EcoHour Speaker Series

EcoHour is an intimate speaker engagement each month, where a successful woman in the environmental field discusses her job and offers career advice. EcoHour takes place from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month (except for August and December) at Teaism Penn Quarter in Washington, DC. * Please note that EcoHours are open to all women, including members of the LGBTQ community and gender fluid individuals.

Recent EcoHours:

  • Juanita Constible, NRDC – November 2019
  • Astrid Caldas, Union of Concerned Scientists – October 2019
  • Danielle Deane-Ryan, Nathan Cummings Foundation – September 2019
  • Leigh Zimmermann, Consortium for Ocean Leadership –  July 2019
  • Megan Springate, National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Division – June 2019 
  • Grace Manubay, Earth DC Office of the State Superintendant of Education – May 2019 
  • Kathleen Rogers, Earth Day Network  – April 2019 
  • Vicky Kiechel, American University and Cadmus Group – March 2019 
  • Stephanie Ritchie, University of Maryland – February 2019 
  • Amy Hellman, Neiman Collaborative – January 2019 


Juanita Constible; November 2019

Natural Resources Defense Council

We’re live at #EcoHour! Juanita Constible, Senior Advocate, Climate and Health at the NRDC shares her experience advocating for strong federal and state action to cut carbon pollution and protect communities from climate change.

Posted by DC EcoWomen on Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Juanita Constible is a former wildlife biologist turned climate advocate. She currently works at the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she helps advance state and federal policies to cut carbon pollution and protect communities from the present-day harms of climate disruption. Juanita is particularly focused on ensuring that workers and our public health and health care systems are prepared for rising temperatures and more extreme weather. Prior to joining NRDC, Juanita oversaw the science and solutions department at the Climate Reality Project and later served as an adviser to the Climate Action Campaign. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from the University of Victoria in Canada, and a climate change and health certificate from the Yale School of Public Health.

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Astrid Caldas; October 2019

Union of Concerned Scientists

Astrid Caldas is a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, working on climate change adaptation, science communication, and equitable and just adaptation and resilience measures. She moved from Brazil to the US in 1996, and realized that science-informed policies were needed for better, equitable climate adaptation and resilience. She left academia to bring word of the science behind climate change impacts to elected officials, policy makers, town halls, radio shows, student panels, retirement homes, faith communities, and anything in between. Astrid holds degrees in Entomology, Ecology and Environmental Management. She tweets under the handle @climategeek.

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Danielle Deane-Ryan; September 2019

Nathan Cummings Foundation

Danielle Deane-Ryan has more than two decades of multi-sector experience leading innovation in the clean energy and climate change sectors through her innovative work shaping advocacy and communications strategies while integrating equity and inclusion, directing strategic philanthropic investments and boosting meaningful stakeholder engagement. Most recently, Danielle served in the Obama Administration as senior advisor for external affairs and acting director for stakeholder engagement at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), communicating the impact of the historic impact of the Obama Administration’s investments.

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Leigh Zimmermann; July 2019

Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Leigh joined the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in early 2008 and is now the Senior Program Manger for the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) leading the peer review, grant administration, post-award science management, and communications and outreach efforts. Leigh is also Assistant Director for the Research and Education Department. Previously, Leigh worked as an Outreach Coordinator for START, a non-profit organization aimed at raising public awareness of harmful algal blooms in southwest Florida, and as a Sea Grant Fellow with NOAA’s Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research in Silver Spring, MD. She received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She loved living in a beach town so much that she decided to stay and complete her M.S. in Marine Science, where she researched phytoplankton ecology. Although she no longer wears flip flops year-round, Leigh still tries to be in or on the water (ocean, river, lake, pool, puddle) as much as possible.

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Megan Springate; June 2019

National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Division

Megan Springate works for the National Park Service in the Cultural Resources Office of Interpretation and Education. She currently serves as the NPS National Coordinator for the 19th Amendment Centennial Commemoration, working across the National Park Service to recognize the complex histories of women’s rights to vote. She edited the theme study, LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History for the National Park Foundation and the National Park Service. Released in 2016, it provides a national framework for identifying, evaluating, and understanding LGBTQ historic places across the country. She is an historical archaeologist by training, and received her PhD in 2017.


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Grace Manubay; May 2019 

Earth DC Office of the State Superintendant of Education

As an environmental educator for over 15 years, she previously served as an Environmental Protection Specialist with the DC Department of Energy and the Environment, where she coordinated the development of the environmental literacy plan and managed approximately $1.72 M in environmental education grants.  She has also worked with environmental nonprofits, DC Public Library, and at the District’s Aquatic Resources Education Center, and has held leadership positions with the DC Environmental Education Consortium. In 2012, Grace received the Marcia Sward Environmental Education Award from the Audubon Naturalist Society, and has been a finalist for the Cafritz Award for DC Government Employees in 2016 and 2017. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Rochester and an M.S. in Natural Resources, with a concentration in Environmental Education, from the University of Michigan.

