel for Environment and most recently served as Acting General Counsel at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. As Deputy General Counsel, Mr. Porter draws on his expertise in domestic and international environmental and natural resources law and policy to counsel the Commonwealth’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the environmental and natural resources agencies and offices within the secretariat. Before entering state service, he led an experiential education program focused on ocean and coastal law and policy at Roger Williams University School of Law and Rhode Island Sea Grant; contributed to complex legal research and policy projects at the Environmental Law Institute; and served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Julia Smith Gibbons on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Mr. Porter graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005 and was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Environmental Law Review.


Megan Terrell, J.D.

Partner, Plauché & Carr LLP

Megan provides counsel on issues regarding environmental, natural resources and coastal law, as well as administrative, governmental, and constitutional law. She has represented clients on a wide array of issues, including federal and state project permitting, regulatory, and enforcement matters; environmental, coastal restoration, and resilience issues; mitigation and ecosystem banking; land use and conservation easements; and federal and state governmental and legislative matters. Megan has served in multiple roles including as a project manager and facilitator through the planning, financing, and regulatory processes for infrastructure and restoration projects, an advocate through the legislative process, and also represents clients in administrative and judicial litigation. 

Megan’s experience includes working for the Louisiana Department of Justice, where she served as lead in-house counsel for the State of Louisiana during the Deepwater Horizon disaster and subsequent litigation (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179) and natural resource damage assessment. She has also represented the State of Louisiana and several state agencies, boards, and commissions, including the Louisiana Departments of Environmental Quality; Natural Resources; Wildlife and Fisheries; Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

She also served as Deputy Director and Legal Advisor for the Governor’s Office of Coastal Activities, where she developed, reviewed, and, coordinated with federal, state, and local officials and stakeholders with respect to funding and implementation of integrated coastal protection projects, and coordinated with the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal cooperating agencies for the Louisiana coastal restoration projects on the Federal Permitting Dashboard. She has assisted in the implementation of coastal restoration projects pursuant to the Deepwater Horizon Consent Decree and coordinated with the Natural Resource Trustees. Megan also worked with the Louisiana Legislature and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to establish Louisiana’s Natural Resource Damages Restoration Banking Program. 

Megan has lectured as Guest Faculty for the Seton Hall Law School BP Oil Spill Program (2012 and 2013) and has presented extensively on other matters related to coastal protection and restoration matters, the Deepwater Horizon litigation and subsequent settlement, natural resource damage restoration banking, public and private financing for coastal restoration.

Panel 4: Blue Carbon in the Board Room: ESG, Timelines, and SEC Reporting


Mary Lakey

Head of Environmental Social, and Governance (ESG), First Horizon Bank

Mary Lakey is the Head of Environmental Social, and Governance (ESG) for First Horizon, a bank with $79 billion in assets (as of 12/31/22) operating in 12 states across the southern U.S. During her tenure in this role, she originated the corporate ESG strategy and framework and is responsible for leading, executing and reporting on ESG practices and performance. Lakey leads the company’s ESG team and works closely with internal and external partners to inform, shape and operationalize the bank’s practices and programs.

Lakey has over 10 years of experience in the banking industry, most recently working as a key member of the Investor Relations team preparing financial materials for public disclosure, engaging in shareholder communications, and working to successfully integrate the First Horizon and IBERIABANK merger of equals. Prior to that she worked in Energy Capital Markets in various roles including serving as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer for IBERIA Capital Partners.

Lakey holds her Series 24, 7, and 87 securities licenses. She is a graduate of University of San Diego where she was also a Division 1 collegiate swimmer. She was selected for the American Banker Most Powerful Teams in Banking (2022) and continues to participate in numerous leadership programs and industry working groups.


Bob Martineau, J.D.

Senior Partner, Finn Partners

Bob Martineau is currently a Senior Partner at Finn Partners, a global public relations and public affairs firm and helps lead their Environment and Sustainability group. He is based in Nashville, TN.

