Speakers and Leadership Team

Rob Alexander, Professor, James Madison University Speaker
Rob Alexander is an assistant professor of political science at James Madison University. (B.S., Geology, Duke University; M.S., Public Administration, Environmental Science, Indiana University–Bloomington; Ph.D., Syracuse University). His research examines the challenges and opportunities facing public, private, nonprofit, and citizen organizations as they interact to address problems in the sustainability arena. Rob is a past board member of CAEE, a reviewer for the EE Resource Review system, and a former member of NAAEE's EE Advocacy Committee. 

Judy Braus, Executive Director, NAAEE  Leadership Team
Judy Braus brings a wealth of experience in environmental education and conservation to her role as NAAEE Executive Director. Throughout her career, she has focused on using the power of education to help communities restore and protect the environment. She comes to NAAEE from the National Audubon Society, where she was the Senior Vice President of Education and Centers, overseeing a nationwide network of nature centers and educators. Prior to that, she led the education programs at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the U.S. Peace Corps, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Her notable achievements include the creation and implementation of TogetherGreen, a $20 million alliance between Audubon and Toyota to build leadership, engage more people in conservation, and promote diversity and inclusion in the field. She has been published extensively and has developed many educational materials that are widely used. She has also won numerous awards for her work in education and conservation.

Lori Britt, Professor, James Madison University Speaker
Lori Britt is an assistant professor of communication at James Madison University (B.A., Bloomsburg University; M.A., University of North Carolina Greensboro; Ph.D., University of Colorado Boulder). Lori is interested in how people organize to meet community needs and how language shapes those efforts in particular ways. At JMU, she promotes training and engaging students as public process facilitators to investigate, explore, and develop productive conversations designed to help address complex community needs. She is the director of the JMU Institute for Constructive Advocacy and Dialogue, and has been a research partner with the Kettering Foundation conducting applied research on framing and facilitating public dialogue and deliberation in communities.

Keya Chatterjee, Senior Director, WWF Speaker
Keya Chatterjee (B.S., Environmental Science and Spanish, University of Virginia; M.S., Environmental Science, University of Virginia) is Senior Director for Renewable Energy and Footprint Outreach at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the US and author of the book The Zero Footprint Baby: How to Save the Planet While Raising a Healthy Baby. Her work focuses on building a movement in support of climate action in the US, and promoting sustainable choices. Keya’s commentary on climate change policy and sustainability issues has been quoted in dozens of media outlets including USA Today, the New York Times, Fox News, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and NBC Nightly News.  Keya also serves on the board of the Washington Area Bicycling Association.  Prior to joining WWF, Keya served as a Climate Change Specialist at USAID. Keya also worked at NASA Headquarters In their Earth Science Enterprise, working to communicate data and research results on climate change. Keya started her career as a Presidential Management Fellow in the US government, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in a national park in Morocco from 1998 to 2000. 

Anne Umali Ferguson, Project Manager, EECapacity Leadership Team
Anne brings over 12 years experience working in conservation education, extension, and training as the national coordinator for the EECapacity Project. Anne builds collaborative relationships with project partners and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with respect to policy, program planning and implementation, evaluation, outreach, and finances.  Previously she worked at the National Audubon Society developing and managing the Conservation Leadership Fellows Program of TogetherGreen, Audubon’s 5-year $20 million innovative conservation program in alliance with Toyota. Before Audubon she worked at the Department of Environmental and Conservation Programs at the Field Museum of Chicago as the International Programs Manager for education. She organized EE training and natural resources use workshops for forest communities within a newly established 3.4 million acre protected area in Bolivia’s super diverse Amazon region. Her first experiences with EE began in Ecuador where she was a Natural Resources Peace Corps Volunteer.

John Fraser, President, New Knowledge Organization Speaker/Leadership Team
John Fraser, PhD, AIA is President & CEO of the non-profit think tank, New Knowledge Organization Ltd. John is a conservation psychologist, architect, and educator. His research focuses on how worldviews impact learning attitudes, motivations, and the ability to develop new knowledge. He holds adjunct faculty positions at Hunter College CUNY, Columbia University, Canisius College, and Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, and is a research scientist at The Earth Institute. He holds an appointment from the California Academy of Sciences’ as Associate Editor-Operations for Curator, the Museum Journal, and is a founding editorial board member for Museums & Social Issues. John is a lead research partner and evaluator for EECapacity. He is also the lead researcher on the Indianapolis: City as Living Laboratory, an NSF-supported project that aims to turn the city into a living science museum, helping to reconnect residents to urban waterways.

