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Accelerating Solutions - September 30th, 2023 - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

College of Charleston School of Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering, 202 Calhoun Street

The Conference is an opportunity for the global community of solutions creators, practitioners, and accelerators to exchange knowledge, experience, and best practices to strengthen community-driven solutions in the South Carolina Lowcountry and around the world. The conference includes a mainstage speaker series, themed short talk blocks, one-on-one mentorship sessions, and opportunities for networking.

Image by Ben Stern
The Hope Summit 2023 Conference Official Schedule.png


Morning Refreshments

8:30 - 9:30 AM -- Atrium

Mingle and network with your fellow conference attendees over a complimentary continental breakfast with hot beverages.

Welcome & Opening Remarks
9:00 - 9:45 AM -- Main Stage

Grey Gowder welcomes attendees to The Hope Summit 2023 Conference. Opening remarks by Conference Sponsor Mark Haver of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Mayor John Tecklenburg of the City of Charleston, and Dean Sebastian van Delden of the College of Charleston.

Building a Community of Stewards Through Citizen Science
10:00 - 10:45 AM -- Main Stage

A candid discussion on the importance of citizen science in conservation, education, and community resilience with an emphasis on the breadth of ways to engage community members.

Steve Fletcher (moderator); Heather Walbright (Surfrider - Charleston), Kellen Goodell (Charleston Parks Conservancy), Rick Crawford (Fly Fishing Climate Coalition)

Rural Communities: Opportunities & Challenges
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM -- Short Talks Room

A collection of short talks curated by Robby Maynor of the Coastal Conservation League focused on the challenges and opportunities facing rural communities and local community-led action. This panel discussion will feature speakers from across the Lowcountry who are actively working to protect, enhance, and celebrate the culture, character, and ecology of rural communities. Topics include improving rural wastewater infrastructure, supporting local agriculture, promoting appropriately scaled economic development opportunities, and celebrating community character and culture in the face of rapid development.

Building a Culture of Caring Through Storytelling and Education
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM -- Main Stage

A discussion on the power of storytelling and education to inspire regenerative change by connecting storytellers and experts with communities and partners.


Grey Gowder (moderator); Jamaal Lemon (Writer), Will Freund (Filmmaker), Judy Fairchild (Nature Walks With Judy)

Lunch Break
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Please enjoy a break from the Conference to visit a local restaurant or vendor at the Charleston Farmers Market on Marion Square.

Creating Community Agency Through Regenerative Governance
1:00 PM - 1:45 PM -- Main Stage

A candid discussion of how local governments and NGOs can more effectively engage citizens in planning and shaping their communities.


Andy Gowder (moderator); Faith Rivers James (Coastal Conservation League), Kathryn Basha (BCDCOG)

Local Systems Solutions
1:30 PM - 3:30 PM -- Short Talks Room

A curated series of short talks focused on intersectional localized action to promote reconciliation ecology for resilient communities.

Rebecca Fanning (Community Hydrology), David Manger (Roots & Shoots Nursery), Maria Kelly (Amor Healing Kitchen), Betsy LaForce (Green Mountain Technologies), Hannah Jane Dantzscher (Wake Refill), Belvin Olasov (Charleston Climate Coalition)

Young Voices for Change
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM -- Main Stage

Mark Haver of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance guides a panel of emerging young leaders in a discussion about the importance of emerging young leaders and young voices in shaping the future of our communities and our planet.


Mark Haver (moderator); Mikayla Mangle, Madison Martin, Jessona Gray

Ecosystem Restoration & Regenerative Management
3:00 PM - 3:45 PM -- Main Stage

This panel will explore the importance of specific ecosystems and species restoration and management projects in South Carolina and the ecological interconnection of each of these ecosystems or keystone species to the health of the others.

Rachel Hawes (moderator, Coastal Conservation League); Nolan Schillerstrom (Audubon South Carolina), Adam Bode (Slice of the Reef), Patrick Ma (Nature Conservancy)

Stan Rogers, Superintendent of Grays Reef National Marine Sanctuary -- Keynote Address
4:00 PM - 4:30 PM -- Main Stage

A vision of comprehensive systems-based management of coastal and marine ecosystems that embraces the dynamism of ecology and promotes the necessity for active participation by inland communities as much as by coastal communities in inclusive co-management and stewardship.

Closing Remarks
4:30 PM - 4:40 PM -- Main Stage

Closing remarks by Grey Gowder and an invitation to The Hope Summit 2024 Conference.

Our Sponsors

Image by David Martin
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