Bob brings over 30 years of environmental, energy, and sustainability expertise to the table and has severed in public and private sector roles. He is a lawyer by training and practice environmental law with a particular focus on Clean Air Act matters in private law firms in Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Nashville. In addition, he worked on Clean Air Act issues as a Senior Attorney in EPA’s Office of General Counsel at EPA Headquarters. He also served at the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation for 7 years overseeing the state’s environmental and energy policy offices.

He has also served as President of the Environmental Council of States (ECOS), organization of state environmental agencies and worked closely with EPA leadership on federal-state partnerships, especially in dealing with issues around climate change. He has served on the Board of the Climate Registry, is a fellow in the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and was co-editor and author of the first two editions of the American Bar Association’s Clean Air Act Handbook.

He has significant experience and thought leadership in environmental public policy, climate, sustainability, ESG, environmental justice, energy efficiency, compliance, sustainability, and innovation and today works with clients on their ESG and sustainability efforts.


Charlie Carter​, J.D.

Partner, Earth and Water Law Group

Charlie Carter represents clients in environmental regulatory and litigation matters before state, federal and local agencies. With over 40 years of experience, he has represented companies, governmental agencies, and private clients over a broad range of environmental regulatory programs, including permitting, rulemaking, compliance, and enforcement matters under the air, water and land use, solid and hazardous wastes, toxic substances, and coastal management programs. Significant matters include the landmark United States Supreme Court administrative law case, Chevron v. NRDC, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce on EPA’s NOx SIP Call, and the West Virginia Manufacturers Association on Clean Air Act Section 126 cases.

In July 2021, Charlie was appointed to a third 4-year term on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, the agency that establishes rules and policy for the State’s air, water, and waste resources. The Commission is a 15-member group of citizens appointed by the Governor and General Assembly.

Charlie’s experience includes nine years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as Associate Director of the Office of Congressional Liaison and Assistant General Counsel and Chief of OGC’s National Standards Branch. His EPA representation included SO2 and PM SIP development, NESHAPs and NSPS rulemakings with extensive appellate litigation and oral arguments before the District of Columbia, Second, and Third Circuit Courts of Appeals. He drafted Title IV and other portions of the Bush Administration bill enacted as the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 for which he was awarded EPA’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service. He was also awarded the agency’s Bronze Medal for the Benzene Hazardous Air Pollutant standards, which was enacted as the residual risk standard in Section 112(f)(2) of the 1990 CAA Amendments.

Prior to law school at the University of North Carolina, Charlie earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (majoring in Electrical Engineering) at Duke University and served as a Design Engineer for the Sperry-Rand Corporation.

Charlie has been selected by his peers for inclusion by The Best Lawyers in America in Environmental Law for twenty years.


Whitney Johnston, Ph.D.

Director of Ocean Sustainability, Salesforce

Dr Whitney Johnston is the Director of Ocean Sustainability for Salesforce, where her focus is to leverage the full power of the organization for the benefit of our ocean. In this role, Whitney leads the Blue Carbon Workstream at the Business Alliance for Scaling Climate Solutions and the advancement of the High Quality Blue Carbon Principles and Guidance. Previously, she served as Ocean Policy Adviser to U.S. Congressman Sam Farr. She also worked for IdeaScale where she led strategy to help large organizations innovate. Dr Johnston holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Evening Reception

Queen Quet

Queen Quet

Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation

Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine is a published author, computer scientist, historian, preservationist, and environmental justice advocate.  Queen Quet was selected, elected, and enstooled by her people to be the first Queen Mother, “head pun de bodee,” and official spokesperson for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. As a result, she is respectfully referred to as “Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.” She is the founder of the premiere advocacy organization for the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition.

