Live Online Q&A With CEO Mark Tercek

Have some burning questions for The Nature Conservancy’s CEO? Lucky you! Now’s your chance to ask them.

Join President and CEO Mark Tercek for a live Q&A on Wednesday, October 2 from 1 -2 p.m. EDT. He’ll be joined by moderator Juliet Eilperin, White House correspondent for the Washington Post. Whether you want to know how Mark went from Wall Street to become our CEO or simply what was on his summer reading list—you can get your questions answered here.

The Conservancy works in every state and in over 30 countries, so there’s a good chance our work to protect nature and help people touches down close to you. You have a stake in the lands and waters you love, and Mark wants to hear from you. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to weigh in on the environmental challenges and opportunities ahead.

Head on over to livestream on October 2 to join the Q&A.

It’s never too early to submit your questions! You can email questions in advance to, post your question as a comment below, or via Twitter at #AskMarkT

What do you want to ask Mark?

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. Conservation is an issue that impacts the entire globe.. Which part of the world keeps you up at night?

  2. The most serious threat to the world’s environmental quality is population growth, yet most environmental organizations do not make any effort on this issue. Why is that?

    1. I think that most will agree that overpopulation will ruin our civilization.
      From a practical point of view I am in agreement with groups that encourage households to produce two children maximum. Logic suggests that over time this will reduce the population of the world to a reasonable number.
      I would love to see an international movement that rewards families that produce no more that two children. Additional incentives for people who have one child, and even greater incentives for people who don’t have any children should also be considered. To me, allowing additional tax exemptions for families with more than two children is counterproductive. Tax exemptions or cash rewards to those who have Vasectomies and Tubal ligations makes much more sense.
      The U.S. could set a good example to the rest of the world by introducing common sense methods of population reduction, but in the end it will take an international effort to accomplish this. I hope that we don’t wait until it is too late.
      And then, of course, there is the gene pool to consider…sooo complicated!

  3. I was eating cereal when I looked at this Q&A, a breakfast with local honey in it and in my coffee as well. I don’t want to ever live without honey, and I want to know what the livelihood of bees will be in the years to come. What steps does TNC take to help understand and reverse the population decline of these vital creatures?

  4. Since we have not abated fossil fuel emissions, it has become clear that there is a dire need for climate change adaptation to help communities prepare for the future. How is TNC restructuring itself to better incorporate an uncertain future?

  5. From your blog I see that you are focused on the American continent, particularly the U.S. I know The Nature Conservancy works on a global scale but do you focus on the Americas because the majority of your donors are U.S citizens or because the majority of your work is focused on the American continent?

  6. How can we encourage companies to make sustainable production decisions and customers to build environmentally sound purchasing habits in the capitalist system that is so driven by income constraints and profit seeking behavior?

  7. Can you explain the name for your book, Nature’s Fortune? How did you arrive at that title?

  8. While there are many conservation issues that impact our world, which issue do you think if TNC were to take on headfirst, would we be able to see results and make the most significance?

  9. Dear Mark,

    How many books do you read a year? How many of those books are nature inspired and what are some of your favorite news sources for environmental related news?



  10. The Obama administration just announced that it was going to move ahead with the first federal carbon limits on power companies. What are your thoughts around these new limits and how they will affect conservation?

  11. What is the conservation success you are most proud of?

  12. Back on October 12, 2004, a deal between The your organization, The United States, and Jamaica for preservation/conservation was agreed to,(

    If you are not aware of the situation in Jamaica they are eyeing the Portland Bight Protected Area (PBPA)for a massive Trans shipping port to be built on the Goat Islands by CHEC. A Laptop study of the impact is due out by months end (Sept. 1013),(by Conrad Douglas & Assoc.)

    JET (Jamaica Environment Trust) & C-CAM (Caribbean Coastal Area Management) have been charged with looking after the biodiversity of the area under the programs set up in part by the agreement the Nature Conservancy & USA signed for debt reduction & the grants made available to them from you.