Marianne Krasny, Professor, Cornell University Leadership Team
Marianne Krasny is a professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Director of the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University. Through her research and outreach, she works with community-based organizations to examine how self-organized, environmental stewardship practices in cities contribute to civic renewal, ecosystem services, multi-generational learning, and social-ecological systems resilience. She directs EPA’s national environmental education training program, EECapacity, through which she fosters exchange of ideas among urban community environmental stewards, youth development professionals, and environmental educators, with the goal of helping environmental education to enhance its effectiveness in an increasingly urban society facing the realities of climate change. Marianne has edited and written multiple books regarding environmental education research and practice. She will teach her first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Civic Ecology: Finding Meaning in City Life, in winter 2015. More info can be found at http://civicecology.org/

Jose “Pepe” Marcos–Iga, EE-Exchange Leadership Team
Pepe is the International Programs Manager at the Environmental Education Exchange (B.S., University of Monterrey; M.S., Monterrey Tech; Ph.D., University of Arizona). He has more than 15 years of international experience as an environmental communicator and educator, with a background in capacity building, cultural competency development, and online training and networking. At the Environmental Education Exchange, Pepe has managed a wide array of bilingual networking and capacity building efforts for environmental educators along the US-Mexico Border, which include conferences, training workshops, and social media that reach thousands of educators on both sides of the border. Pepe has served on NAAEE’s board since 2007, expanding and diversifying the organization’s reach, working with key partners to increase participation from Mexican and Canadian professionals as well as from underserved audiences within the United States. As part of the Guidelines Trainer’s Bureau, he has taken the Guidelines for Excellence in Environmental Education to Spanish-speaking educators. 

Akiima Price, President, Akiima Price Consulting Speaker/Leadership Team
For the past 20 years Akiima has worked with numerous environmental organizations throughout the United States, including the New York Restoration Project and the North American Association for Environmental Education, creating and implementing innovative programs that connect low income residents with the natural environment. One of her earliest experiences was as a National Park Service Interpretation Ranger at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Boulder City, Nevada in 1994. It was there that she discovered her passion and belief that nature is a powerful medium to engage youth and families in meaningful, positive experiences that can affect the way they feel about themselves, their communities, and their place on earth. Akiima is one of the leading African-American environmental educators in the country, helping to bring more diversity and inclusion to the field. Her specialty is working as a bridge builder between communities and resources and developing relatable curricula around urban and community environmental education issues.

Peter Rafle, Vice President, Spitfire Strategies Speaker
Peter Rafle (B.A., English, Yale University) leads Spitfire’s ongoing work with the Heinz Endowments, helping advocates in western Pennsylvania mount a collaborative effort to secure “the air we need, for the healthy economy we want.” Peter has helped a diverse coalition of public health advocates, business leaders, academic research institutions, and local and regional environmental organizations develop and implement a long-term communication plan that spotlights the human health costs of air pollution and the economic benefits of cleaning up the air. Peter came to Spitfire from the United States Senate, where he was communications director for the Environment and Public Works Committee, providing strategic counsel to Senator Barbara Boxer during her first four years as chairman of the committee. Before heading to Capitol Hill, Peter worked at  The Wilderness Society, DDB Issues & Advocacy, and Trout Unlimited.

Andy Robinson, President, Andy Robinson Consulting Speaker
Andy provides training and consulting for nonprofits in fundraising, board development, marketing, earned income, planning, leadership development, and facilitation. He also serves government agencies and, on occasion, corporate clients. Over the past eighteen years, Andy has worked with organizations in 47 US states and Canada. Recent clients include the American Bar Association, League of Conservation Voters, Vermont Department of Health, National Audubon Society, the Center for Progressive Leadership, and many local organizations. Andy is the author of six books, including the brand new Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money, www.trainyourboard.com. When he’s not on the road, he lives in Plainfield, Vermont.