In 2008, Queen Quet was recorded at UNESCO Headquarters in order to have the human rights story of the Gullah/Geechee people archived for the United Nations (UN). In 2009, she was invited by the UN Office of the High Commissioner to present before the newly founded “Minority Forum” as a representative of the Gullah/Geechee Nation and the International Human Rights Association for American Minorities (IHRAAM). Queen Quet is a directorate member for IHRAAM and for the International Commission on Human Rights. She represented these bodies and the Gullah/ Geechee Nation at the “United Nations Forum on Minority Rights” and the UN’s Conference of Parties 22 (COP22) in Morocco. 

Due to Queen Quet advancing the idea of keeping the Gullah/Geechee culture alive, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition worked with US Congressman James Clyburn to ensure recognition by the U.S. Congress; resulting in the passage of “Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act” in 2006.

Queen Quet served as an Expert Commissioner in the Department of the Interior, serving as Chair of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor General Management Plan and as a member of the “National Park Relevancy Committee” and proudly continues to work to protect the environment and to ensure that diverse groups of people engage in the outdoors and the policies governing them. Queen Quet has engaged in several White House conferences on this issue. She has also been a part of the United Nations COP 22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco and COP 25 in Madrid, Spain.  She also spoke at the United Nations Ocean Action Summit in Korea.

Queen Quet has won countless awards for being a woman of distinction, for her scholarship, writings, artistic presentation, activism, cultural continuation and environmental preservation. Queen Quet was chosen as a TogetherGreen Fellow sponsored by Toyota and the National Audubon Society. As a result, she created an on-going program called “Gullah/ Geechee SEA & ME” in which SEA stands for “saving environmental actions” and ME stands for “marine environment.” This program focuses on intergenerational engagement in learning Gullah/Geechee traditions that are beneficial to the Sea Island environment and promotes engagement in citizen science.

Queen Quet’s accolades include the United States Jefferson Award for community service, the Oceans Hero Award, the Jean Laney Folk Heritage Award for Gullah Advocacy from the state of South Carolina, the inaugural “Living Legacy Award” from the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH), the inaugural HOTEP Award, the inaugural MaVynee Betsch Conservation Award, numerous Woman of Distinction Awards, the National Black Herstory Award, being featured on the “Wall of Heroes” at the National Wilderness Society headquarters in Washington, DC. More awards and recognitions are on Queen Quet’s webpage. In 2021, Governor Henry McMaster presented Queen Quet with the highest honor given to a citizen in South Carolina: the Order of the Palmetto Award for the work that she has done for her home state and especially in protecting and continuing the Gullah/Geechee culture.


Barbara Mann, M.F.A.


Barbara Mann is a jewelry and metalsmithing artist who has received a grant from Georgia Sea Grant Artists, Writers, and Scholars program. Her grant project, A Metal Artist’s View of the Marine Carbon Cycle, is a visual exploration, in objects made of metal, gemstones, and minerals, focusing on carbon in the ocean and marine ecosystem. “I want to offer a positive vision with an optimistic outlook that the ocean offers a solution to climate change. My goal is to engage the viewer with beautiful, well-made objects that highlight a specific aspect of the sea. The objects are designed to encourage the viewer to have an intimacy and appreciation of the subject matter.”

Barbara Mann has 50 years of experience as an artist and educator. She holds an MFA and a BFA degree from the University of Georgia where she taught for many years in the Lamar Dodd School of Art and with the Continuing Education Program. She has taught in Italy, Costa Rica, and at many schools, art centers, and museums. She has an extensive exhibition record and is in several museum collections. As a studio artist, she has created artwork for a wide range of clients, businesses, and institutions. For details, see Barbara Mann’s website.

