Posts Tagged ‘EcoWomen’

posted by | on , , , | Comments Off on A Note on 2019-2020 Leadership Transition

By Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

It is with gratitude and every other kind of emotion that I reach out to you as I conclude my board service with the District Chapter of Ecowomen. In the six or so years since I returned to Washington D.C. to pursue another chapter of my career, to marry, and make friends in a new city I have been rewarded. I have taken part in so many great conversations with leaders across the field, enjoyed opportunities to grow my leadership in ways that no single job could offer, and have helped to guide the evolution of our “moose lodge for women” where we have explored ideas for how working life balance may be made to meet the needs of modernity. And I have blogged about so much of it.

In my board service terms’, I have been fortunate to have worn a few hats. As a member of the professional development team, I supported two years of Ecohours, Mentor Dinners, and special programs that are a part of the forty program offerings each year put on by your chapter of volunteer board members. Next, I held the position of vice president of professional development where I focused on revamping the organization’s signature salon and monthly educational forum—Ecohour. During my tenure the professional development team changed the format, of our salon, from  a lecture program to a fireside chat style and worked hard to add some humor, accessibility and humanity to the offering. In those years, I thoroughly enjoyed the twenty or so Ecohours where I engaged in one hundred eighty hours of preparation for twenty hours of interviews, dialogue and discussion with women who are reshaping the world of work for women in the environment in the District.

In the last two years, April Martin and I joined forces to lead our chapter as a co-chairs. This was an intervention to the tradition of one woman as a single source of leadership and guidance as an experiment in governance based on our experiences in the chapter. I can say without hesitation that it has been a sincere pleasure to try on each of these roles and to continue to advance my personal mission and life work in this space—the meaningful engagement of women in the environment across, race, class and ability as partners, champions and principals.

Our work at Ecowomen has resulted in the intentional inclusion of black, indigenous, and women of color who have been thought leaders in environment and conservation, non-governmental organizations, federal agencies and start-ups. In my oversight of the salon we set goals for and provided real time demonstrations of the ways that the work of black, indigenous and all women of color is always present. And with intention provided a space to reflect with agents of change, in a public dialogue on the many ways our shared work has been made invisible as the status quo.

If I could do anything differently, I might have tried to organize a space where our community could more explicitly examine the role of a feminist practice in our work; and programmed for reflections on the ways that racialized dynamics are heightened amongst women who should be allies and often don’t quite make it. As I leave the chapter, but not this deeper work and conversation, I look forward to seeing what the new leaders, the board members, President and what each of you bring to this discussion and to our shared goals to create an equitable and healthy society where we live, work, and exist as Ecowomen.

Thank you for taking the time to connect over the last six years, to add your energy and talents to the building and rebuilding of this community. Thank you to the women on the board from 2013 to the present day who work consistently and constantly to make Ecowomen a space where good things are made to happen for and with women.

As I leave the District chapter, I have been thinking a lot about the dormant Baltimore City chapter and what I might bring to it as I make my home there. In the meantime, I will continue in my day job as the North America Director at and hope to see you in it  as Ecowomen and as fellow humans in adult and aging ally response to the youth call for climate action on September 20-27, 2019. It looks to be the largest global climate mobilization to date and will be followed by a week of action that will only strengthen the work of our lives to protect people and planet.

Feel free to reach out to me directly If you ever want to talk. And do sign up today to get involved in the climate mobilization which is already supported by partners including the Women’s March and 500 women in Science among others.


Tamara  Toles O’Laughlin


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Photo of the 2017-2018 Board


By Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

Over the last few years I have been incredibly fortunate to take on several roles on the Board of DC EcoWomen. First, as a member of the Professional Development Committee where I learned the ropes of planning our signature event, EcoHour, and eventually became the vice president of that team. With the aid of several smart, innovative and hard-working women, we altered the standard format of that offering from a lecture style to a fireside chat interview format, doubled the number of intimate mentoring events to ten per year and very intentionally diversified the topics, perspectives and broadened the lens of leadership of these events to highlight women of color, interfaith women, and to draw members of all ages.

