Summit 2023 Speakers
List of presenters is subject to change – we will update this page as we receive more presenter info. Stay tuned for additional presenters as well as our full conference day agenda for March 8!
Dr. Jerry Brotzge
Dr. Brotzge serves as the State Climatologist of Kentucky, the Director of the Kentucky Climate Center (KCC), and Director of the Kentucky Mesonet. He also serves as Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences at Western Kentucky University. In these roles, Dr. Brotzge is working to improve the state’s weather observational and predictive capabilities. In addition, the Kentucky Climate Center and Mesonet are working with government agencies, universities, and private businesses to improve public safety and economic efficiency through the application of weather and climate data. In his previous role, Dr. Brotzge served as program manager of the New York State Mesonet, where he helped oversee the installation of the New York State Mesonet, profiler, snow, flux and urban networks. Dr. Brotzge received a BS in Meteorology from Saint Louis University and MS and PhD in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. He now serves as Chair of the Board on Enterprise Communication for the American Meteorological Society.
Parker McMullen Bushman
Parker McMullen Bushman is the CEO and Founder of Ecoinclusive Strategies, Co-founder of Inclusive Guide, and Social Media Diva KWEEN WERK. Listed by Outside Magazine as one of the 20 Most Influential People in the Outdoor Industry. Parker is a dynamic speaker that engages organizations in new thinking around what it means to be a diversity change-agent and create dynamic organizational change. Parker’s background in the non-profit leadership, conservation, environmental education and outdoor recreation fields spans over 24+ years. Parker has a passion for equity and inclusion in outdoor spaces. Her interest in justice, accessibility, and equity issues developed from her personal experiences facing the unequal representation of people of color in environmental organizations and green spaces. Parker tackles these complex issues by addressing them through head on activism and education.
Parker brings a unique background to this work having served in top leadership for Outdoor Recreation, Natural Resources, Environmental Educational, and Cultural Interpretive Facilities. Parker has a Master of Natural Resources from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, with a focus in Interpretation and Environmental Education. She leads several committees that focus on diversity in environmental fields as well as a presenter and trainer on diversity issues. She sits on the board of Environmental Learning for Kids, Metro Denver Nature Alliance, and The Next 100 Coalition.
Dr. Lauren E. Cagle
Dr. Cagle is an Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies and Affiliate Faculty in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Appalachian Studies at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Cagle is also the co-founder and Director of the Kentucky Climate Consortium, a multi-institutional network of climate teachers and researchers in Kentucky higher education. At UK, Dr. Cagle teaches scientific and technical writing, and her research focuses on overlaps among digital rhetorics, research ethics, and scientific, environmental, and technical communication. Dr. Cagle frequently works with local and regional environmental and technical practitioners; her current collaborative partners include the Kentucky Division for Air Quality, the Kentucky Geological Survey, the University of Kentucky Recycling Program, and The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky. Her work has appeared in publications including Technical Communication Quarterly, Rhetoric Review, Communication Design Quarterly, and the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Shavonnie R. Carthens, J.D.
Shavonnie Carthens, J.D., is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. She teaches Lawyering Skills I, Lawyering Skills II, and Law and Literature. Her current scholarly interests include legal communication, environmental law and environmental justice. She also researches and writes at the intersection of legal literacy, race, and the First Amendment. Her commitment to environmental justice advocacy is exemplified in her work as a partner of the Environmental Health Literacy Coalition (Louisville District 3). The Coalition’s “Air Justice” project analyzes the impact of air pollution on the environment, with the aim of creating resources that make the information around environmental justice more accessible for public audiences. Before pursuing a career in academia, Professor Carthens worked in private practice in the Washington, D.C. area, specializing in real estate law, wills and estates law, and business law. Professor Carthens remains an active member the Maryland Bar.