Special Address


Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist, NOAA

Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D., serves as chief scientist for NOAA, where she is responsible for guiding the programmatic focus ofNOAA’s science and technology priorities. Her expertise in climate science has made her a trusted resource across the federal government and for national and international outlets and publications such as the Associated Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, PBS, BBC, the Today Show, National Public Radio, Time, Popular Science, and National Geographic.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Kapnick previously held a position as a physical scientist and deputy division leader on seasonal to decadal variability and predictability at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). At GFDL, her work spanned seasonal climate prediction, mountain snowpack, extreme storms, water security, climate economics, and climate impacts. She served as an expert and reviewer for NOAA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, a member of its Eastern Region Climate Team, a science panelist for Climate.gov and the NOAA team lead for the NASA High Mountain Asia Team. She was a recipient of the NOAA Albritton Outstanding Science Communicator Award, American Geophysical Union Cryosphere Early Career Award, and National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship award.

Dr. Kapnick has extensive experience at the intersection of climate science and economics. Most recently, she served as a managing director at J.P. Morgan, functioning as Senior Climate Scientist and Sustainability Strategist for Asset and Wealth Management. While at J.P. Morgan she supported sustainability and climate action efforts and served as an advisor on new business and investment opportunities and risks. Additionally, she co-founded Vertum Partners, a renewable energy forecasting startup, and has held positions at The Climate Registry–a voluntary carbon registry and Goldman Sachs.

Dr. Kapnick is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She received a Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a Certificate in Leaders in Sustainability from UCLA, and an A.B. in Mathematics with a Certificate in Finance from Princeton University.

Panel 5: State of the Science: Pathways to Reduce Uncertainties


Ken Krauss, M.S., Ph.D.

Research Ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

Ken Krauss is a Research Ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. Ken works on mangroves, tidal freshwater forested wetlands, and marsh wetlands throughout the southeastern United States and on multiple islands of the Indo-Pacific region.

His expertise is on wetland vegetation responses to sea-level rise and environmental eco-physiology of coastal wetlands, specifically related to ecosystem stress and management influences on forested wetland tree water use. Ken is also focused on blue carbon cycling, and how C, N, P, and water budgets are linked. Ken took up kayak fishing as his mid-life crisis and has become somewhat fanatical about it in both inshore and offshore environments.


David Lagomasino, M.S., Ph.D.

East Carolina University

Dr. Lagomasino is an environmental geologist that focuses on coastal resilience and vulnerability. He has over 13 years of experience using satellite, airborne, drone, and ground measurements to quantify changes in coastal process with respect to natural and human disturbances. His research links remotely sensed spatial data directly with stakeholders in order to address exposure and sensitivity issues for coastal/wetland management and ecosystem valuation.

He has been involved in a number of coastal blue carbon projects with funding from NASA, USDA as well as the Inter-American Development Bank, World Wildlife Fund, and the Center for International Forestry. Through his projects, Dr. Lagomasino has visited coastal regions around the world and gained insights into coastal issues in many countries and the role that blue carbon valuation plays addressing coastal and climate resilience.

Throughout his research and field campaigns, Dr. Lagomasino works to engage students, academics and communities to better understand the challenges and hopes for a better tomorrow. His goal is to provide meaningful information that will better inform coastal management practices while also inspiring students and the community to become environmental stewards in order to help sustain our coastal resources.


Gyami Shrestha, M.S., Ph.D.

Program Director, Lynker Corporation

Dr. Gyami Shrestha spearheaded the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program Office for 11 years as its Director, catalyzing interagency and community science products and collaborations. She currently serves as Lynker Corporation Program Director, building a cross-cutting initiative on carbon, GHG and climate change.

With over 20 years of multidisciplinary experience in academia, non-profit and private sectors, she has led or co-authored and executed over 100 presentations, public engagement opportunities and  influential publications (such as the State of the Carbon Cycle Report covering 19 sectors including blue carbon ecosystems) for and with U.S. and international partners and rights holders.

Gyami oversaw the first interagency workshop on Global Science and Data Network for Coastal Blue Carbon, sponsored by the Carbon Cycle Interagency Group and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). She also co-developed the equity and justice focused federal webinars and public NOAA podcast series of the USGCRP Coastal Science and Decision Making Group. Gyami was born in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Panel 6: The Role and Value of Community Stakeholders for High-Quality Blue Carbon

Pabon Valentin

Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers, M.S.