I look back at those learning experiences with gratitude and pride in the sheer number of new and often unseen voices we have brought to the membership of DC EcoWomen, from the District’s first Latina National Park Service park ranger, to the fearless and unsinkable leader of Green 2.0., to no nonsense women reporting on the environment, and women creating sustainable modalities in womenswear, and I can say that it has all been a great time.

As the 2017 Board Year ends, and we begin our programming for the new fiscal and Board Year, I am thrilled to announce that we are taking another leap to better serve our members.

Generally, we are led by a chapter president, who takes on the ministerial and administrative duties of running this nonprofit powerhouse for women, by women. And this year will be no different except, that it will be run by not one but two women; myself and the indomitable April Martin. To level up the offerings, engagement, and support the growing membership of this chapter of EcoWomen, we’ve decided that we need to shift the leadership model, as and such we will be your joint co-chairs through 2019. We made this change to address the fact that as the chapter grows, the mantle and responsibility grows and serving our members and our mission means increasing the hands on deck to do the work. We believe that capacity increases when power is shared and we are shifting our structure to support that evolution.

April brings a wealth of knowledge to the position. She started on the professional development committee before moving on to lead the membership and outreach committee for two years in addition to her regional directorship of the REAL School Gardens. She will focus on supporting the infrastructure growth that will increase the capacity of our chapter.

I will shift my attention from an exclusive focus on career and consciousness raising through programming to overall oversight of our board and the further embedding of equity, inclusion and leadership in all shapes and sizes to our overall direction in addition to my role as the executive director of the Maryland Environmental Health Network.

As long-time members and supporters of this chapter of the national organization EcoWomen, I expect that April and I will make change that support and evolves our mission to broaden our service to all the women who make up our community, while continuing to be the hub for vanguard leadership and programming. Watch this space as we tinker with the definition of membership, develop affinity groups to reach the seasoned members of our community and make the most of the forty events the DC chapter puts on each year.

In these fraught times for women and the environment we have seen that our community isn’t just a place to network but a landing spot for cultivation of equity, curiosity and a catalyst for women making their place in the sector. We hope that each of you who count yourselves as members will stick with us as we flesh out our capacity to serve as a force for good in the Nation’s Capital.

We are terribly proud of the new and returning members of the board and hope that you will take this opportunity to get to know the women leading your chapter of DC EcoWomen.

In sisterhood,


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By Tamara Toles-O’laughlin

There is no neat and tidy way to sum up my feelings about current events. Highs and lows abound for all of us who earnestly want to solve big problems or at least mitigate catastrophe, in the natural and built environment. As government regimes shift along party lines there is room enough for everyone to complain. As feminists, we are again bound to search our practice for true inclusion of marginalized peoples in the intersection of women and the environment. And we must look more deeply at our roles within those margins. As citizens, we will need to reengage our sectors, disciplines, and constituencies for answers and alignment. As EcoWomen, we must collectively move beyond the specter of a receding status quo and grope our dashed or diminished hopes for productive actions that will buck trends to ensure that the legacy of our generation is one of stewardship and justice. Viewed together, our work assails the banality of injustice through an unrelenting demand for increased access, inclusion, equity, and for plain old understanding, and that won’t stop now.


Connection begets Community

EcoWomen is a community of diverse thinkers, strategists, planners, anglers, wonks, workers, and women.  Together we search for and find renewed purpose to meet challenges as they arise. Take a good hard look at us. We work for sustainable cities; promote agency for under-resourced peoples; plant gardens for food and righteousness; act as a safeguard for key species; write policy that influences behavior to combat climate change causes and effects; and bolster conservation in every environ. For those of us who desire an expansive form of social justice, circumstances require us to continue to push for the collective good, for the greatest number. We will fare better if we do it in community.


Engage Beyond the Echo Chamber

This is a time for strength. We have strength in numbers. In support of our mission, it is in our interest to continue to make room for divergent thought, support innovation in every direction and apply pressure to transform power structures so that they reach the greatest number. We won’t succeed in an echo chamber of agreement but by opening the ways and means by which we reach consensus.

Increasingly, environment and conservation actions explicitly bleed into issues of parity, representation, resource, burden, and benefit distribution. To make it meaningful, we will need to recommit as members of community to deeper engagement on the issues of our time, and in so doing leverage the power of the many to move the state for positive impact.