Joel Dock, AICP
Joel is a Planning Coordinator for Louisville Metro’s Office of Planning and Design Services (PDS). His professional planning career began at PDS in 2013 following his graduation from the University of Louisville’s Department of Geographic and Environmental Sciences where he was the recipient of the Lou Seig Award for outstanding graduate in 2012-2013. Applying geographic methods to city planning, along with an historical knowledge of regulatory practices has enabled Joel to develop a comprehensive understanding of how land use regulations shape city landscapes. Joel is currently responsible for coordinating the Land Development Code Reform, managing projects to appear before the Board of Zoning Adjustment, and maintaining the interactive exhibit, “Confronting Racism in City Planning and Zoning.”
Sam Dunlap founded Carbon Harvest LLC in 2020 with the mission of creating soil amendment products that impact climate change by diverting waste, removing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in the soil. His company has been selected as the operator and manager for the Cincinnati Biochar Project, which is slated to begin production at the end of 2023. The project addresses environmental justice, city-wide sustainability goals, urban canopy and woodland restoration, waste reduction, climate resilience, and youth education/workforce development through an elegant and collaborative solution.
Callie Dickman is currently a junior at the University of Kentucky working towards a dual degree in Environmental & Sustainability Studies and Natural Resources & Environmental Science. She is currently serving as the Director of Sustainability for UK’s Student Government Association, and is the sustainability intern for the Urban Forest Initiative. Callie is incredibly passionate about environmental education and outreach, and hopes to continue to be able to share her love for the environment with others.
Dr. Kristin Faurest, Ph.D.
Kristin Faurest, Ph.D., is a public garden professional and landscape architecture instructor, author, and consultant. She holds a Ph.D. in landscape architecture from Corvinus University of Budapest and is co-author of several books, including most recently Community Built: Art, Construction, Preservation and Place (Routledge, 2017). She works at River Heritage Conservancy in Jeffersonville, Indiana, proudly serving as part of a small but mighty team acquiring land for, creating, and managing Origin Park, the nation’s first fully climate-adaptive park on the Southern Indiana shores of the Ohio River.
Sarah Ghanim is a senior at Tates Creek High School. Although she is unsure where she will be going to college right now, she will be majoring in Civil Engineering with a focus area in Environmental Engineering! Sarah has been passionate about our environment for as long as she can remember and strives everyday to be apart of a bigger change.
Dorottya “Dory” Gal is a senior at Henry Clay High School. She has been a member of the Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council (BYSC) since her freshman year of high school. Dorottya has been involved with the BYSC’s Town Branch Park and Waste & Recycling committees, co-chairing the Town Branch Park committee since her sophomore year. Dorottya’s efforts to promote sustainability in Lexington include writing an article about the connection between greenspaces, adolescent mental health, and the Covid-19 pandemic, co-facilitating the BYSC’s monthly meetings, and working within her school’s Go-Green Club to digitize the Fayette County Public School District’s previously paper-based Code of Conduct.
Lucy is an entrepreneur, a coach, and a Civity trainer. At Civity, she trains leaders to intentionally build relationships in their workplaces, communities, and beyond. When we create authentic and positive person-to-person connections across difference, we transform our communities into places where everyone knows that they belong.
Lucy is a Fulbright Scholar who received her master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Dominican University. She holds certifications in Mediation and Negotiation through the National Mediation Board.
For the past decade, Lucy has worked in the world of international higher education where she fostered partnerships abroad, facilitated trainings for inter-cultural communication, and built relational bridges within Omaha’s local and global communities.
Lucy’s international experience allowed her to live on four different continents which gave her unique insights into human relationships on personal, cultural, and global levels. These insights revealed the universality of the human condition and the understanding that when we access compassion and empathy for others, we find we have far more similarities than we do differences.
Dr. William C. Haneberg
Dr. Haneberg is Kentucky’s state geologist and director of the Kentucky Geological Survey, a research professor in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and a faculty affiliate in the Appalachian Studies Program, all at the University of Kentucky. His Kentucky-focused research portfolio includes geologic controls on indoor radon, digital terrain modeling and change detection, geohazard and risk assessment, and machine learning applications. Before coming to Kentucky in 2016, Dr. Haneberg spent 17 years as a consulting geologist working on geohazard and risk assessment projects around the world in geologic settings ranging from the ultra-deep-water seafloor to the high Himalaya. Dr. Haneberg was also a senior engineering geologist and assistant director of the New Mexico Bureau of Mines & Mineral Resources, a research division of New Mexico Tech, where he contributed to and led water resources and geohazard investigations around the state. He has been author or co-author of 160+ published scientific papers and abstracts, co-editor multi-author scientific monographs, and author of the award-winning book Computational Geosciences with Mathematica. Dr. Haneberg was also the 2011 AEG-GSA Richard H. Jahns Distinguished Lecturer in Engineering Geology and has held adjunct faculty positions at New Mexico Tech, Portland State University, and the University of Cincinnati. He earned a B.S. in geology from Bowling Green State University and both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology from the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Anna Goodman Hoover, M.A., Ph.D.
