Mary Coolidge

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Center for Diversity and the Environment
Portland, OR

Mary Coolidge grew up hiking, camping, and backpacking all over the western United States, where she developed a deep love of the natural world. Her early love was botany, which soon led to a study of ornithology; together the two areas of interest deepened her engagement with the great outdoors and are at the foundation of a lifelong interest in ecological communities. Mary has studied ecology deep in the wilderness and in the urban environment. She is interested in improving efforts to make urban environment more hospitable to wildlife, helping connect people to place, and sometimes escaping to the middle of nowhere. Mary is a beekeeper, a birdwatcher, a writer, and a horseback rider, as well as a volunteer owl surveyor for Oregon State Parks and a mammal tracker with Cascadia Wild in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Mary worked for a decade as a field biologist in California, Washington, Montana, and Oregon, studying reproductive rates, survivability, migration, and nesting habits of a wide array of bird species—primarily raptors. She also served as the Assistant Conservation Director at Audubon Society of Portland for 4 years. Today, she splits her time between Center for Diversity & the Environment, Audubon Society of Portland, and Oregon’s California Condor Breeding Facility.

The Project

CDE’s training programs aspire to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental movement. CDE helps participants develop tools to question power and privilege, advocate for equity, and incorporate racial equity awareness into their environmental work. Using these tools, all groups can imagine and implement more equitable and effective solutions to the environmental challenges of today. By introducing an online learning aspect to their work, CDE hopes to increase their reach, improve access to programs, and strengthen learning communities.

CDE will begin with an exploration of opportunities to extend their E42 cohort engagement. Phase 1 will build on the cohort’s shared base of knowledge and experiences. CDE intends to provide relevant leadership development to teams and organizations relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion; strengthen environmental educators’ adaptability to changing demographics, needs, and learning environment; provide additional resource material; improve systems that impact diverse groups; and strengthen the environmental movement.

CDE’s first approach will be short video engagements with the E42 cohort, followed by webinars and other online discussions. CDE hopes to strengthen environmental educators’ ability to diversify ranks, be more aware when working across difference, and be more relevant to the future of environmental education across the country.

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.