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Kathleen Rogers; April 2019 

Earth Day Network

Kathleen has developed Earth Day Network into a year-round policy and activist organization. Now more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day in 192 countries. Kathleen has been at the vanguard of developing innovative financial mechanisms to support green buildings and schools. Kathleen also founded Earth Day Network’s groundbreaking Billion Acts of Green program, which has now recorded close to 3 billion individual actions to improve the environment. She is a frequent commentator on environmental issues in the media and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and NPR, as well as in Time Magazine, The Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times and many other international and national newspapers and journals. Prior to her work at Earth Day Network, Kathleen held senior positions with the National Audubon Society, the Environmental Law Institute, and two U.S. Olympic Organizing Committees. As Chief Wildlife Counsel for the National Audubon Society, she oversaw international trade, migratory species, and biodiversity programs, and was responsible for bringing the first citizen complaint before the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, the tri-national agency created to oversee North American environmental issues. She is a graduate of the University of California at Davis School of Law, where she served as editor-in-chief of the law review and clerked in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

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Vicky Keichel; March 2019 

American University and Cadmus Group

Vicky has over 25 years of architectural practice, teaching, and research and seeks to activate social change to improve the well being of all. She serves as architect to people and institutions in need of affordable sustainable design and teaches sustainable design and urbanism in the Global Environmental Politics program at American University’s School of International Service in Washington, DC where she was the inaugural recipient of the university’s “Most Innovative Green Teacher of the Year” award.  She is also a faculty mentor for New York University – Washington, DC’s summer Global Research Initiative. She has consulted for the Cadmus Group, LLC, since 2008, enabling the creation of high-performing new and existing buildings, cities, and the policies that support them and worked on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program and the State of Wisconsin’s Travel Green Wisconsin project. Vicky has worked with the U.S. Green Building Council in the development of LEED v3 and helped develop the Smithsonian Institution’s sustainability initiatives between 2009 and 2012. She has been the principal author of studies for clients such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, the National Fenestration Rating Council, Arlington County, Virginia, and the Electric Power Research Institute and created and executed  training for State of Arkansas energy managers.

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Stephanie Ritchie; February 2019 

University of Maryland

Stephanie Ritchie has worked in agriculture at the farm and government level, and in libraries for over twenty years. Currently, she is a faculty librarian at the University of Maryland serving as the liaison to the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. As such, she supports the research information needs of faculty, staff and students, and manages the University of Maryland collections in agriculture and related disciplines. Prior to joining the University of Maryland in May 2016, she was a librarian in the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC) at the National Agricultural Library (NAL), specializing in sustainable agriculture and small-scale farming information for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Opportunities to work on the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, Organic Working Group, New Farmers website were highlights of her time at NAL. She started her career at NAL while earning a Master of Library Science degree at the University of Maryland. This followed an undergraduate degree in environmental studies from Macalester College, where she was first introduced to sustainable agriculture. She followed her interest in the field, literally, as an apprentice on a collection of small organic farms in her home state of Minnesota and hoped to start a farm, but found herself drawn to a library career based on a reading habit and a love of library work. Happily, she is able to indulge both passions at the same time.

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Ame Hellman; January 2019 

Neiman Collaborative

A lawyer by training, Ame is a passionate and lifelong conservationist with over 20 years of experience in leadership roles with national conservation organizations. Over the span of her career, she has worked with cross-functional teams on organizational strategic plans, fundraising planning and building effective major and principal gift programs. She began her career as a land conservation attorney but pivoted to fundraising and leadership as the State Director at The Nature Conservancy. Ame grew the Nevada program from 7 to 28 staff, transformed the board into a “fundraising board” and tripled the chapter’s revenue. She also worked with coalition partners to pass the 2002 Question 1 ballot initiative, a $200M land and water protection act that was the largest conservation bond measure in Nevada’s history. Over the past 14 years, Ame has dedicated her career to conservation philanthropy at national organizations based in Washington, D.C. She raised $20M at WWF in a rapid two-year strategy launch campaign to support the organization’s strategic vision. As the Vice President of Philanthropy at The Wilderness Society, she tripled the number of major and principal gift donors and revenue, including the launch of a successful Leadership Initiative campaign that raised $40M. Most recently she served as Chief Philanthropy Officer for the National Park Foundation, helping the foundation meet its goal of $500M for the Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks and build out its first regional major gifts team.

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