These are not the salad days. We are women at the intersection of climate, politic, and modernity. We are faced with compound challenges to our species’ survival. In this moment, I am hopeful that we have a chance to make gains out of conflict IF we can face the acrimony of behavior change, IF we deny the illusion of stand-alone issues AND connect the dots as EcoWomen with the efforts of other communities we are a part of.

As we close out the year, let’s turn our good intentions into action.  I challenge you (now) to change your relationship to what troubles you, and to get nearer to every challenge. And I ask you to set your intention to develop solutions with those formerly deemed “other” as partners rather than allies. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with alliance, except that it can normalize the perceptible space between what threatens each of us with what threatens all of us.


Strength as a Practice

As we brace for new norms we would do well to recall that as EcoWomen, we are in this, whatever it is, together.

So, let’s pledge to start the new year as we would see it end, with justice at the fore of our approach to environment, and to see it through to the defense of our everyday liberty. If you plant trees, plant more trees. If you work on storm water reduction, then mitigate away. Advocate, agitate, intervene, and include all voices at the point of decision making, for yourself and for your community. We will need you now more than ever.


Tamara is an environmental advocate focused on civil society and justice issues. She holds degrees from The City College, City University of New York and two advanced degrees from Vermont Law School. Her hobbies include reading boring books about politics and neuroscience, writing diatribes about what she reads, traveling, and yoga.

posted by | on , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Every EcoWoman Should Know About the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan

By Sonia Abdulbaki

I recently wrote an article on the DC EcoWomen blog regarding the global concern of water shortage. I quote myself saying, “Luckily for us, water is a luxury available with a turn of a faucet.” Suffice to stay, I stand corrected, and have the account of the 100,000 Flint, Michigan residents to back up my claim.

You also might be wondering, where is Erin Brockovich when you need her? Well, she was right there, raising awareness on several cases of water contamination, including the recent water pollution crisis in Flint. She also brought it to the attention of President Obama, who then declared the issue a state of emergency.

According to MLive, on January 18, 2016 about 100 protesters in Ann Arbor called for the arrest of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder over the state's handling of the lead poisoning of Flint residents. Snyder lives in Ann Arbor.

According to MLive, on January 18, 2016 about 100 protesters in Ann Arbor called for the arrest of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder over the state’s handling of the lead poisoning of Flint residents. Snyder lives in Ann Arbor.

The gist of it

Before the President had a hand in the matter, Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, declared a state of emergency in December 2015. What started two years ago as a pursuit to supply water independent of Detroit to save money transpired into a water pollution crisis.

Lead from the old pipes seeped into the Flint River and citizens knew that if the water looked, smelled and tasted wrong, then something was wrong. Although the move to locally sourced water was planned as a temporary one, its expiration date came earlier than anticipated.

The event was accompanied by longer lasting effects, including the rising lead levels shown in children’s blood tests. Increased levels of lead can result in behavioral changes and negatively influence neurological development. Brockovich pleaded for action, with claims that the legionnaire’s disease was another outcome of the crisis.

Damage control

Once the news was out, the city turned back to Detroit’s water system to put things back on track. Regardless, officials responded slowly. Accountability, as well as the damage that remained, needed to be acknowledged.

Flint’s mayor set out to replace the pipes with a $55 million plan. Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder, turned to the National Guard for help in giving Flint citizens clean water. The time it will take to achieve this goal is unknown. President Obama aided with $5 million and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover 75% of water related costs.

In the meantime, residents were taking action, obtaining water through filters and bottles and more seriously, filing a class-action lawsuit against political officials. The crisis was reported to have lasted for months, yet lawsuits are claiming that the state knew about the contamination for about one year.

Lawsuits may address accountability but major concerns remain, such as improving infrastructure and the accompanying cost, serious health risks and thorough investigation in order to stop it from happening in the future.

Erin Brockovich, an Eco-woman to be reckoned with

Erin BrockovichYou might remember her from the movie, starring Julia Roberts, as a single mother struggling to find a job, which led her to investigate a case involving the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. She discovered that land in the area was poisoning the residents, contaminated by a deadly toxic waste that the company was illegally dumping. She led her law firm into one of the largest class action lawsuits in the country’s history, one involving a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Yes, real woman, real story.

