2009 EcoHour Speakers

January 2009; Dr. Nancy Knowlton

Sant Chair in Marine Science; Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science

Dr. Nancy Knowlton holds the Sant Chair in Marine Science at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Her research focuses on the ecology, evolution and conservation of coral reef organisms, and has taken her to the Caribbean, Brazil, the eastern Atlantic, and the Indo-west and central Pacific. Her analyses have led to the now widespread recognition that estimates of marine diversity are probably too low by a factor of ten.

Dr. Knowlton received her undergraduate degree at Harvard University and her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley, and was a professor at Yale University prior to moving to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Later, she joined the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, where she was the founding Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and the leader of its interdisciplinary research and education (IGERT) program.

Dr. Knowlton currently serves on the National Geographic Society’s Committee on Research and Exploration and Conservation Trust Committee, chairs the World Bank’s Targeted Research Program for Coral Reefs, is principle investigator of the Census of Marine Life’s Coral Reef Initiative, and is an Associate Editor for the Annual Review of Marine Science. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Aldo Leopold Fellow.

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February 2009; Rebecca Wodder

President; American Rivers

Rebecca began her environmental career with the first Earth Day in 1970. As a high school senior, she came of age in a time of protests and community involvement — civil rights, the Vietnam War, labor boycotts. Her activist leanings took root in the civil rights movement. The first Earth Day shifted her focus to the cause of protecting the air, water, land and wildlife.

In graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, she led a team of researchers investigating the effects of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act on one of the original eight Wild and Scenic Rivers, the St. Croix. This led her to Washington, DC and a job as environmental legislative aide to Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, founder of Earth Day.

For Sen. Nelson, Rebecca fought against ill-conceived water projects like the Tennessee- Tombigbee, and fought for protection of Alaska’s wild rivers and lands in the landmark 1980 Alaska Lands Act. In 1981, Rebecca went to The Wilderness Society, where she worked for fourteen years on behalf of wilderness and public lands across the nation. Rebecca also helped found EarthShare, a workplace giving campaign for environmental causes.

In 1995, Rebecca became President of American Rivers, the nation’s leading river conservation organization. During her tenure, American Rivers has quadrupled in size, growing from a small group focused largely on Wild and Scenic River designations (still at the core of its work), expanding its agenda to protecting and restoring all of America’s rivers and engaging communities nationwide in improving the health of America’s rivers. Rebecca served as the Conservation Chair of the National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commemoration, and led American Rivers’s work to restore the rivers that carried this epic expedition to the Pacific Ocean and back.

In 2004, she chaired the informal association of national conservation organization CEOs (the Green Group) that coordinates much environmental work in Washington, DC. In 1998, she was named “Woman of the Year” by the American Sportfishing Association for her work on behalf of clean, healthy rivers.

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March 2009; Susan Piedmont-Palladino

Architect and Curator; National Building Museum

Susan Piedmont-Palladino is an architect and curator at the National Building Museum. Since joining the Museum in 2002, she has served as guest curator for Tools of the Imagination and consulting curator for Masonry Variations and Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. She is also a professor of architecture at Virginia Tech’s Washington- Alexandria Architecture Center.

Ms. Piedmont-Palladino is the editor of the Tools of the Imagination (Princeton Architectural Press), the companion book to the exhibit of the same name. She is the author of Devil’s Workshop: 25 Years of Jersey Devil Architecture (John Wiley and Sons, 2000), and contributor to Design Professions and the Built Environment (Princeton Architectural Press, 1997). She is the former national president of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility and served on the design committee for the National Peace Garden Foundation.

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April 2009; Copeland Casati

Founder; Copeland Casati Media

Copeland Casati founded copeland casati media, C3, an advertising agency in Richmond, Virginia in 1999. In 2006 she created Green Modern Kits (with architecture firms David Day Design, in Charlottesville, and Grace Street, in San Francisco and Richmond), and Green Cottage Kits (with Gelotte Hommas in Seattle), and Green Cabin Kits (with Tektonics Design Group) in 2008. Although a modern enthusiast, she grew up (and her parents still reside) in a home built in 1801. A Virginia native, she appreciates old farmhouses, cabins, Victorian brownstones, high modern design and… little cabins in the woods (saw a rabbit hoppin’ by, knockin’ at my door…). Because energy efficient great design IS timeless. Here, cabins can be modern! Or traditional!

