The International Year of Soil starts on February 24 & 25 in Los Angeles, CA LIVING SOIL + CARBON SEQUESTRATION + NATIVE PLANTS = WATER SECURITY

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It’s dry and getting drier here in the arid West. But drought is just a symptom of something much more insidious called desertification – creating a man-made desert out of a historically dry area.


In order to influence policy and projects aimed at reducing the effects of climate change, the Urban Soil Carbon Water Summit Partners invite you to join the dialogue and claim a leadership role in building the formula for abundance and urban resiliency:


Living Soil + Carbon Sequestration + Native Plants = Soil Security = Water Security

Over two days in February 2015 our internationally renowned speakers, in dialogue with YOU, our Summit attendees, will share strategies for:


• Restoring urban soils

• Reducing drought

• Creating a more verdant and economically viable city, and

• Sequestering carbon in the soil biome to reverse climate change.


Here in the City of Angels, we begin the collaboration with the billions of angels in the soil biome beneath our feet  to restore the soils of America’s urban environments.

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Our Hosts The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Our Summit host, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, located in Exposition Park, near downtown Los Angeles, seeks to inspire wonder, discovery and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds and empower the widest possible audience to enjoy, value and become stewards of the living Earth. The Museum believes that human beings are connected — to each other, to communities, to other species, and to the Earth.


As humans increasingly influence natural systems, it is critical that we understand these relationships. Therefore, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County has donated all facilities and resources we enjoy during this Summit in order to spark the necessary dialogue around urban soil and water security. Spend some time wandering in their beautiful gardens and be sure to thank anyone you see with an NHM nametag for their generosity and support.   Learn more about the Museum at:

Summit Sponsors
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Our Program*
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 7:30 – 8:30 AM Registration, Light Breakfast 8:30 AM Introduction and Welcome 8:45 AM The Forest Through The Trees
Andy Lipkis, Founder and President of TreePeople, Los Angeles, CA 9:00 AM Start With A Bang!
Ray Archuleta, USDA NRCS, aka "Ray The Soils Guy" blows our collective minds 9:30 AM Morning Discussion - The Biome Tells Its Story. Can We Hear It? Understanding the critical role of the soil biome in all ecological functions including sequestering atmospheric carbon Dr. Elaine Ingham, Founder of Soil FoodWeb Inc., Corvalis, WA, an internationally recognized expert on soil biochemical processes Dr. Sophie Parker, Acting Director For Urban Conservation at The Nature Conservancy, Los Angeles, CA an expert on the role of soil in climate change adaptation and habitat restoration 10:30 AM Morning Coffee Break 10:45 AM Morning Panel Moderated by Judith D. Schwartz, author of Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth 12:15 PM Lunch Break at the Museum 1:00 PM Afternoon Session - The Watershed Story
How does Living Soil affect ecosystem and watershed function? Dr. John Quinton, Lancaster Environmental Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster England, a frequently-cited researcher on global linkages between soil erosion and the cycling of nutrients and carbon in wetlands Dr. Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forest Ecology, Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, an expert on forest mycorrhizal networks Dr. Wallace Meyer, Director of the Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station at Pomona College, Claremont, CA, a respected ecosystem ecologist with an expertise in the preservation and restoration of CA coastal sage scrub ecosystems. 2:30 PM Tea Break 3:00 PM Afternoon Panel Moderated by Judith D. Schwartz, author of Cows Save the Planet and Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth 4:15 PM Day One Closing Remarks
Dr. Nancy L. C. Steele, Executive Director of the Council For Watershed Health, Los Angeles, CA 4:30 PM NHM Garden Tour
Carol Bornstein, Director, Nature Gardens, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 5:45 – 7:30 PM The Fermentation Celebration : Networking and Cocktails
Location to be determined 
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 7:30 – 8:30 AM Light Breakfast and Video Feed 8:30 AM Welcome to Los Angeles, California 8:45 AM The Soil Story
Finian Makepeace, Co-Founder and Policy Chair of Kiss the Ground, Venice, CA 9:00 AM Morning Session - The Water Supply Story
If climate change is our destiny, can Soil Security sponge up more water and change the climate? Allan Savory, Founder of the Savory Institute, Boulder, CO, and originator of Holistic Land Management for large scale grassland restoration Dr. Brian Von Herzen, Founder of the Climate Foundation, Woods Hole, MA, inventor and entrepreneur using biochar to sequester carbon Dan Noble, Founder of Noble Resources and Executive Director of CA Association of Compost Producers, Julian, CA, environmental market consultant and expert on soil benefits of compost Invited: California Dept. of Food and Agriculture 10:30 AM Morning Coffee Break 10:45 AM Morning Panel Begins
Moderated by Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us 12:15 PM Lunch Break at the Museum 1:00 PM Afternoon Session – The Water Quality and Urban Resilience Story
How do we implement urban ecological solutions for a more resilient city? Dr. Mitchell Pavao-Zuckerman, Research Scientist and Assistant Professor, Biosphere 2, Tucson, AZ, an ecosystem ecologist researching effects of environmental changes on the ecology of arid cities Sarah Gatzke, WRC Engineer at California State Water Resources Control Board, expert on urban storm water management and water quality issues resulting from soil degradation Brock Dolman, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, Sonoma, CA, cutting edge ecological literacy activist using the watershed approach toward societal transformation 2:30 PM Tea Break 3:00 PM Afternoon Session - The Water Supply Story Moderated by Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us 4:30 PM The Wrap and A Call To ACTION! Carol Bornstein, Director, Nature Gardens, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA, one of Southern California's most highly-respected native plant specialists and author of two must-have books on native plants in urban environments Pamela Berstler, Founder of G3, Green Gardens Group, Los Angeles, CA, visionary entrepreneur, educator and advocate for Living Soil as the solution to climate change *Urban Soil Carbon Water Summit program subject to change without notice
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Welcome to Los Angeles

Los Angeles, City of Angels, and eighth largest economy in the world, welcomes you to explore everything our vibrant and diverse city has to offer.  Since we’re talking about the natural world, make sure to head EAST and visit Griffith Park, the larger, more untamed, and rugged counterpoint to that other great urban park, New York City’s Central Park. You will begin to appreciate how unique are our chaparral ecosystems and how vulnerable they are to climate change. Or, venture WEST to the Venice Beach and begin to appreciate the fragility of the tidal ecosystem and its vulnerability to urban soil degradation in the form of urban runoff.


Spend a few days here and be sure to:




The Inoculation Party February 23, 2015 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
We have 100 tickets available for this event, so don’t delay making your reservation!

Sponsored by

Are you in town the evening before the Summit?  Join us for an Inoculation Party and Sneak Peek Opening Celebration at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County’s Otis Booth Pavilion.   Mingle with the speakers, sponsors, partners and friends who helped make the dream of this Summit a reality.


Libations and hors d’oeuvres served, of course with a soil theme!

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Attending the Summit? We'd love to have you participate in the discussion by submitting video. Stay tuned!
Conference Papers
Presenters, sponsors and organizers recommend these background papers. More to come as we expand our information.