Anna Goodman Hoover, M.A., Ph.D. is a public health researcher and participatory communication scientist. Currently an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, she studies health and risk communication strategies designed to ensure that the best available scientific evidence informs individual, community, policy, and practice decisions. She has been involved in translating environmental health research with University of Kentucky’s Superfund Research Center for almost twenty years, including six as co-lead of the Research Translation Core. Dr. Hoover currently leads the environmental health communication hub for the UK Center for Appalachian Research in the Environmental Sciences (UK-CARES). She works directly with local stakeholders on numerous research projects that are intended to improve environmental health literacy and strengthen multisectoral communication. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Library of Medicine, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others.
Gerry Seavo James
Gerry Seavo James is the Together Outdoors Lead at the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, where he leads a cross-sector coalition of over 100 organizations, individuals, business leaders, federal agencies, activists, manufacturers and service providers who share a commitment to building an inclusive outdoor recreation community. Prior to ORR, Gerry founded Explore Kentucky, an outdoor-oriented social enterprise which works to expand outdoor accessibility, build environmental literacy, and improve quality of life for folks in Kentucky. He also works as a consultant on the EPA’s Recreation Economy for Rural Communities program. Gerry earned a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications Area from Campbellsville University. He is also an Air Force veteran, social artist, and photojournalist. Since 2010, Gerry has adopted the Commonwealth of Kentucky as his home.
Dr. Daniel Kahl, Ph.D.
Daniel Kahl, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in Community and Leadership Development and the Associate Director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) at the University of Kentucky. At the University, he teaches and advises graduate and undergraduate students. As a community development specialist with Cooperative Extension, Dan facilitates strategic planning and works with community groups to improve civic engagement strategies to creating change. He encourages communities to develop environmentally sustainable efforts to enhance community resiliency. Dr. Kahl also coordinates the Business Retention and Expansion program and works with local efforts to improve Community Leadership Development programs.
A project manager and senior landscape architect, Erin advocates for better public spaces within her community through active transportation planning, green infrastructure, and community engagement. Her breadth of work spans master planning, streetscapes, parks, campus design, commercial development, local stormwater incentive grants, corridor planning and she is leading construction administration for Town Branch Commons, a $20M greenway through downtown Lexington, Kentucky. Erin champions landscape architecture through her involvement with the American Society of Landscape Architecture, having served as Past-President of the Kentucky Chapter. She also serves as a guest critic and adjunct faculty member for University of Kentucky’s Department of Landscape Architecture. She serves as Chair on Lexington’s Courthouse Area Design Review Board and was recently appointed by Kentucky Governor to serve on the Kentucky Board of Landscape Architects.
R. Scott McReynolds
R. Scott McReynolds, the Executive Director of the Housing Development Alliance, has worked in the rehabilitation and construction of affordable housing in Eastern Kentucky since 1992. Under his leadership, the Housing Development Alliance has grown from a staff of one to over 40. Since 1996, the Housing Development Alliance has completed over 340 new homes, completed over 900 repairs for low-income homeowners, and developed 43 rental units. In recent years, HDA created Redbud Financial Alternates, a CDFI, to combat predatory consumer lending and Hope Building, a paid, on-the-job training program for people in recovery that produces workforce housing. HDA is on a mission to provide a housing solution to 1,000 families in just 10 years. Scott is on the board of the Fahe, the National Rural Housing Coalition, Invest Appalachia, and the Appalachian Impact Fund. When he is not working, he can be found hiking, running, wood carving, coaching youth soccer or baking pastries. Scott has a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology of Emory University.
