SEJ's 24th Annual Conference Speaker Information




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Inner Harbor/9th Ward flooding following Hurricane Katrina. Click to enlarge. Credit: Army Corps of Engineers.

Below are biographies (or links thereto) of speakers for SEJ's 24th Annual Conference, September 3-7, 2014, in New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as the sessions they're participating in. New Orleans conference home.

DRAFT: All Information Subject to Change

Alphabetical Speaker List

(a daily work-in-progress;
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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S |
T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z








Imelda Abano

  • Event: Wednesday, All-Day Workshop, Disasters Know No Borders, 3:00 p.m.
  • Imelda Abano, an SEJ board member, has been in the journalism profession since 1998. She is the Founder and President of the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists, Inc. (PNEJ) which was created in 2010, aiming to increase the quality and quantity of environmental reporting. Abano is the first Filipino to receive the 2009 Developing Asia Journalist of the Year award for her climate change story "Scorched Earth," which was organized by the Asian Development Bank Institute based in Tokyo, Japan. She is also the first Filipino journalist to receive the prestigious United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) Award for excellence in reporting on environment, humanitarian and development affairs in 2008. In 2002, Abano received the Asian Winner of the Global Awards on Environmental Reporting organized by Reuters and IUCN in Washington DC. She has been covering environmental and science issues for the UK-based Science and Development Network (scidevnet), the BusinessMirror and InterAksyon. Abano was among the first batch of journalists who launched the Climate Change Media Partnership (CCMP) in 2007 to cover the United Nations-backed climate change conferences. She then became a United Nations Framework of Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) fellow covering series of climate change negotiations from 2008 to present.


Ashley Ahearn

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 2, THE CRAFT 2, Better Reporting Through SmartPhones, 2:00 p.m.
  • Ashley Ahearn is the environment reporter at KUOW — National Public Radio in Seattle — and part of the regional multimedia collaborative project EarthFix. Before joining KUOW, Ashley was a producer and reporter for Living on Earth, a nationally aired environment program from Public Radio International. She has a masters in science journalism from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California and has completed reporting fellowships with the Vermont Law School, the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island and the Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources. She also serves on the board of the Society of Environmental Journalists. In her spare time Ashley enjoys riding vintage motorcycles, snowboarding and hiking in the Olympics and the Cascade mountain ranges of the Northwest.


Janaki Alavalapati




Melanie Bahnke


Cynthia Barnett


Annie-Laurie Blair


Donald Boesch


Seth Borenstein

  • Event: Friday, Opening Plenary, Covering Disasters: Getting the Story and Staying Alive, 9:00 a.m.
  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 1, FOIA Clinic: Ask the Gumshoes, 11:00 a.m.
  • Seth Borenstein is a national science writer for The Associated Press, the world's largest news organization, covering issues ranging from climate change to astronomy. He is the winner of numerous journalism awards, including the National Journalism Award for environment reporting in 2007 from the Scripps Foundation and the Outstanding Beat Reporting award from the Society of Environmental Journalists in 2008 and 2004. He was part of an AP Gulf of Mexico oil spill reporting team that won the 2010 George Polk Award for Environment Reporting and a special merit award as part of the 2011 Grantham environment reporting prizes. He was part of a team of finalists for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Columbia space shuttle disaster. A science and environmental journalist for more than 25 years, covering everything from hurricanes to space shuttle launches, Borenstein has also worked for Knight Ridder Newspapers' Washington Bureau, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He is the co-author of three out-of-print books, two on hurricanes and one on popular science. He has flown in zero gravity and once tried out for Florida Marlins (unsuccessfully). He also teaches journalism at the New York University’s Washington DC campus. Recent stories. Muck Rack bio and more stories.


Jane Braxton Little




Richard Campanella


Rhitu Chatterjee


Don Corrigan


Sarah Curry




Margaret Davidson


Joseph A. Davis

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 1, FOIA Clinic: Ask the Gumshoes, 11:00 a.m.
  • Joseph A. Davis has been writing about the environment since 1976. Joe currently edits SEJ's WatchDog newsletter as part of SEJ's freedom-of-information project, which promotes access to information for environmental journalists. He also compiles SEJ's daily news headlines, EJToday. Joe is something of a geek, having built his first computer in the mid-80s, about the time he did his first database reporting project. He lends a hand to SEJ's website.


