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Nature!Tech Conference

May 7, 2016
Sonoma State University

Register Now


Nature!Tech Conference

May 7, 2016
Sonoma State University

Register Now

May 7, 2016 - Sonoma State University


New technologies - such as drones, virtual reality, and big data - are revolutionizing how we look at the environment.  They’re also breaking down traditional silos between businesses, governments, non-profits and universities. The result is a fascinating new ecosystem of partnerships that is generating insights, driving innovation, and training the workforce of tomorrow - all at the same time.  

If you’re interested in the nexus of technology and the environment, this conference is for you.  You’ll learn about what’s making this new ecosystem so productive.  You’ll also get a glimpse into the future of environmental technology.  And, perhaps most importantly, you’ll have an opportunity to help define that future by networking with leaders in the field, including professionals form businesses, governments, universities and non profits.  The conference will benefit:

COMPANIES whose products are used for environmental awareness and understanding

GOVERNMENT that use technology to advance environment understanding

FACULTY from all disciplines interested in technology and/or the environment

STUDENTS exploring careers in technology and/or the environment

COMMUNITY MEMBERS who want to know more about exciting advances in technology and education

The Conference will be held on Saturday May 7, 2016 at Sonoma State University in in Rohnert Park, CA.  In the morning, attendees will meet in Schroeder Hall at SSU’s Green Music Center.  In the afternoon, the conference will move to the SSU Student Center Ballroom for demonstrations and networking.  Lunch will be served.

The Nature!Tech Conference is being organized by SSU’s Center for Environmental Inquiry.  Our mission is to train the workforce of tomorrow by addressing the environmental challenges of today.  To do this, we partner with outside organizations to engage students and faculty in real-world challenges.  Each year, we conduct over 70 partner projects, helping organizations do everything from develop new technologies to research important environmental issues.  We have over 4200 acres of preserves, rich and expansive data sets, and an on-site sensor-to-screen network.  We also have access to over 500 faculty and nearly 9000 students.


Watch Our Video to Learn More:


Speakers & Attendees

Speakers & Attendees

Speakers & Attendees

Speakers & Attendees

Beth Rattner
Executive Director, Biomimicry Institute

Beth Rattner is Executive Director for the Biomimicry Institute, which attracts thousands of students and professionals each year to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. Prior to her role at the Biomimicry Institute, she was the executive director and vice president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, a non-profit she co-founded with William McDonough, Michael Braungart, and Bridget Luther. Beth is a graduate of U.C.L.A. and Loyola Law School and lives in Marin County, California.

Jeff Kirschner
Founder, Litterati

Former backpacker turned bartender, Jeff is a serial entrepreneur with a love for storytelling. Prior to building startups, he spent years working as a writer for TBWA/CHIAT/DAY. Before that, Jeff traveled the world, an experience that opened his eyes to the challenges we face on a global scale, and in many ways, led to his most recent venture Litterati, a global community that is 'crowdsource-cleaning' the planet one piece at a time.

Dr. Christina Sloop

Senior Environmental Scientist,
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Dr. Sloop is a published research scientist and leader with over 20 years of experience in conservation science, climate adaptation, natural resource management, training in ecology, and genetics. Prior to working for the state of California, she was co-principal at BIRD’S EYE VIEW Aerial Science and Imagery, a firm that specializes in custom designed aerial surveys and imagery solutions.

Dr. John P. Sullins
Chair of Philosophy, Sonoma State University

Dr. Sullins specializes in the philosophy of technology, philosophical issues of artificial intelligence/robotics, cognitive science, philosophy of science, engineering ethics, and computer ethics. He is involved in occasional industry consultation including some time spent at Xerox Palo Alto Research center. He is also Secretary and Treasurer of the Society for Philosophy and Technology

Michael Thompson
Assistant General Manager, Sonoma County Water Agency

Michael Thompson manages the maintenance of the Water Agency's water supply and transmission system, flood protection channels, and wastewater collection and treatment systems. Mr. Thompson, a registered civil engineer, has been with the Water Agency since 1995. He received a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and Master's degrees in civil engineering and administration from the University of California at Davis.

Dr. Farid Farahmand  
Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Science, Sonoma State University

Dr. Farahmand holds multiple international patents, numerous reference conference articles and journal publications, and several book chapters, on the subjects of wireless communications, optical networking, green networking, and delay tolerant networks. He has worked as a research scientist at Alcatel-Lucent Corporate Research and was involved in development of terabit optical routers. He is a member of IEEE, ASEE, and Engineers Without Borders-USA. He is also the director of Advanced Internet Technology in the Interests of Society Laboratory.

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Lisa Micheli
President and CEO, Pepperwood Preserve

Dr. Micheli has over 25 years experience applying her technical, policy, and fundraising expertise to the design and implementation of ecological restoration, research and education programs. She completed her graduate studies at UC Berkeley as a NASA Earth Systems Research Fellow in 2000 and now focuses her research on relationships between watershed health and biodiversity. She is the co-chair of the Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3), a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Bay Area climate adaptation research initiative. She joined Sonoma County’s Pepperwood Foundation in October of 2009.

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Sean Headrick
CEO and Founder of Aerotestra 

Sean started Aerotestra in 2012, and is proud to be an advocate for and contributor to the exciting robotics evolution we are experiencing today. His mission with Aerotestra is to design, engineer, and manufacture the highest quality and best performing small unmanned aircraft available for commercial applications,. While exploring a world of possibilities, Sean is focused on building robust, reliable, application specific platforms, initially in GIS and land survey applications

Other Attending Organizations


Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions

How many people are expected to attend this year’s conference?

Approximately 240 business, nonprofit, and educational leaders are expected to attend the morning portion of this year’s conference. We expect a total of 12 speakers.  In the afternoon, over 30 students will present their work.  

Is there a fee for attending?

No, the conference is free. It is open on a first-come, first-serve basis to individuals and organizations that are actively involved in work that is relevant to the conference’s theme.

Who should attend the Nature!Tech Conference?

If you’re interested in the nexus of technology, education and the environment, this conference is for you, including:

  • COMPANIES whose products are used for environmental awareness and understanding
  • GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OR NON-PROFITS that use technology to advance environment understanding
  • FACULTY from all disciplines interested in technology and/or the environment
  • STUDENTS exploring careers that in technology and/or the environment
  • COMMUNITY MEMBERS who want to know more about exciting advances in technology and educationPast participants have included: 

How do I register?

Interested participants can register here. More than one person from each organization can attend. However, seating is limited and if we experience capacity constraints, we may ask organizations to limit the number of attendees.

Who is producing this conference?

This conference is being organized by the Sonoma State University Center for Environmental Inquiry with the generous support of Pacific Gas & Electric Company and the Green Music Center.  


Directions & Parking


Directions & Parking


Situated on the campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, the GMC entrance is off the Rohnert Park Expressway near the intersection of Petaluma Hill Road. From Highway 101, take the Rohnert Park Expressway exit. Drive east 2.2 miles to the Sonoma State University entrance on your right. Student volunteers and signs will guide you upon arrival.

Google Maps: Green Music Center



As you enter campus from Rohnert Park Expressway, there are multiple parking lots immediately to your right. Parking in Lots L, M, N and O is included with your registration for the event.  Student volunteers and signs will guide you upon arrival.