    We are very concerned about the area as there are 20 endangered species within the PBPA (fixed land, air and marine life). One of these animals is on the Critically Endangered species list, the Jamaican Iguana.

    We have been trying to put pressure on Jamaican officials as well as CHEC to look elsewhere and leave the protected areas alone. Our stand has always been responsible sustainable economic growth for the people of Jamaica. This project is anything but responsible, and will destroy the biodiversity of the area. As you may very well know that some of these species are found nowhere on the face of the earth, but in this region.

    We are asking for your help in our efforts to save this area. Any assistance would be a blessing.

    On behalf of the species,
    Thank You for your time.

    Steven G. Smith
    NO! to the Port Goat Island/PBPA, Jamaica
    Campaign Organizer

  13. I just saw on Facebook that TNC is planning on merging with Rare, can you talk about what that means for TNC?

  14. Why can you justify your pay rate and that of senior NC mgmt when you could be hiring a lot more scientists, interns, and college-level activists to get the word out instead of Exxon-like salaries? You aren’t an oil company????

  15. Have you read SUPPLY SHOCK:Economic Growth at the Crossroads and the Steady State Solution, by Brian Czech, the head of CASSE(Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy).
    If so,what do you think of it? Are David Susuki, E.O. Wilson,
    et al,from this organization, on a constructive track?

  16. What are you doing toward stopping fracking? It would be nice if the national legislature would address the problem but most members are rich (and can afford all the bottles water they need) and many are elderly (and see it as something the next generation can deal with). Many refuse to accept that fracking is a problem at all. The government won’t act. Where is the national referendum to stop fracking? Or a state by state referendum banning fracking forever. Without clean water, with poisoned aquifers, this country becomes a poisoned and unlivable disaster area.

  17. Is TNC still sending staff out to trap and kill species such as turtles – to “prove that they exist (in that area)? ” What scientific rationalization was used then for killing them and if continuing with like-mindless endeavors, what ethical justification is offered now?

  18. Hello Mark. I was very interested to read about our strategic merger with Rare. Can you tell us about any specific new conservation goals you and the board of directors expect The Nature Conservancy to achieve over the next few years as a result?

    1. The information we have now includes several strong broad goals, such as revitalizing ocean conservation, and I’d love to learn about any specific projects or goals that TNC/Rare have in mind.

  19. The Nature Conservancy has always carefully distinguished itself from environmental organizations using different strategies (for instance, lawsuits) or having standards that are not strictly science-based. My legacy gift to TNC was based on the assumption that this would continue. It seems to me that your merger with the group called “rare” (apparently with no capital, and no additional words, making its very identity completely confusing) seems to present many possible conflicts of interest. I need to have a thorough understanding of this merger before I make decisions about my will and beneficiary designations. In particular, “rare” seems to be based on using marketing-research technology (which I despise when used by corporations to manipulate us into buying their products) to promote environmental behavior changes that are determined not by “rare,” but by those it collaborates with. There seems to be no guarantee that these decisions are science-driven. This might not be a problem if it were only a matter of partnership with “rare” on individual (and perhaps “rare”) projects. But an actual merger clearly dilutes the culture of the NC with one that is not science-based. In particular, one of the reasons that the NC distinguishes itself from other strategies (even if those are valid in their own right) is to encourage trust, so that a rancher, for instance, will not fear being sued after revealing the details of his operations. Why would the same rancher not fear that a marketing campaign would be put in place through the “rare” side of TNC that would change attitudes towards his operation? Why would that fear not affect the ability of TNC to cooperate with that rancher in upgrading his environmental sustainability?

    I know you cannot answer this question in any detail in your program, and I will not be able to watch your program unless it is available as a podcast or streaming after it is given in real time. If you or someone else at TNC could answer my question by email, I would greatly appreciate it. I will also take it up with my regular contacts in the Iowa and Wyoming offices of TNC, but they will probably not know very much.