Scott Dodd

  • Event: Wednesday, All-Day Workshop 1, The Essential Toolkit for Reporters and Freelancers, 1:30 p.m.
  • Event: Saturday, Concurrent Sessions 4, THE CRAFT 1, Are Those Your Jammies? Writer/Editor Relationships in the Wifi Age, 10:45 a.m.
  • As a newspaper reporter in the Carolinas, Scott Dodd often found himself speeding toward disasters — tornadoes, plane crashes, a chemical plant explosion — while everyone else was evacuating in the other direction. He reported on Hurricane Katrina while on loan to the Gulf Coast's Sun-Herald, whose coverage won the Pulitzer Prize for public service. More recently he has assigned disaster coverage for NRDC's OnEarth magazine, sending writers to the Gulf Coast after the BP oil spill or into the smoke to uncover the link between Western wildfires and climate change. He was recently promoted to editorial director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Peter Dykstra

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 2, Who’s Covering the Environment Today? From Al Jazeera’s Rise to Newspapers’ Demise, 11:00 a.m.
  • Peter Dykstra is publisher of Environmental Health News and its sister site, The Daily Climate. During a 17-year career at CNN, Dykstra was executive producer for science, environment, weather and technology coverage. He shared an Emmy award for CNN's coverage of the 1993 Mississippi River floods; a Dupont-Columbia Award for the network's reporting on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami; and a Peabody Award for the 2005 coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Prior to CNN, Dykstra was national media director for Greenpeace, setting up the organization's U.S. media operations. In 2009, he launched Science Nation, a video news series, for the National Science Foundation. From 2009 to 2011, he was a deputy director at The Pew Charitable Trusts, in charge of web, print and broadcast communications for the Pew Environment Group.




Justin Ehrenwerth


Barbara Ekwall

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE GLOBE, Feeding Eight Billion People in a Warming World, 11:00 a.m.
  • Barbara Ekwall is Senior Liaison Officer for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Since she joined FAO in 2007, she has managed several projects that developed tools and capacity to implement the Voluntary Guidelines for the Progressive Realization of the Right to Adequate Food in the Context of National Food Security (Right to Food Guidelines). Having served in the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Multilateral Division, she is a convinced multilateralist and a firm believer that human rights can make a difference in the lives of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition.




Dan Fagin


Jay Famiglietti


David Fischhoff

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE GLOBE, Feeding Eight Billion People in a Warming World, 11:00 a.m.
  • David Fischhoff is Chief Scientist for The Climate Corporation where he leads the company’s R&D efforts in modeling, measurements and field research. Prior to this role, David was Vice President, Technology Strategy and Development for Monsanto Company. David spent 30 years in Monsanto’s R&D division and was a key architect in the growth and development of Monsanto’s seeds and traits platforms. He is the inventor of insect resistant crop plants and holds multiple patents on this technology. David was also the founder of Monsanto’s genomics program, and served as President of Cereon Genomics, a Monsanto subsidiary formed in collaboration with Millennium Pharmaceuticals. David holds an S.B. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from The Rockefeller University.


Eric Freedman




Gerald Galloway Jr.


Christy George

  • Event: Friday, Beat Dinner 2, Gimme That Old Time Religion, 7:00 p.m.
  • Christy George, an SEJ board member, is an independent radio and television producer in Portland, Oregon. Her most recent projects have been for Oregon Public Broadcasting's TV show, "Oregon Field Guide," and the PBS program, "History Detectives." She's also working on a book about climate change and social change. Christy initially moved to Oregon to create a bureau covering the intersection of business and the environment for the American Public Media business show, "Marketplace," and later hosted the weekly radio show, "Oregon Territory." Before that, Christy edited foreign and national news for The Boston Herald and covered politics for WGBH-TV and WBUR-FM. She started out as a volunteer, covering noise and air pollution and neighborhood encroachment by Logan Airport for The East Boston Community News — a dream job that first introduced her to the environment beat. Christy has won Emmys in both the Northwest and New England, a Gracie Allen Award, an Edward R. Murrow award, a first-place prize in the New York Festivals and numerous AP and SPJ awards. Her special, "Liquid Gold," on how water is bought, sold and marketed like any other commodity, was part of "Marketplace's" 1998 winning submission for a Columbia-DuPont Silver Baton award. A high school graduate, she was a 1990-91 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.


