The leaders of the Nature Needs Half movement are building international enthusiasm to protect 50% of wild nature by 2030. Representing diverse backgrounds, expertise, and skill sets, they share a common belief in building a healthy and respectful connection between society and nature. Since 2017, they have fostered collaborative networks that expand the potential for collective impact, knitting together the coordination necessary to effectively and sustainably defend our wild home.

Photo by Dane Deaner.
Nature Needs Half is guided by a Steering Committee composed of diverse, globally-focused groups and experts that meet annually in person and monthly on conference calls. The Chair of the Steering Committee is a position rotated through the participants.

Swati Hingorani

Chair of Steering Committee, International Union for Conservation of Nature

Swati facilitates the participation of governments in the global restoration target, the Bonn Challenge, at the IUCN and supports the development of the Global Mangrove Alliance and the IUCN's presence at global climate and biodiversity negotiations. In her previous role at the Wildlife Conservation Trust in India, she helped organize inter-governmental consultations on trans-boundary ecosystems. She was the Assistant Editor of Sanctuary Asia for five years, where she piloted an India-Pakistan initiative to declare the Siachen Glacier a trans-boundary peace park and managed a series of national-level roundtables on tiger conservation.


Randy Hayes

Founder of Foundation Earth

Randy has been described in the Wall Street Journal as “an environmental pit bull.” He is Executive Director at Foundation Earth, a new organization rethinking a human order that works within the planet’s life support systems. He is a special advisor to the World Future Council.


Harvey Locke

Free-range conservationist

Harvey is a conservationist, writer, and photographer, and worked closely with First Light Films on Wild Ways. He is a recognized global leader in the field of large landscape conservation. He is a founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and of the Nature Needs Half. Harvey was named one of Canada’s leaders for the 21st century by Time Magazine and is a recipient of the IUCN’s Fred M. Packard International Parks Merit Award for outstanding service to the world's protected areas.


Carly Vynne

NNH Steering Committee Coordinator

Carly Vynne, PhD, is principal consultant at Osprey Insights and a Strategic Partner at RESOLVE. She has overseen conservation planning processes in Asia, Africa, and South America, and recently established several public-private partnerships to create impactful conservation programs across the western United States and arctic Alaska. She manages the Quick Response Biodiversity Fund, and is helping to develop other creative solutions for nature in a rapidly changing world.


Don Weeden

The Weeden Foundation

Don is the Executive Director of the Weeden Foundation, which supports a wide range of programs that aim to preserve biodiversity, nationally and internationally. The Foundation funded the first Debt-for-Nature Swap, creating the Beni Biosphere Reserve in Bolivia and has helped preserve more than 6,000,000 acres of biologically important habitat worldwide. Don is co-founder of the Quick Response Biodiversity Fund, a grant making mechanism for critical habitat acquisitions worldwide that is a project of the Nature Needs Half Network. He is co-chair of International grant making at the Biodiversity Funder Group.


James Brundige

First Light Films

James is a director, cinematographer, and founder of First Light Films, which specializes in producing science-based environmental films to leverage social change. He has garnered numerous awards in thirty five years working on more than one hundred films for PBS, BBC, TBS, Discovery, ABC, CBS, NBC, and National Geographic Television.


Tanya Birch

Google Earth

Tanya is a Program Manager at Google Earth Outreach, which uses Google’s mapping technology and cloud platform for public benefit applications. Prior to Google, she researched and mapped human elephant conflict with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society. At Google, she established the Geo Grants program delivering enterprise mapping software for free to over 6000 nonprofit organizations and leads Geo for Good’s Conservation-related efforts (one example project is Street View of Elephants).


Vance Martin

The WILD Foundation

Vance joined WILD as president in 1984 after 15 years in international business and non-profit management. An innovative leader known for bridging the interests of people and nature, he is an acknowledged expert in international nature conservation and wilderness protection and is the founder and current co-chairman of the IUCN Wilderness Specialist Group. For more information about Vance, please visit his  wikipedia page .


Eric Dinerstein

Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program, RESOLVE

Dr. Eric Dinerstein brings more than four decade’s hands-on experience saving endangered large mammals and tropical rainforest habitat to the Nature Needs Half Network. In partnership with the Weedon Foundation, Eric established the Biodiversity Quick Response Fund, an innovative funding solution that provides urgent protections to endangered species in developing countries.  From 1990 to 2014, Eric was the Chief Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund. Currently, he is the founder and director of the Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program at RESOLVE.


Julie Cajune

Salish Educator

Julie Cajune is a citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. She has been fortunate to have grown up and worked in the homeland of her Salish ancestors and relatives. This is the land that holds her affection. Julie has been able to serve her community as a teacher and school administrator. She has worked for her nation’s Education Department as a curriculum specialist and at Salish Kootenai College as adjunct faculty. Building on the activism and work of generations of American Indian people, she has produced Native history materials in film, text, multimedia, and theater. In her personal life, she is a mother and a yaya (grandmother) of three remarkable boys. She continues to live in the landscape that has cared for her all of her life.

Julie Cajune


Stuart Pimm

Biologist and Theoretical Ecologist

Barbara Zimmerman

The Kayapo Project, Director

Cyril Kormos

Wild Heritage, Executive Director

Prof. Dan Laffoley

IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas, Marine Vice Chair

Erle C. Ellis

Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems

Gary M. Tabor

Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Executive Director

Juan Pablo Orrego Silva

Ecosistemas, President

Julie Cajune

Citizen of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Karl Wagner

Realizing Visions, Environmental Consultant

Dr. Sylvia Earle

National Geographic Society, Explorer in Residence Mission Blue, Founder, and Resident Nature Needs Half Mermaid

Karl Burkart

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Director of Media & Technology

Keith Tuffley

NEUW Ventures, CEO

Leslie Moyer

Independent Nonprofit Communications & Marketing Consultant

Linus Blomqvist

Breakthrough Institute, Conservation Program Director

Dr. Magnus Sylvén

The Wild Foundation, Consultant

Mike Phillips

Turner Endangered Species Fund, Executive Director Montana State Senator District 31

Oscar Moctezuma Orozco

Naturalia, A.C., Founding Director

Peter Cairns

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture, Director

Staffan Widstrand

Wild Wonders International, Managing Director and Photographer

Thomas Lovejoy

University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

Steve Michelson

Lobitos Creek Ranch, Executive Producer

Dr. Andrew Muir

Wilderness Foundation Global & Wilderness Foundation Africa, CEO

Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff

Global Center for Indigenous Leadership and Lifeways, President

Bob Debus

Former Minister for Environment & Attorney General in the Australian New South Wales

Bittu Sahgal

Sanctuary Nature Foundation of Sanctuary Asia, Founder & Editor

John Waithaka

IUCN Wilderness Specialist Group, Co-Chair

Reed F. Noss

Florida Institute for Conservation Science, Ph.D.

Eileen Crist

Department of Science, Technology, & Society, Associate Professor

Kristy Bly

World Wildlife Fund - Northern Great Plains Program, Senior Wildlife Conservation Biologist

Russell A. Mittermeier, Ph.D.

Global Wildlife Conservation, Chief Conservation Officer