Director, Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Tonna-Marie Surgeon Rogers is the Director at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve where she leads a diverse team and provides strategic planning and management oversight of the Reserve’s research, education, training, and stewardship programs. Prior to becoming the Director, she led the Reserve’s Coastal Training Program Coordinator and focused on identifying and meeting the needs of coastal decision-makers to enhance the application of science in management and policy decisions.

Trained as a scientist, meeting facilitator, and stakeholder engagement specialist, Ms. Rogers has over twenty-years’ experience working at the nexus of science and management. She has experience in coordinating multi-disciplinary teams and leading highly effective collaborative research projects. She was a core team member on the Reserve’s Bringing Wetlands to Market blue carbon research projects and has been active in follow-on projects focused on capitalizing on blue carbon to support wetlands restoration and conservation and climate action. Her career has spanned working in both the Caribbean and the U.S. The Waquoit Bay Reserve is a part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and is also a state park within the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation state park system.

Pabon Valentin

Aitza E. Pabón-Valentín, M.S.

Director and Manager, Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Aitza E. Pabón-Valentín is the director and manager of the Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. She holds a Masters in Biological Oceanography and a BA in Biology of University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. She has over 20 years of experience supervising and managing federal proposals, including proposals for federal programs as the Sportfish and Wildlife Restoration Programs for the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, and NOAA coral reefs program. While working for NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation, the National Marine Fisheries Service, she led the preparation of the Local Actions Strategies for Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands coral reefs conservation, and projects dedicated to education on marine resources.Today, as a manager, she leads projects, coordinates workshops and meetings with stakeholders to achieve the goals and objectives of the Bahia de Jobos National Estuarine Research Reserve, including coastal habitat enhancement projects with the collaboration of The Ocean Foundation.


Tannia Frausto, M.S.

Climate Change Director, WILDCOAST

Tannia holds a B.S. in Biology from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional in Mexico City and an M.S. in Marine Ecology from Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior (CICESE) in Ensenada, Baja California. Tannia joined WILDCOAST in 2013 as Oaxaca’s Coastal Coordinator, where I initiated a program to protect the coral reefs of Huatulco National Park in Oaxaca and helped to conserve its globally important sea turtle nesting beaches. In 2015, Tannia collaborated with the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) to promote 142 wetlands of international importance in Mexico.

In 2017, Tannia was promoted to Wetlands and Climate Change Manager and helped to promote the conservation of 47,000 acres of mangroves in Northwestern Mexico as a natural solution to climate change. Now, Tannia is Climate Change Director at WILDCOAST and works to expand WILDCOAST conservation efforts. Finally, Tannia represents WILDCOAST in the Mangrove Alliance-Chapter Mexico and in the Blue Carbon Alliance for Mexico.


Bryan Van Stippen, J.D., LL.M., S.J.D.

Program Director, National Indian Carbon Coalition

Bryan Van Stippen is Program Director for National Indian Carbon Coalition, an initiative of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) that provides education, training and technical assistance to American Indian tribes, Alaska Native Villages & Corporations, Native Hawaiian organizations and First Nations in Canada on the development of carbon credit and renewable energy projects on tribal land.

A member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Van Stippen previously served for seven years as Tribal Attorney for the Ho-Chunk Nation Department of Justice in Wisconsin where he was responsible for land acquisition and other land-related issues. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Computer Information Systems from Tarleton State University in Texas. Van Stippen is a graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law (J.D.); the University of Tulsa College of Law (LL.M. in American Indian and Indigenous Law); and the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (S.J.D in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy).

He lives with his wife and two children in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Bryan is a representative on the Voluntary Carbon Market Initiative Expert Advisory Group, a Legacy Member of the Ecosystem Service Marketplace Consortium, and a representative on the Bipartisan Policy Center Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Task Force.