  20. The Smithsonian Institute just came out with a strong stance against Feral Cats and Free Roaming House Cats, and I give them standing applause for that.
    The Audubon Society(Protector of Birds)has never come out with any sort of strong campaign to rid the environment of bird killing felines. They prefer to leave this problem up to local chapters vulnerable to the ire of cat fanatics. Mr. Audubon is turning in his grave at their lack of effort!
    I can understand why Audubon and other environmental groups hesitate. To come out against free roaming cats they expose themselves to the wrath of the cat loving lobby.
    I would like to see all environmental groups combine forces to produce a strong National policy that rids the land of this non native pest.
    If a broad effort is made by all of those groups the radical cat lovers will find it much more difficult to use their feeble arguments. There will be strength in numbers and maybe when the cat lobby sees that all environmental groups are opposed to free roaming cats then maybe , just maybe, they will see the light!
    Anybody who has visited any of the established “Cat Colonies ” will see that they are, for the most part, depressing and desolate dead zones. The only life that I see there are the cats waiting to be fed by the well meaning but short sighted cat lovers.
    They think that sterilization is a solution but it solves nothing! Following sterilization the cats will still live for many years and continue to torture and murder our birds.
    I cringe each time I hear a naïve cat lover tell me that ” Well, cats have to eat too!” Are they that blind that they can’t see that cats are a non native species destroying native species!
    The days of that cute image of the cat looking up at the bird cage must come to an end.
    I urge the Nature Conservancy to explore the possibility of putting together a National Coalition of environmental groups that can solve the problem of free roaming cats.

    1. I totally disagree with Mr. Lazar’s comment! In fact, I have stopped donating to ALL conservation groups because of their “witch hunt” against free roaming cats. As these organizations become increasingly political, the science behind their actions disappears, and I fear the Nature Conservancy’s merger with “rare” will only accelerate this trend.

      The very first sentence of the widely publicized Smithsonian/U.S. Fish and Wildlife sponsored article (The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States) depicts domestic cats as “among the 100 worst non-native invasive species in the world”; thereby exposing its bias. True science does not make value judgments. Science does not accuse NON-NATIVE predators of bird murder while glorifying native predators for the exact same behavior. If murdering birds is a crime, then the American bald eagle is also guilty and deserves the same treatment as free roaming cats.

      Conservation experts are conveniently vague about what makes a non-native species “invasive”. Honey bees are non-native to North America, but conservationists just love them. Rats and the common house mouse are also non-native, and free roaming cats help control their populations in urban/suburban ecosystems. Cats also kill many non-native birds such as sparrows and starling that compete with native species for resources.

      In fact, the Smithsonian/U.S. Fish and Wildlife article presented absolutely no evidence at all proving that free roaming cats have a net negative impact on American ecosystems; only that they kill a lot of birds… Anyone who ever watched a Tweetie Bird cartoon knows that! That is not science; it’s propaganda.

      1. Sorry! I misunderstood the format, and was trying to reply to George Lazar’s cat comment. Now I realize I was supposed to ask a question, and that you’ll make the reply……So where do you stand on the free roaming cat controversy?

  21. …where do you stand on the XL pipeline..i live in semmes, alabama right around the corner from a piece of pipeline that our community is fighting against because it goes through mobile, alabama’s only source for drinking water, Big Creek Lake…i had heard that TNC was not fighting hard enough to protect wetlands and other sensitive areas…

  22. High Mark,
    There are two questions:
    1. Is there Response from the environment to Prayer?
    2. What is the prognosis of the primary atomosphere of
    Thank you & I would love to be at work with The Nature
    Sincerely, Maria Stenger

  23. In Indonesia we have 8 attribute
    a. Green planning and design
    b. Green open space
    c. Green energy
    f. Green transporattion
    g. Green waste
    h. Green building
    i. Green commuinity
    That is the way to reach Green City Plan
    Thank you

    Nanang Setiawan Soetrisno

  24. Environmental and animal organizations should make the connection between population explosion (in USA is more than 300 million and the whole world is almost 7 billion people) and destruction of the environment and deterioration of quality of life. The population explosion is growing exponentially. It’s the reason for global warming and in the future, scarcity of natural resources. We must be careful to elect representatives that are aware of this issue (population explosion), have the backbone to bring it to the forefront and make common sense decisions.