A passion for environmentally-friendly, affordable housing and concern over our earth propelled her to gather green building architects to help other people achieve home ownership with green building beautiful design; to invest in homes they can not just afford, but of which to be passionate, for all their life stages.

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May 2009; Linda Sorrento

Senior Director of Environmental Partnerships; U.S. Green Building Council

As the Senior Director of Education for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Linda Sorrento initiates and maintains strategic relationships with leading industry organizations to advance the Council’s mission of market transformation through high-quality green education. She furthers the adoption of green building practices by connecting professionals to LEED education and professional development via the USGBC Education Provider Program. Linda’s special projects have included the development of the REGREEN residential remodeling guidelines in partnership with American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the green jobs education initiative.

Linda joined the USGBC in 2004 as the Director of LEED for Commercial Interiors. In this role, she led the development and market implementation of the LEED for Commercial Interiors rating system that focuses on high performance green tenant spaces.

Prior to joining USGBC, Linda practiced as a corporate interior designer for 29 years, cultivating a diverse work experience with major corporate clients and manufacturers. During that time, Linda was an assistant professor at George Washington University and Northern Virginia Community College where her teaching focused on the human environment. Her research included both behavioral and physical environment studies.

Linda is actively involved in serving the design community as a past member of the ASID Board of Directors as well as advisory boards for interior design at Marymount University and Westwood College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in interior design from Marymount University.

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July 2009; Jaime Berman Matyas

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; National Wildlife Federation

Ms. Matyas is responsible for managing day to day operations, setting organization strategy, and identifying new revenue generating efforts. Prior to assuming the Executive Vice President and COO role in May 2005, Jaime was Senior Vice President of Marketing at National Wildlife Federation.

Prior to joining National Wildlife Federation, Jaime held marketing positions at Hamilton Projects/Hanna-Barbera, Inc. and IMG both in New York.

Jaime earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and completed advanced coursework and the Wharton School and Center for Creative Leadership. Most recently she was one of 1000 people trained by Vice President Gore’s The Climate Project.

Ms. Matyas was honored in 2006 by the Washington Business Journal with their prestigious Women Who Mean Business award and in 2008 by Jewish Women International’s Women to Watch. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters. She is an avid soccer player and loves playing outside with her daughters.

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September 2009; Diane Wood

President; National Environmental Education Foundation

Diane W. Wood is president of the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), a nonprofit organization committed to providing objective environmental information to help Americans live better everyday. Ms. Wood has over two decades of executive experience both nationally and internationally. She served for 15 years as the vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). There, she developed and managed an $18 million conservation program. Ms. Wood also established WWF’s Center for Conservation Innovation.

Before joining NEEF, she was the executive director of the Center for a New American Dream. Her experience in environmental education spans formal and non-formal education sectors and includes curriculum development, nature interpretation, conservation education, sustainability education and natural resources extension.

Ms. Wood has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Peace Corps and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including a 10-year Presidential appointment (under both George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton) to the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative board. Ms. Wood has a Masters in Science and Environmental Education from Cornell University.

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October 2009; Erin Gorman

Chief Executive Officer; Divine Chocolate,  USA

Erin Gorman is Chief Executive Officer of Divine Chocolate in in the USA. Divine is a pioneering social enterprise co-owned by the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana. Previously she served as the Program Director for Co-op America (now Green America), expanding consumer activism to grow the green and fair trade marketplace. During her tenure she founded the Fair Trade Alliance, a network of community activists committed to building awareness about Fair Trade as a market based approach to development. Erin has been a consultant for several FairTrade nonprofit organizations and commercial companies. Erin holds a Masters in Philosophy and Public Policy from American University. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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November 2009; Jennifer Kaplan

Author; Greening Your Small Business

Jennifer Kaplan is a well-respected voice in the green space. She is a founder of Greenhance LLC and Adjunct Faculty of Marketing at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She is author of “Greening Your Small Business” from Penguin Group (USA). With almost two decades of corporate marketing experience, she has worked with a wide range of companies including Discovery Communications, Conde Nast Publications, Lifetime Television and The Disney Company. Jennifer is a Senior Adviser to the Center for Small Business and the Environment (CSBE) and a regular contributor to Ecopreneurist.com.

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