2005 EcoHour Speakers [ARCHIVE]

January 2005; Lois Gibbs

Founder and Executive Director; Center for Health, Environment and Justice

In 1978 Lois became concerned about reports of leaking chemical waste in her Niagara Falls neighborhood, wondering if her children’s unusual health problems were connected to it. Lois later discovered that her neighborhood sat on top of 21,000 tons of buried chemical waste, the now infamous Love Canal. With no prior experience in community activism, she led her community in a battle against the local, state and federal governments. After years of struggle, more than 800 families were eventually evacuated, Love Canal cleanup began, the U.S. EPA’s “Superfund” program was created, and national press coverage made Lois Gibbs a household name. After winning the federal relocation of Love Canal residents, Lois and other local activists were inundated with calls from people around the country who were facing similar threats and wanted help. CHEJ was founded in 1981 to address this need.

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February 2005; Tosha Link

Board Member and Executive Director; Community Harvest

Many of us shop for organic food. In DC, however, some neighborhoods don’t have access to supermarkets, let alone organic produce. Community Harvest rights that wrong. Washington, D.C.-based Community Harvest works to provide access to good, healthy food, regardless of neighborhood or income level. Tosha ran Community Harvest from 2002-2004. Prior to working at Community Harvest, she was the Director of Development at a mentoring organization for high school students in Washington, DC. Tosha was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana, West Africa for two years as a Small Enterprise Development Advisor working primarily with widowed farmers. Tosha has a BBA from Howard University and is studying for a graduate degree at Johns Hopkins University.

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March 2005; Kristin Wolf-Grimm

President; Spitfire Strategies

One of the foremost campaign communications experts in the country, Kristen is a preeminent communications advisor for advocacy organizations, foundations and other institutions. If you’ve heard that swordfish are in danger, it is largely thanks to Kristen. She crafted the communication strategy for this issue, winning the Silver Anvil award for her work. The SeaWeb’s ‘Give Swordfish a Break’ campaign successfully mobilized hundreds of chefs across the country to stop serving swordfish until the U.S. government adopted a sustainable fisheries management plan.

Kristen is a powerful and sought-after speaker who has recently addressed Independent Sector, Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Council on Foundations, the Communications Network, and the National Association of Children’s Hospitals. She helps social change organizations use their voice in a strong, clear and compelling way to articulate their vision of a better world. She produces excellent communications tools for non-profits. And, she conducts capacity building communications trainings for nonprofits, foundations, and corporations (such as the Open Society Institute, Pew Charitable Trusts, Arsalyn Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and National Association of Children’s Hospitals). Hear Kristen once, and you may find an entirely new way of talking about the environment.

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April 2005; Anna Aurilio

Legislative Director; U.S. PIRG

Anna is one of our movement’s very best environmental lobbyists. As Legislative Director (LD) for U.S. PIRG, she’s advocated for environmentally-sound energy strategies and against subsidies that prop up anti-environmental industries. With her experience testifying before Congress and meeting with Members, she’s got a pulse on the latest developments on the Hill. Prior to her work as LD, she’s been the Staff Scientist at U.S. PIRG and the National Environmental Law Center. Anna’s also no slacker when it comes to academics with a Bachelor’s in Physics from University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master’s in Environmental Engineering from MIT. And, Anna’s a new mom! So, she may have a thing or two to say about juggling new responsibilities.

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May 2005; Margie Brand

Executive Director and Founder; EcoVentures

Margie Brand is an internationally-experienced trainer, facilitator, curricula developer, activist, development consultant, and entrepreneur. Most recently, she founded Eco-Ventures, a non- profit organization that helps young leaders understand sustainable development issues through the creation of environmentally-focused microenterprises. Born and educated in South Africa with a degree in Business Science, Margie has worked extensively with organizations throughout the world in building the capacity of their microenterprise, self-sustainability and livelihood projects. Come and hear about the many projects and programs she has initiated around the world, and hear her take on the prospects for sustainable development through microenterprise!

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June 2005; Bambi Tran

Associate; Steven Winter Associates

Trained as an architect and with hands-on experience in carpentry, Bambi Tran has been working in the field of sustainable development for over a decade. She is currently an Associate with Steven Winter Associates–a well-known architecture, engineering, and building research firm specializing in sustainable, or “green,” design. Bambi concentrates much of her work on improving the overall quality of residential, commercial and institutional buildings by providing technical assistance, developing policies/standards, and conducting training using a “whole building” approach. Bambi will talk about the emerging approach to design called “whole building” and show examples of sustainable design projects and features throughout the country. She will discuss the growing green building field and the opportunities for women. In addition, Bambi will lead an interactive discussion on the practices that you can do at home to make your dwelling more healthy, environmentally-friendly, and energy- and resource-efficient.

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July 2005; Nora Pouillon

Chef and Owner; Restaurant Nora and Asia Nora

Nora Pouillon, a true believer in healthy living, is a longtime advocate for increasing the quality and nutritional value of our food supply. She is a pioneer who first introduced organic dining to the Washington area over twenty two years ago. In April 1999, Restaurant Nora became the first certified organic restaurant in the nation, proving you can successfully run an upscale restaurant that is good for ourselves and the environment. Nora’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle extends beyond the kitchen. Nora has consulted for Fresh Fields Wholefoods Market and Walnut Acres, where she has developed a number of product lines. She is a founding board member of Chefs Collaborative 2000 and leading spokesperson for the NRDC/SeaWeb “Give North Atlantic Swordfish a Break” campaign.

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September 2005; Liz Titus-Putnam

Founder; Student Conservation Association

Forty-five years ago, as a student at Vassar College, Elizabeth Titus Putnam proposed as her senior thesis a student conservation corps to protect and preserve our nation’s natural resources. Liz contended this volunteer work would benefit both the land and the individual, and history has proven her right. In 1957, the then-Student Conservation Program dispatched its first crews a total of 53 students in Olympic National Park and Grand Teton National Park. Today, the Student Conservation Association annually places more than 2,500 volunteers, who provide more than one million hours of conservation service in our national parks, forests, refuges and urban spaces. SCA has more than 40,000 alumni from coast to coast and each can personally testify to the SCA adage of “changing lives through service to nature.”

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October 2005; Juliet Eilperin

National Staff Writer, Environment; The Washington Post

As a Washington, D.C., native, Eilperin grew up immersed in politics. After graduating from Princeton University in 1992, she spent the next 10 years covering politics. Before joining the Washington Post in 1998, she covered politics and economics for an English-language magazine in Seoul, South Korea, on a Luce Scholarship and wrote for States News Service and Roll Call newspaper. After having covered a political beat, she decided that she needed a change, which led her to focus on environmental issues.

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November 2005; Katie Frohardt

Executive Director; Flora & Fauna, International

Ms. Frohardt, is the Executive Director of Flora & Fauna, International (FFI). She joined FFI, Inc. as its first Executive Director in the US in October of 2003. She has had a productive career in the international conservation arena from both the U.S. and Africa, most recently as Program Technical Director for the African Wildlife Foundation. Before that, she was based in Kigali as Rwanda Director of the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), of which FFI is a founding coalition member.

While Assistant Director of Conservation Programs for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in the U.S., Ms. Frohardt was responsible for an $86 million grant portfolio; she has also worked in the private sector and on land use planning. Ms. Frohardt holds a Master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and prior to that majored in Environmental Science at the University of Virginia, where she also completed a minor degree in French language.

Ms. Frohardt is focused on further developing FFI’s US presence, with the US Board and with an extended program and management team based in FFI’s UK office and in field locations around the world.

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