Panel 7: Establishing a Blue Carbon Project: A Methodology Roadmap


Kimberly Lewtas, M.S.

Senior Program Officer for the Blue Carbon Innovation, Verra

Kimberly serves as Senior Program Officer, Blue Carbon Innovation, on Verra’s Program Development and Innovation Team, and contributes to program development initiatives related to blue carbon innovation. She provides guidance and input on improvements to coastal blue carbon methodologies and new VCS methodologies for natural climate solutions, including sustainable seascape management activities and ocean-based approaches as they evolve. Kimberly conducts research into approaches for quantifying and monitoring greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and/or removals resulting from blue carbon systems approaches and other natural climate solutions (e.g. forestry, wetlands, and sustainable agriculture).

Kimberly has a diverse background in providing research and guidance in water quality, nature-based solutions (NbS), and environmental markets policy strategies of varied government agencies, academic institutions, and NGOs in Canada, the United States, and Australia. Prior to joining Verra, Kimberly worked as Manager and Policy Advisor for the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Canada on areas of research that spanned climate-watershed-agricultural issues. Prior to IISD, Kimberly was a researcher with the University of Sydney, worked for the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) in Sydney, Australia, and The Nature Conservancy, Great Lakes Program (US) in the areas of water quality, eutrophication, nutrient, and carbon budget modeling.


Stephanie Simpson, M.S.

Coastal Wetland Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy’s Global Strategies

Stefanie Simpson is the Coastal Wetland Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Strategies. She supports TNC’s state and country programs to develop market mechanisms that support coastal wetland restoration and conservation. Her focus is on developing a pipeline of blue carbon offset projects and exploring other innovative finance mechanisms such as resilience credits. She has managed the developed of coastal wetland carbon methodologies, approved under Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard, and advises on blue carbon market project development with field teams on an international scale.

Prior to TNC Stef worked for the EPA’s Office of Water, Restore America’s Estuaries, and South Carolina’s ACE Basin Reserve. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Philippines 2010-12) with her BS in Biology from Clemson University and MS in Environmental Science from the College of Charleston. In her spare time, she loves hiking, traveling, and cooking.


Nikki Rovner, J.D.

Virginia Associate State Director, The Nature Conservancy

Nikki Rovner is Associate State Director at The Nature Conservancy in Virginia, where she advances the group’s mission of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends by fostering partnerships with agencies, organizations and decision-makers.

Nikki served as Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources in the administration of Governor Tim Kaine between 2006 and 2010, where two of her primary responsibilities were the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change and Kaine’s successful initiative to conserve 400,000 acres by the end of his term. Nikki began her career as a staff attorney with the Virginia Division of Legislative Services, where she served as counsel to the natural resources committees of the Virginia General Assembly.

Nikki serves on the boards of Virginia’s United Land Trusts and Virginiaforever, a business/conservation coalition that advocates for increased state funding for water quality improvement and land conservation. Nikki has taught environmental policy courses at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. She holds a B. S. in wildlife biology from Penn State University and a law degree from the University of Richmond.


Ryan Moyer, M.S., Ph.D.


Ryan leads the blue carbon practice at TerraCarbon and advises clients on the feasibility, design, and monitoring of coastal habitat conservation and restoration projects that increase carbon storage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase coastal resiliency. He is a leading coastal wetland scientist with extensive experience in monitoring soil carbon changes in coastal ecosystems.

Ryan holds a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from The Ohio State University, an M.S. in Marine Biology from Nova Southeastern University. Ryan previously held positions at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, and the U.S. Geological Survey. He has also taught classes as an Adjunct Instructor at the University of South Florida and Nova Southeastern University.


Jocelyn D’Ambrosio, J.D.