Dr. Megan Poole
Dr. Megan Poole is an Assistant Professor of English who specializes in the rhetoric of science and science and technical writing, particularly focusing on how the biology of sensation informs and shapes theories of rhetoric.
Her current book project examines feminist epistemologies in the biological sciences that resist traditional reason-based approaches to scientific knowledge making. Dr. Poole is also the co-founder of the Environmental Health Literacy Coalition, a coalition of community leaders, grassroots activists, and academic scholars focused on making the science of air pollution more accessible for constituents in District 3, an area that borders Rubbertown.
Adrienne Godfrey Thakur is a native Lexingtonian. She serves as the Deputy Director of Recreation for Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Division of Parks and Recreation. Her work is varied, and impacts every citizen of Lexington as she is responsible for leading a team of dedicated staff in Natural Areas, Extended School Programs, Community Centers and Engagement, Cultural Arts and Events, Parks Marketing, summer camps and Therapeutic Recreation.
She is committed to providing equitable opportunities and quality recreational services to everyone in her community regardless of neighborhood, income, background, gender, ethnicity, physical or mental ability, or personal interests. Her equity work has given her opportunity to guide policy, operations and community engagement locally, at the state level and nationally. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from DePaul University, a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law, and a Master of Business Administration from Sullivan University.
She loves international travel, reading and gardening and lives in Lexington with her husband, children, dogs, cats and chickens.
Dr. Monica Unseld, Ph.D. MPH
Monica E. Unseld, Ph. D, MPH, was born and raised in Louisville, KY, and has roots in Huntsville, Alabama. She was born to Reginald B. and Barbara K. Unseld. Her parents never stifled her curiosity. They encouraged it with frequent trips to the library, books with at-home science experiments, and even sacrificing the dining room for her “lab.” Monica was allowed to use the bathtub and kitchen appliances as she explored her world. Without them, she would never have grown up to be a scientist. She also learned from her parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles the importance of justice work. She obtained her doctorate in biology in 2008 from the University of Louisville and her Master’s in Public Health from Benedictine University in 2018. Her physical training is in endocrine disruption and environmental signaling. During graduate school, she was introduced to the field of environmental justice. She has worked with grassroots environmental justice groups nationwide for over a decade. For three years, she worked at the Greater Louisville Project; a data think tank that reported metrics for the community to push for social change. She is blending her knowledge and passion for research and data to help uplift community researchers, increases just partnerships with Academia and the community, and help community partners challenge existing narratives about them by assisting them in collecting and creating messaging around the data.
DJ Wasson is currently appointed as the Chief of Staff at the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet serving the Secretary as he oversees the eleven (11) agencies within the Cabinet.
She previously served as Deputy Commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Insurance having returned to the Department on January 1, 2020 after retiring from state government in 2017. She previously worked at the Department from August 1992 through April 2017. During that time, she held many roles within the Department including paralegal, legislative liaison, Principal Assistant to the Commissioner, Division Director of Kentucky Access, and acting leadership roles in the Health and Managed Care Division, Financial Standards and Examination Division, Agent Licensing Division, Market Conduct Branch, and Local Government Premium Tax Unit. During her time at the Department, Ms. Wasson has been involved in the implementation of the state’s health care reform initiatives in the 1990’s, the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the management of the agency’s legislation and administrative regulations program.
Prior to her work at the Department, Ms. Wasson served as a litigation paralegal for a personal injury firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After leaving the Department in 2017 and prior to her return in 2020, Ms. Wasson served as an advisor at the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange and performed market conduct exams to determine compliance with the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
Ms. Wasson earned her degree in Paralegal Studies from Eastern Kentucky University. She also holds professional designations as an Accredited Insurance Examiner, Market Conduct Manager, and Professional, Academy for Health Management.
Ms. Wasson and her husband live in Shelby County and are the proud parents of three adult sons.