That was a couple of decades ago, and Brockovich is still on the move. She continues to fight for residents nationwide against toxic environments through her influence. Her voice resonates with the half a million followers on her social media, a platform that brought the Flint crisis to the media and government officials’ attention. Brockovich spoke out for Flint by calling out businesses, councils and the slow government response.

And yet, it is merely one of the hundreds of others in the nation whose water systems also are failing.

Sonia Abdulbaki is a freelance writer and the vice president at Daly Gray Public Relations, a firm specializing in hospitality. Sonia has extensive experience in the field of communications that includes her work at Green America. She is a contributing writer for Business Traveler magazine and

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on DC EcoWomen’s EcoHour with Talia Buford

By Sonia Abdulbaki

DC EcoWomen is a group with a mission “to provide an educational forum for women that empowers women to become leaders in the environmental community and the world.”

Women. Environment. Community.

9RTw2657The monthly EcoHour event sets out to empower these words and apply the mission statement by inviting accomplished speakers to inspire other women with their stories. Talia Buford, a successful Black American environmental journalist, was invited to speak at the September EcoHour event to share her experience with us.

Buford received a degree in journalism from Hampton University and then went on to acquire a master’s degree in law from the Georgetown University Law Center. Currently, she is a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity and formerly an energy reporter for Politico, where she covered natural gas and the Department of Interior and authored the daily Afternoon Energy newsletter. Prior to that, she held a position as legal affairs and municipal reporter for The Providence (R.I.) Journal. The Rhode Island Press Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Foundation have all recognized her work.

Buford spoke fondly of her work at her hometown newspaper in Michigan because it reflected her community. It was while working there that she was exposed to the environmental justice reality created by a power plant near her neighborhood. The issue was reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and is still pending for 17 years to date. This issue hit close to home and motivated Buford to investigate on more of the same and to make sure the public and communities like her own were informed.

Her work as a reporter for The Providence Journal was described as tedious and prolonged, taking the immediacy out of journalism. She expressed that sitting in court, vigorously reporting on cases through serial narratives, was not her calling. Instead, she shifted her focus to reporting on environmental justice and labor issues; those topics have always appealed to her, especially because her loved ones were directly affected by these issues. Buford’s approach was informative, humble and relatable.

"It's important to see women as journalists. It's important to see people of color as journalists. It's because we tell different stories, and that's valuable." - Talia Buford at ??EcoHour?

“It’s important to see women as journalists. It’s important to see people of color as journalists. It’s because we tell different stories, and that’s valuable.”

Recently, Buford reported on the EPA Office of Civil Rights’ response to environmental justice issues. She unearthed various civil rights complaints that were made to the EPA since 1964 that had never been addressed or thoroughly investigated. EPA is reforming their approach, especially with the ability to submit complaints online.

Other issues she has covered include vital pesticide regulation in California, radioactive dumping in New Mexico and issues surrounding the EPA’s environmental racism.

She expressed the importance of journalism, to her community and to her own identity as a Black American woman. The advice she gave EcoWomen was to advocate for ourselves, something she wishes she’d known to do at the start of her career.

Buford was a lovely speaker who spoke with a natural conviction that will resonate with the community of environmental women.

Sonia Abdulbaki is a freelance writer and the vice president at Daly Gray Public Relations, a firm specializing in hospitality. Sonia has extensive experience in the field of communications that includes her work at Green America. She is a contributing writer for Business Traveler magazine and contributing editor for

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on Reflections with a DC EcoWomen Leader

By Robin Garcia

DC EcoWomen’s president, Christina Sorrento, is leaving the executive board after nearly a decade of service to the organization and to women in the DC environmental field. A land use attorney in Maryland, Christina has been an integral part of DC EcoWomen’s growth, helping mold it into the wonderful and strong organization that it is today. I met with Christina recently to discuss what her involvement has meant to her.

5278910729_31a74e3ff2_oWhy did you first become involved with DC EcoWomen?