Facilitators and other NAAEE Staff

Kelly Macías, OD/Training Consultant, Training Resources Group Facilitator
Kelly Macías (B.S., Spanish, Syracuse University; M.S., Sociology, American University) is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Conflict Resolution and Analysis at Nova Southeastern University. She is a trainer and organizational development specialist with over 12 years experience working with government, non-profit and educational organizations on issues related to education, training, and program design and development. She has designed and conducted training and organizational strengthening services in Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Jamaica, Russia, the Philippines and Thailand. Her expertise includes: leadership development, diversity and cross-cultural communication, immigration/ migrant communities, and curriculum development and design. 

Kendrick Lewis, Intern, NAAEE Staff 
Kendrick Lewis is entering her senior year at Flagler College, a small private liberal arts school in St. Augustine, Florida. She is majoring in political science with a minor in philosophy, and over the course of her academic career has taken interest in the environmental realm of politics. Kendrick previously interned at Tampa Electric Company, working with members of the company's political action committee (TEPAC). She currently interns with NAAEE, working on a variety of related projects with EECapacity and Natural Start Alliance. 

Yue Li, PhD Candidate, Cornell University Staff
Yue is from China and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University. Her research focuses on professional development for environmental educators through both online and face-to-face activities developed by the EECapcity project. Yue investigates how environmental educators adapt environmental education ideas into their practice through networking with others in online learning communities and other platforms, designed to foster exchange of idea and practice. She uses social network analysis and surveys to identify changes of networks and evaluate the impact of these changes on practice innovation in environmental education programs. She is currently interning at NAAEE. http://yueyuelee.me.

Briana Perlson, Intern, NAAEE Staff
Briana Perlson is a junior at Pitzer, a member of the Claremont Colleges, in California, studying Environmental Analysis, with an emphasis in policy. Perlson has worked in her local community of Ontario, California through work on a community garden project and implementation of a farm to corner store conversion that sourced pesticide free produce from local farms to corner markets to increase local food access. She has experience in environmental education from her work with Disney, Inside the Outdoors and the Children and Nature Network, where she was the 2012 C&NN youth ambassador and a guest speaker on the 2013 Disney Earth Month webinars on the benefits of connecting kids to nature. She is currently interning at NAAEE.

Drew Price, Senior Program Associate, NAAEE Staff
Drew Price is a Nebraska native who went to school at the University of South Dakota, studying political science and biology. His first job out of college was working with a city government in their sustainability program, handling social media, presentations, research, outreach, writing and editing and designing. Drew made the leap to DC on a whim three years ago and after a brief temp job, and a year at a trade association, he found his way to NAAEE and has been with the organization for almost two years now. Drew is currently a senior program associate, helping with grant and contract management, intern management, and scheduling, as well as general office management and program support.

Ashley Simmons, Program Support, NAAEE Staff
Ashley Simmons was born in Washington DC. She moved to Atlanta when she was eight and decided to come back to her hometown to attend Howard University. While studying English and African Studies, she took a great interest in education and sought to further her career in this field. After three years educating students in the after-school setting, Ashley is now a part of the NAAEE team and hopes to bring her experience to the organization.

Shelley Stern, Researcher, New Knowledge Organization Staff
Shelley Stern is an educator, organizational consultant, and licensed clinical social worker. She joined New Knowledge as a Research Fellow in 2013, with over four decades of experience in education, organizational development, and mental health. She has designed and implemented therapeutic and psycho-educational programming for both clinical and non-clinical settings, and has consulted with grassroots organizations on strategic planning for organizational development and change. Shelley has pursued a long-standing interest in developmental psychology, the dynamic impact of loss and trauma, and effects on learning and social structures. She has a deep interest in trans-species relationships and in understanding and healing the disconnections between our species and the natural world.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency funds the EECapacity Project through a cooperative agreement with the Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab. This website was developed under Assistant Agreement No. NT-83497401 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by EPA. The views expressed are solely those of EECapacity, and EPA does not endorse any products or commercial services mentioned.