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Meet our July 2022 Cohort of Community Leads

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Thriving Earth Exchange is pleased to announce our July 2022 cohort of Community Leads! They will work with Community Science Fellows to launch 16 community science projects. Stay tuned for more information about the impactful projects to come from this launch and the communities who lead and inspire them!

Adel, Georgia: Concerned Citizens of Cook County

Dr. Treva Gear is the founder and chair of the Concerned Citizens of Cook County, a community grassroots organization in Adel, Georgia. She is an Army veteran, an educator, and a community organizer. She believes in being the change that she wants to see in the world and doesn’t mind “getting into good trouble.” Dr. Gear holds a doctorate in Adult and Career Education from Valdosta State University.

Anchorage, Alaska: Yukon River Intertribal Watershed Council

Dr. Edda Mutter is the Science Director with the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) where she oversees the Indigenous Observation Network, a community science program focused on water quality and active layer monitoring spanning the Yukon River Watershed. Edda hopes that work being done throughout the Yukon River Watershed will establish pathways to enhance Indigenous water governance for Alaska Tribes and First Nations. Ideally these pathways would lead to securing Indigenous water rights embedded in a truly holistic water co-management approach with state, federal, and provincial governments.

Baltimore, Maryland: Residents Against the Tunnels

Kathyrn Epple is the past president and a current Board member of Residents Against the Tunnels (RATT), a grass roots group that formed to fight four new train tunnels being bored under historic rowhouses in West Baltimore. The group is concerned about danger to people from massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs) and hazardous freight that will be transported under their homes. Kathryn is a retired government employee with experience in the fields of Mathematics and Software Development/Security. She has lived in Baltimore for more than 35 years.

A California native, Laura M. Amlie has lived in Reservoir Hill in Baltimore City for 43 years. While her community faces a lot of challenges, Laura is convinced that the B&P Tunnel Project is one of the most destructive and dangerous sources of irreversible damage to come their way. She believes that this egregious literal ‘undermining’ and ‘railroading’ of poor communities for corporate greed is exactly why Environmental Justice Laws were created.

The Black Belt of Alabama

Dr. Robert White

Bunkers Hill, Jamaica

Andrine Adlam

Donovan Haughton

Corpus Christi, Texas: Indigenous People of the Coastal Bend

Dorothy Peña is the Community Outreach coordinator for Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend, in so called Corpus Christi, Texas, and volunteers with The South Texas Human Rights Center and a grassroots organization For the Greater Good. Each organization works hard for environmental and social justice for the Coastal bend area. She interned at Ampersand Sustainable Learning Center to focus on rainwater harvesting, high desert gardening, and building with Earth. She hopes to implement this knowledge for her community and the preservation of the Earth.

Melissa Zamora has been an environmental activist and social justice advocate for the last 15 years in her home town of Corpus Christi, Texas. She is a mother, a grad student, an urban gardener, certified master composter, as well as a Mexica danzante as part of Kalpulli Ehekatl Papalotzin. She serves as a member of two grassroots organizations that continue to fight for social and environmental progress in her local area: For the Greater Good and The Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend. Melissa has earned degrees in biology and environmental science. She is currently working on a master’s of science degree in education for her love of the Earth and passion for teaching young ones how to connect with the natural world. Melissa is on a mission to help her community thrive, along with helping to preserve and advocate for the last remaining ecosystems in the Coastal Bend Region of South Texas.

Houston, Texas: West Street Recovery

Becky Selle (she/they) is a co-founder of West Street Recovery, a horizontally-structured, grassroots Disaster Recovery and Environmental Justice organization. She’s a queer organizer focused on building just and equitable society through community action grounded in popular education, racial justice, democratic decision making, inclusion, relationship with nature, and abolition. At West Street Becky co-leads the Disaster Prep, Organizing, Research, and Home Repair programs.

Lucerne Valley, California: Mojave Water Agency

Wesley Massoll is a father, a husband, and an enthusiastic participant in this crazy thing we all call life. He is both humbled and fueled by all the opportunities he is presented to use his training and experience to better the communities he serves.

New Castle County and Sussex County, Delaware

Catherine Damavandi

New Haven, Connecticut: 10,000 Hawks

Rachel Heerema (she/her) is a nonprofit development consultant, herbalist, and master gardener. Ever since she won a red ribbon for her potatoes in the 4-H county fair competition, she’s been full of wonder about the magic of nature and an Earth advocate. Rachel is the founder of 10,000 Hawks, an empowered group of neighbors, professionals, and organizational allies who collaborate on research, action, and education to address public health and ecological issues in support of the land and all future generations.

Pascagoula, Mississippi: Cherokee Concerned Citizens

Barbara Weckesser is resident of the industrial fenceline community of Cherokee subdivision in Pascagoula, MS and the founder of Cherokee Concerned Citizens. She founded the organization to work together with her neighbors to remove them from this toxic environment.

Jennifer Crosslin is a life long resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and community organizer working to create a more equitable, safe, and sustainable Gulf Coast. She joined the Cherokee Concerned Citizens to provide organizing support to the residents of Cherokee subdivision in Pascagoula, MS in their efforts to protect their health and wellbeing against industrial pollution.

Santa Cruz, California

Emily Coren is a science communicator affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University where she has been working to adapt entertainment-education strategies for health promotion and social change to create more effective climate communication. She has a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and is a certified professional Science Illustrator. She has worked in science communication for 15 years, contributing to collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History and developing educational content for children’s films. Over the last six years, her work has led to new methods in developing frameworks at a national level, connecting community-led experiences to federal, local, and non-profit sector programs for climate change communication. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Krista Myers (she/her) is a project manager and climate activist in Santa Cruz, CA. Krista has travelled to Antarctica 6 times to maintain long term climate records. Her Thriving Earth Exchange project will focus on using ArcGIS Online to share local climate actions through an interactive web map display.

Sawyers, Jamaica

Caresa Johnson-Frater

Shaun Green

South Tacoma, Washington

Heidi Stephens has volunteered for a variety of causes, both oversees and locally. Her focus is currently on preserving a threatened wetland/watershed, protecting and improving the environment within an overburdened community.

Tim Smith is a long-time social justice and environmental activist.

Southern Mexico: TierraCamp

Bernie A. Bastien-Olvera is a science communicator, co-founder of Planeteando, and a PhD in Geography focused on the economics of ecosystems under climate change. In addition, he is a postdoctoral fellow at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a National Geographic Explorer.

Fernanda Rodríguez Blanco is a biologist with experience in science communication and non-formal education through nature exploration. Currently, she works as a co-organizer and workshop facilitator at TierraCamp.

Originally form Mexico City, Raiza Pilatowsky Gruner is the co-founder and executive director of Estudios Planeteando, an environmental communication platform in Spanish. She has a M. Sc. in Environment and Sustainable Development from the University College London and a Bachelor’s in Earth Science from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. With Planeteando, she develops digital media such as podcasts, video blogs, social media content, among others.

Blake McGhghy subscriber

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