At the time, I wasn’t working in the environmental field, and I wanted to maintain a connection to the community. I went to an EcoHour event in 2006 and left feeling so inspired. I asked the board if they needed help and was immediately brought on board!

What positions have you held on the board?

First, I was the Speaker Coordinator. I then became Vice President of the EcoHour Committee, Vice President of the Events Committee (which has now separated into the Professional Development and Program Committees), Vice President of Professional Development, and finally President.

How did DC EcoWomen help with your professional and personal development?

It definitely helped me professionally. While I am an attorney, I used to get very nervous about speaking publically. All of the public speaking that I had to do with the various positions that I have held helped me overcome that fear. I also had the chance to be involved in ways that are not quite as tangible but still important.

8760784245_7e5c4e13cf_oWhat events are you most proud of?

The day-long conference in 2013. We pulled it off in a couple of months, and everyone seemed to love it! The 10 year gala was also a wonderful accomplishment.

Why would you recommend DC EcoWomen to others?

First of all, for the professional development. That was why I first became involved, but the women I met has kept me involved for all of this time. Women I have met through DC EcoWomen have become close friends; I have even been to the weddings of women I met through the organization.


I can personally attest that in the past year Christina has always made me feel welcomed and involved. We have been so lucky to have her for as long as we have, and I hope that she will stay involved with the environmental community in DC for years to come.

Thank you Christina for all that you have done!

Robin is a Communication Specialist at NOAA and a DC EcoWomen board member. A DC native, she enjoys exploring her hometown, developing her yoga skills, and getting out on the water as much as possible. She would also like the world to know that Bill Nye the Science Guy is now available on Netflix. 

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Raising A Glass To DC EcoWomen At The Ten Year Gala

Written by DC EcoWomen President Christina Sorrento

EcoWomen had its first ever EcoHour the year I moved to Washington DC. The year was 2004 and the speaker was Alisa Gravitz, then the Executive Director of Co-op America. I was not aware of EcoWomen at the time and did not attend the event but little did I know how that night would impact my life for years to come. After that first EcoHour where Alisa laid out a roadmap for success, EcoWomen continued to grow.

I attended my first event in 2007 and I was hooked. The EcoHour was so inspirational and I was in a place in my career where I wanted a deeper connection with the environmental community. I asked one of the Board members at the time, Anne Richardson, whether EcoWomen needed any help. I was immediately drafted into the then Speaker Coordinator role where I was responsible for scheduling the monthly EcoHour speakers. I have been on the DC Executive Board for EcoWomen ever since that moment of volunteering my services in 2007.

Over the past seven years, I have held five positions on the Board, attended 72 EcoHours, eight professional development workshops, numerous potlucks, happy hours, clothing swaps, book clubs, holiday parties, and volunteer activities, one conference, and soon to be two galas. In addition to attending events, I have made long-lasting friendships and connections. I have been to the weddings, baby showers, birthday parties, and housewarming parties of fellow EcoWomen as well as celebrated their promotions and career achievements. My involvement in this organization has had a life-long impact and I know I’m not the only EcoWomen who feels that way.

The amount of growth EcoWomen has experienced is incredible. When I joined back in 2007, we only had EcoHour every month, a once a year fun event, and a yearly fundraising auction. Now, EcoWomen is a national organization with new chapters in Colorado, San Francisco, Seattle, and Baltimore.

The Washington D.C. founding chapter has 18 Executive Board members and four committees — Communications, Membership, Professional Development, and Programs — and we average 42 events a year; that’s almost one event a week! Of course none of this could happen without the dedication of the DC Executive Board and the support of our members. We all have something to celebrate as we look back over these last ten years. I’m excited to see what the next ten will bring!

Don’t forget to get your tickets to the gala on April 24!

posted by | on , , , , | Comments Off on EcoWomen Networking Tips, Tried And True

DC EcoWomen Board’s Best Practices To Take To Your Next Happy Hour

Last year, DC EcoWomen gave you ten great networking tips to bring to our EcoWomen happy hour. Since then, members of the Board have been through countless networking happy hours and events, testing out the networking tricks for themselves. We’ve introduced ourselves to prominent ladies, tested out our elevator speeches, received endless business cards — and in the meantime, we’ve met a lot of great women and made lasting connections.