  25. please give details regarding the following questains during on line q-a programme
    1.What are the efforts to reduce Co2 emissions which are considered a cause of global warming ?
    2.In India many companies not attempting to quantify and report their CO2 emission reductions made through offering energy saving and Eco friendly product and low carbon service
    – Command.
    3.What are the different types of resource conservation technology?

  26. The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has been hailed by some as the “watershed” moment in the world’s history in regard to reversing the damage done by centuries of dependence on harmful, nonsustainable sources of energy such as gas and oil, and moving in the right direction by putting our money and other resources into clean, sustainable sources of energy. What are we going to do if President Obama does not stop the pipeline as he said he would do? (He said he would stop it if it would damage the environment and everyone knows that it would.)

  27. i am a scientist who has followed the science and risks from climate change and am very concerned. however i am also pragmatic. How will we realistically and drastically reduce our GHG emissions. Please just do not say – more wind and solar. we need real change and R&D breakthrus – how will this get funded? thanks.

  28. This year the monarch migration did not happen on the east coast. Some say it’s because of the logging that took place last year in Mexico, some say it’s because of the prior drought in Texas. Both are of great concern. But when I heard the United States milkweed feeding grounds were killed off by the spraying of pesticides on the corn and soy fields, I became outraged. Perhaps we all need to reread Rachael Carson’s “Silent Spring”! And perhaps we all need to watch King Korn… If possible, what plans do we have to recapture this natural wonder?

  29. From an Indian perspective, With explosive population growth rate ,scarecely available drinking water systems, unending apetite for industrialisations on banks of major rivers In India like Ganga ,Godavari, Brahamputra,What steps can be envisaged for conservancy of water sources and making the governments of the land responsible,

  30. Dear Mark,

    Will your team be sending out a link to a replay of today’s webinar for those of us who may not be able to attend?

    Thanks for all you do to conserve our natural world. I’m just finishing your book, Nature’s Fortune, and it’s right on!


    1. Hi Rebecca, yes! We plan in recording the Livestream today so that folks can listen afterwards. Thanks for your interest!
      -Madeline, editor of Conservancy Talk

  31. Hi Maddy,
    Hope all’s well! I’ll tune in after the livestream, but hope that Mark will tell us more about the merger with Rare. Exciting stuff!

    1. Hello Shannon! Yes, we’ve received a few questions about the merger with Rare, which Mark plans on addressing. Thanks!

  32. Dear Mark,
    The Nature Conservancy has done amazing things in Oklahoma with the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. That area is the only part of the state that has any substantial populations of Greater Prairie Chickens. Are there any plans to acquire land in the northwestern part of the state to help preserve the imperiled Lesser Prairie Chicken?

  33. Hi Mark,
    What do you know about the properties of rhino horn which convinces purchasers it is worth buying? From my experience and abundant research articles I think diet and probiotic bacteria can treat many chronic conditions. How else can the senseless slaughter of rhinos, elephants, etc. be stopped?
    Thanks for your work,

  34. I’m a long-time life member of TNC. I remember in the early days (1980’s in my case) that the TNC often fundraised by highlighting specific project sites/properties that required funding by a certain date and/or could be supported by directed donation. I often responded well to this approach as it seemed that the donation directly influenced a specific project. I don’t see that approach as much anymore, though I believe it can be effective. Will we see more of this fundraising approach in the future?

    Thank you

  35. Hello Shannon Crownover, I was just curious how life as been after the Silver Anvil? What did you learn as a result after winning this award, and also what did you think about the winning campaign? What do you think you did right? Sorry for all the questions I am just very intrigued.

    Joshua D’Ariano

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