Senior Counsel, White House Council on Environmental Quality

Jocelyn D’Ambrosio is serving as Senior Counsel at the Council on Environmental Quality within the Executive Office of the President, and an attorney-advisor within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of General Counsel. Her practice focuses on ocean law and policy and she advises on the Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act, among other statutes.

Prior to joining the government, Ms. D’Ambrosio was a senior associate at a leading environmental nonprofit law firm, where she litigated cases and participated in government rulemakings to improve air and water quality, address climate change, and increase environmental justice. Prior to that, she a litigation associate at an international law firm.

Ms. D’Ambrosio earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and a B.A. cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania.

Panel 8: International Options and Perspectives


Dan Friess, Ph.D.

Cochran Family Professorship in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University

Dan holds the Cochran Family Professorship in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Tulane University. His research concerns the quantification of blue carbon stocks and fluxes, how blue carbon changes with deforestation and sea-level rise, and the use of blue carbon to incentivize habitat restoration and the establishment of blue carbon credit projects. This includes advising several corporate and government partners.

Much of Dan’s research has been conducted in Southeast Asia, where he was based at the National University of Singapore for 14 years. Dan is a member of the Blue Carbon Initiative, and co-chairs their seagrass working group. For more information please visit The Mangrove Lab.


Jennifer Howard, Ph.D.

Vice President of the Blue Carbon Program, Conservation International

Jennifer is the Vice President of the Blue Carbon Program at Conservation International. Her work focuses on implementing scalable mechanisms to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems to protect threatened coastal communities, combat climate change, and conserve coastal biodiversity. In this role, she provides technical support to our teams on the ground all over the world and builds partnerships for largescale meaningful change.

She helped to found the Global Mangrove Alliance and represents CI on its Steering Committee with the goal of halting loss, doubling protection, restoring half of mangrove ecosystems globally through meaningful collaboration across sectors and disciplines. She is also a technical expert with Blue Carbon Initiative, a global program on coastal carbon science and marine policy working to mitigate climate change through the restoration and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems.

She is a technical advisor to the Verra Blue Carbon Working Group where she is developing carbon crediting methodologies that work for large and small projects anywhere in the world. Jennifer also spends time working closely with partners to identify barriers to taking blue carbon to scale and coming up with innovative solutions to overcome those barriers.


Tibor Vegh, M.S., Ph.D.

Senior Policy Associate in the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University

Tibor Vegh is a Senior Policy Associate in the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. He is trained as an economist (B.S.), a forest economist (M.S.), and an environmental planner (Ph.D., expected 2023).

His current interests include economic and policy analyses related to coupled social-ecological systems mainly in coastal, ocean, and in some terrestrial ecosystems. Also, he is working on ecological restoration and policy pathways within payments for ecosystem services frameworks to increase the use of natural infrastructure to mitigate environmental impacts on people. Throughout his career, he has worked extensively in terrestrial forest systems and on mangrove forest ecosystems, among others.

Breakout Groups


Rep. Glenda Simmons Jenkins

Representative, Gullah/Geechee Nation Assembly of Representatives

Rep. Glenda Simmons Jenkins has served since 2004 on the Gullah/Geechee Nation Assembly of Representatives working on behalf of Gullah/Geechee people in her home state of Florida. In nearly two decades of promoting a greater understanding of Gullah culture and history, Jenkins has contributed to academic and scholarly research in law, public policy, climate science and social, economic and environmental justice.

A former print news reporter, she is a frequent panelist and presenter on the topics of Gullah/Geechee land rights and cultural sustainability, lending her knowledge and insight as a Gullah/Geechee native to ongoing discourse about climate change. Jenkins is the co-founder and executive director of the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Community Trust Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization that creates community solutions at the intersection of land and culture. In 2022 Jenkins received the Florida Archaeological Council’s Stewards of Heritage Award. The Board of the Florida Public Archaeology Network recently appointed Jenkins to a three-year term as an at-large lay-person Director of the Board.