Now, one year later, we bring you the fruits of our efforts: The best networking tips, tried and true, from the DC EcoWomen Board, starting from the moment you walk in the door:

Take Initiative.

Someone has to do it! Be the first person to walk up to someone, say hello, and introduce yourself.

Confidence is key here — as EcoWomen, we already bring something to the party. More importantly, an air of confidence from the beginning can help you make the first move. Even if you are feeling a little shy, you can fake it — no one will know the difference!

In particular, don’t be afraid to walk up to a Board Member and say hello! We love getting to know our members.

Prepare Your Elevator Speech.

Once you take initiative and say hello, you might want to know what you’re going to say next! So what information do you want to get across to the women and men you meet at your networking event? Brainstorm ideas ahead of time, pick your three best talking points, and fit them into an elevator speech (a 20 to 30 second rundown of who you are and what you do). Make sure to practice your pitch so it rolls comfortably off your tongue, even when you meet your role model .

In addition to your elevator speech, it’s helpful to have a few generic conversation pieces and questions in your back pocket (figuratively — it might be awkward to pull out flash cards mid-sentence). This will prevent undue conversation lulls and awkward pauses.

Listen,  And Be Personal.

Let’s be honest: everyone loves talking about themselves — what they do, how they got there, what they’re passionate about. The best way to learn about who you’re talking to is to ask questions. What are they passionate about? How did they get to where they are? What are their goals? Do you have similar passions or goals?

One Board member advocates bringing an air of curiosity – what interesting things might you learn? All information is currency!

But conversation is a two-way street — you shouldn’t just ask an endless supply of questions without offering some information about yourself. Just make sure to be genuine; personal stories can help open others up and inspire a greater connection.

Take Notes.

The best time to take notes is immediately after the event, and the best vehicle for your notes is on the business cards of who you met. This way you can easily connect your conversation to the contact information you have at hand. Jot a note on the card if you’d like to follow up with its owner, or if they’re expecting your email. If nothing else, taking notes can help you remember someone’s name if you should run into them again — more on that later!

Follow Up.

Following up is essential for keeping your new connections. It can be as simple as shooting someone a quick email if you’re not up for crafting a hand-written thank you message, and can range from a “nice to meet you!” to setting up a burgeoning relationship with your new mentor.

And finally,  our top two tips (tied for first)…
Use Their Name.

Repeating someone’s name throughout the conversation can help them warm to you — people love to hear their own name. But more importantly, it will help you remember who they are so you can take notes or follow up later!

Make sure to glance at their name tags right away when you introduce yourself. One hint is to look at the name tag and then the face several times to try to visualize it — imagine writing it out in your head, thinking about each individual letter as you look at the person. You might even try coming up with some clever rhyme incorporating their job, or something unique they said, as well. It’s hard to train yourself to actively do this while paying attention to what is being said, but extremely helpful.

Then, when someone else joins the conversation, you can introduce the first person to the second and also include something interesting about them. Bonus points!

Practice,  Practice,  Practice!

The best piece of advice anyone can give: to practice, and practice again. There’s really no better way to improve and polish your networking skills. Eventually you will feel confident, comfortable introducing yourself to strangers, and most importantly, you’ll learn which tips work best for you.

DC EcoWomen provides you with many opportunities to do just that! On February 24, DC EcoWomen is teaming up with WIN’s Environmental Network for a conjoined happy hour. And don’t forget about our monthly EcoHours, where we always give time for networking at the beginning and the end of the event.

posted by | on , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Furlough For Enviros: Five Earth-Lovin’ Activities For Your Staycation

As a woman living in the DC area, chances are pretty good that you’re currently on an unexpected paid staycation, courtesy of the government shutdown. But now, almost a week later, you might be running out of ideas of what you can do with all this newfound free time while still remaining friendly to the environment.

There are many ways to spend your furlough days more environmentally-friendly than sitting and watching TV in your air-conditioned home. You can use to take this time to try something new, to rebuild, refresh, and explore – here’s how.