Dr. Ray Yeager
Dr. Yeager is an assistant professor of environmental medicine at the University of Louisville. His background is in health geography, with ongoing research focused on understanding the roll of greenness in human health. His current projects evaluate greenness on cardiovascular outcomes, air and noise pollution exposure, environmental equity, and vegetation-based climate adaptation.
Maya Meena Zachry
Maya Meena Zachry, 8, is a vivacious, articulate, and passionate ocean enthusiast. Her fight against plastic pollution began in 2018. She was touched by a video of a sea turtle crying in pain while rescuers tried to remove a plastic straw from its nose. At age 3, She was instantly called to action to launch her campaign against single use plastic straws. Maya’s response to a common question on why she wants to take action, “because I can, so I MUST!”
In the time following her launch of her campaign against single use plastic straws, Maya has been compelled to take action in her community beyond her environmental efforts. She answered a call to action and implores kids to join her. She has facilitated aid and support for causes close to her heart.
Maya, a third-grade student, frequently quotes Dr. Suess’ “The Lorax”: “Unless someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, NOTHING is going to get better, It’s NOT.”
Maya’s other interests include traveling, hiking, reading, art, dance parties and running. Her role models include Greta Thunberg, Bob Marley, Harriet Tubman, Al Gore, and Sally Ride.
Tresine Logsdon spearheads sustainability for Fayette County Public Schools by facilitating districtwide and supporting school-based sustainability priorities in environmental literacy, building efficiency, solid waste and outdoor education. She serves teachers, principals and students through direct instruction, program implementation and community partner development. Tresine has over 20 years of experience in classroom instruction and district support services. Her most recent classroom instruction was at Henry Clay High School teaching AP Environmental Science and Biology. Tresine is married to Matthew Logsdon, a Language Arts teacher at Henry Clay High School, and they have two daughters.
Sustainability and environmental education have been Tresine’s passion since beginning her teaching career. She is inspired everyday by FCPS teacher leadership and students’ inherent enthusiasm for sustainability, innovative school improvement project ideas, and voracious desire to learn and do more.
Amy Sohner is the Executive Director of Bluegrass Greensource, a nonprofit environmental education organization serving Central Kentucky. She has been with the organization since its inception, and became director in 2006. She has a background in environmental education, and a degree in Natural Resource Conservation and Management from UK.
Amy is a Certified Environmental Educator, a graduate of the Leadership Lexington Program, a board member of both Bluegrass Tomorrow and Keep Lexington Beautiful, and the Chair of both Women Leading Kentucky and the Lexington Stormwater Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Her hobbies used to include camping, hiking, making stained glass and viewing the Kentucky River palisades from her deck, but now you will usually find her running after her two daughters: Audrey and Eleanor.
Bluegrass Greensource works to empower the citizens of Central Kentucky to create a sustainable environment by encouraging small steps that can make a big impact toward a greener future for our communities. Since 2001, we have provided outreach to schools, community groups, businesses, local governments, and citizens throughout the region. For more information on Greensource’s campaigns which focus on water quality, waste reduction and energy efficiency, visit www.bggreensource.org.
Shane is the Campus Sustainability Officer for the University of Kentucky. For the past 20 years, He has developed and managed interdisciplinary programs and policies with a focus on sustainability, transformational learning, and the use of the campus as a living laboratory. In pursuit of these efforts he has cultivated strong collaborations with colleagues in every corner of the University and community and through these relationships, he has helped develop a robust institutional culture of sustainability.
Jacob Walbourn is Board Chair for Bluegrass Greensource and an attorney, currently serving as General Counsel for the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet in the administration of the 61st Governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear. Prior to his current government service, Jacob was a land use and development attorney for private clients in the central Kentucky area. Jacob is an alumnus of the Gatton College of Business & Economics at the University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee College of Law. In addition to his seven years of service on the Bluegrass Greensource Board, he also serves as an Elder at South Elkhorn Christian Church in Lexington and has previously served on the advisory board of the Downtown Lexington Partnership. Jacob enjoys music, travel, and is an enthusiastic supporter of the Kentucky Wildcats. Originally from Florence, Kentucky, Jacob now resides in Lexington with his wife Amanda, daughter Madelyn, and rescue dog Maui.