Explore The Area

Even though all your favorite museums and national parks are closed, there are no limits to the places you can explore in and around the district. There is a lot of natural beauty interspersed throughout the city, and as far as I know, the government isn’t allowed to shut down the trees.

As for art, there are many privately-owned art galleries, still open for business, like the Phillips Gallery and the Corcoran. The Eastern Market is still open, the home of many artists selling their work.

Having some extra time means you can go further away, as well. Mount Vernon is just a 10 mile bike ride away once you cross the Potomac. Alexandria is an adorable destination; the riverside parks are ideal for lounging on the beach, and Old Town is full of niche shops and restaurants, and its Torpedo Factory Art Center is a unique – and wonderful – experience.

Create Your Food

Choose real potatoes over couch potatoes! A government shutdown is a great excuse to plant some winter root vegetables, or prep your garden for spring.

But I know what some of you are thinking. Who has the space for a garden in DC? I barely have room for my fake cactus in the corner of the living room! Have no fear.  You can still take the time to create something edible that doesn’t necessitate the use of mulch. Something simpler, and garden-free: Infusion. Infuse olive oil, infuse vinegar, infuse liquor, infuse everything! You can transform a cheap alcohol into a tasty, easy-to-drink concoction, like vanilla or basil-flavored vodka. An herb-and-fruit infused vinegar would make a classy addition to a salad, especially alongside a rosemary-infused olive oil.

Grow Your Network

This is the perfect opportunity to work on improving your professional life. Meet up with an old contact for coffee to catch up and ask for advice. Take the time to think about your goals and career path, and talk about those with your colleagues as well.

Update your resume. Go to a DC EcoWomen happy hour you might have been too busy for otherwise. Know that you are not alone – surely there are meetups for your fellow temporarily-unemployed.

Rebuild Your Home

Is your bland wooden table falling apart, or are you sick of your tired-looking chair? This may be the perfect opportunity to revamp some of your old furniture.  Pull out that toolkit, teach yourself how to repair that broken clock or DVD player – you can learn just about anything on Youtube. Learn how to upcycle your used goods into something new, like old records into a chip bowl, or a wine cork message board (because everyone needs another reason to drink wine!)

Cheap, throwaway goods not meant to last very long have become the norm in our society – it’s quick and easy to throw something away and not think about the consequences, like the ever-growing Great Pacific garbage patch. But now that you have extra time, take the extra hour or two to learn how to fix or upcycle your goods instead. Resist consumerism by repairing, not tossing.

Discover Your Talents

Do you spend endless hours gazing at crafts on Pinterest that you have no time for?  Do you have a burning desire to start a blog or take up an instrument? You can take this week to research that side project that has been burning in the back of your mind. Explore your interests, and you might just find a new thing to love as much as you love being an EcoWoman!

No furlough? No fear!

These activities aren’t exclusively for the furloughed. For all you EcoWomen that don’t work for the federal government, a personal day might be in order!

What other enviro-friendly activities do you plan on doing during the furlough? Let us know in the comments!

posted by | on , , , , , | Comments Off on Get To Know The New Board Members!

Labor Day has come and gone, which means a new year of school, of Congressional hearings… and a new group of DC EcoWomen Board Members!

DC EcoWomen has acquired eight new excited and motivated ladies to join the Board. Though they all currently live in DC, they hail from many different parts of the world – even Belgium! Read more about our new Board Members below. At our next EcoHour or volunteer event, give them a hello!

Katharine Eaton; Membership

Katharine Eaton was born in Georgia and moved to Belgium when she was six years old. She earned her M.A. in Communications from the Free University of Brussels and her M.A. in International Relations and Conflict Management, with a concentration in Environmental Politics, from the Catholic University of Leuven. After nearly two decades abroad, she moved back to the States when the program she was working for relocated to DC.

Katharine loves reading novels, simplifying recipes, craft projects, and crossing items off her bucket list. She lives in the District with her husband.

Allyson Shaw; Membership

Allyson Shaw grew up on the Kansas side of Kansas City. After studying journalism at the University of Kansas, she moved to Rome, Italy for one year. A communications job at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund brought her back to the States last fall.

Allyson is pumped to learn more about the environment while socializing with some spectacular ladyfriends with DC EcoWomen. In her free time, she eats a lot of cheese and tries to master the choreography to Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend.”

Maggie Wendler; Membership

Maggie grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before her family settled in Vienna, Virginia ten years ago, but she has only officially called DC home since 2011. Maggie graduated from Wake Forest University with a B.A. in Political Science and then attended law school at Emory University to focus on environmental law and energy issues. For the past two years, Maggie has worked for the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program, mainly supporting the Beyond Coal Campaign’s east coast region and their efforts to curb the use of coal in energy production and replace it with renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

Maggie is excited to be a part of the DC EcoWomen Board and to be able to work with these awesome eco-minded women and help expand the group’s presence in DC and beyond. When not reading the Clean Air Act, Maggie likes to run and hike with her dog in Rock Creek Park, complete the occasional half marathon, practice yoga, and spend time with friends. She is also trying to get more into biking and brunching since that’s apparently what you do in this town.

Terrie Clifford; Professional Development

Terrie Clifford is from Rochester, New York and became interested in environmental issues after learning that the neighborhood she grew up in is an EPA Superfund site. She works currently as a marketing strategist and business development consultant focused on media and non-profit organizations and is transitioning into environmental work. Her career includes senior marketing and business development positions with U.S. News and World Report, National Geographic and America Online. She began her career in broadcast journalism. She enjoys outdoor adventures in the DC area with her two Greyhounds.

Mona Funiciello; Professional Development

Mona Funiciello’s passion for the environment began while hiking in the Adirondack Mountains in her early 20s. She fell in love with the beauty and serenity of the wilderness and decided to make protecting forests – and other natural resources – her life’s work. She moved to Boston, MA in 2000 to work for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and continued her outdoor adventures. She spent many happy weekends in the White Mountains in NH and took trips to the western U.S., Ireland, and Malaysia, which stoked her interest in global conservation, sustainability, and public policy. In 2011 she graduated with an MA in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University and moved to DC to pursue a career in international environmental policy.

Her first event with DC EcoWomen was a mentor dinner. It was a fantastic networking experience that led to her current job as a Climate Policy Fellow at When she’s not out and about, Mona can be found in her kitchen cooking French food or lounging around reading her overdue library books.

Kimberlyn Way; Professional Development

Kimberlyn Way grew up in Southern California and moved to Washington DC upon finishing her graduate degree in Fall 2012. She is a Senior Environmental Policy Analyst for ENS Resources and has a Bachelors degree in Communication Studies and a Masters in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara. Kimberlyn holds specializations in both Water Resources Management and Economics and Politics of the Environment. She has a strong interest in serving the public by ensuring that all citizens have access to clean and safe drinking water while also ensuring that the natural environment and its waterways are protected.

Prior to her environmental career, Kimberlyn gained professional experience in meeting and event planning which she hopes to apply in her new position as a professional development committee member.

In her free time, Kimberlyn likes to explore DC, spend time with friends and family, cook, and watch Parks and Recreation.

Anne Christianson; Programs

Anne Christianson grew up in Minnesota and graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA in Environmental Policy, and Oxford University with an MS in Biodiversity Conservation. After following animals around in Cambodia, the Caribbean, and South Africa, she moved to DC in 2011 and now works on environmental and agriculture issues for a Minnesota member in the House of Representatives. While not holed up on the Hill, Anne enjoys exploring the parks on the East Coast, reading, and traveling abroad.

Anne attended an EcoWomen event during her first week in DC, and is excited to join the community of strong, environmentally-focused women on the board!

KC Stover; Programs

KC Stover is a recent transplant from the Boston area. With a background in wildlife conservation and green business, KC is excited about many intersecting facets of the environmental field. She graduated from the College of Wooster and earned her MBA in 2011 from Suffolk University in Boston. Before moving to DC, she worked on ocean conservation issues and for a green agriculture startup. KC works at Defenders of Wildlife in the Conservation Science and Policy department on a wide variety of projects including wildlife conservation in the farm bill, supporting the endangered species policy team and a corporate partnership.

In her free time KC enjoys gardening, hiking, cooking, running and enjoying the many awesome activities that DC has to offer.