Emily Gertz

  • Event: Wednesday, All-Day Workshop 1, The Essential Toolkit for Reporters and Freelancers, 1:30 p.m.
  • SEJ board member Emily Gertz is a freelance journalist based in New York City, covering national and international stories on the environment, science, politics, and technology. Her work has appeared in diverse publications, from magazines like Rolling Stone, Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and Dwell, to digital news outlets like Talking Points Memo,, Grist, Ensia, and Emily was a founding blogger at Worldchanging, the award-winning web site that in the mid-2000s pioneered solutions-oriented coverage of environment, climate, human rights, politics, technology, design, cities, business, and more. She also contributed to the Abrams book based on the site’s reporting, "Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century." Emily has co-authored two innovative books on do-it-yourself electronics, "Environmental Monitoring with Arduino" and "Atmospheric Monitoring with Arduino," both for Maker Media. She is at work on a third related book, "Sensor Networks," for O’Reilly Media, and contributed to the 2013 DaCapo book "The Science Writers’ Handbook." Emily has a masters in environmental studies from the University of Oregon, and got her start in journalism as a writer and editor of "The Bear Deluxe," an independent arts-and-environment ‘zine out of Portland, Ore., overlapped with an 18-month stint as environmental and outdoors news producer for, the online arm of The Oregonian newspaper. She has received fellowships from SEJ, The National Association of Science Writers, COMPASS, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Knight Science Journalism at MIT Boot Camps.


Erica Gies


Adam Glenn


William (Monty) Graham


Elizabeth Grossman


Sharon Guynup

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE LAND, Endangered Species: If We Can't Save Charismatic Big Cats, What Can We Save? 11:00 a.m.
  • Sharon Guynup's work as a journalist and photographer has taken her to Eastern Siberia's haven for grizzly bears, through various Latin American jungles, to Assam's last haven for Indian rhinos, by boat to the river towns along Myanmar's Irrawaddy River, across Cuba — and she lived in Turkey for a year on a Fulbright Fellowship. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Popular Science,, Audubon, and other outlets. She blogs for National Geographic Cat Watch and is author of "Tigers Forever: Saving the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat." She holds an MA from New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program, where she has also served as an adjunct professor.




David Hammer

  • Event: Thursday, Tour 1, After BP: Are We Really Prepared Offshore? 6:30 a.m.
  • David Hammer is an investigative reporter at WWL-TV, New Orleans' CBS affiliate. He worked for 16 years as a wire and newspaper reporter, including six years at The Times-Picayune, but made the jump to television in 2012 when the 175-year-old daily cut back to three days a week. Hammer led The Times-Picayune's investigation of what went wrong on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and broke several stories about key engineering decisions that contributed to the BP well blowout. The coverage won him first prize for best beat reporting of 2010 from the Society of Environmental Journalists. He was also part of a team of journalists that won the National Journalism Awards’ 2010 Edward J. Meeman Prize for environmental reporting and The Associated Press Managing Editors’ Frank Allen Award for the year’s best overall news writing in Louisiana and Mississippi. At WWL, Hammer has continued to cover the BP spill aftermath and the federal offshore safety agency that was created as a result of the disaster. His TV and online series "Safety Last" challenged the agency’s hands-off approach and exposed new pollution cover-ups on oil platforms.


Marilyn Heiman


David Helvarg

  • Event: Friday, Lunch Breakout Session 1, In-Depth Stories of Our Troubled Seas, 12:15 p.m.
  • David Helvarg is an author, founder of Blue Frontier, a marine conservation and policy group, and co-founder of the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards. Among his six books are "The War Against the Greens," "Rescue Warriors" and his latest, "The Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair with the Sea." Helvarg worked as a war correspondent in Northern Ireland and Central America, covered a range of issues from military science to the AIDS epidemic, and reported from every continent including Antarctica. An award-winning journalist, he produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, LA Times, National Geographic, Popular Science and Parade. He’s done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica. He is a licensed private investigator, body-surfer, scuba diver and long-time SEJ member.


Brian Howard




Jeremy Jackson

  • Event: Friday, Lunch Breakout Session 1, In-Depth Stories of Our Troubled Seas, 12:15 p.m.
  • Dr. Jeremy Jackson is a globally respected marine ecologist and paleontologist who has worked as Ritter Professor of Oceanography and founder and director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps as well as senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Jackson's research has captured the dramatic environmental decline of the oceans over the past 200 years. His current work focuses on the future of the world’s oceans, given recent human inputs that have fundamentally changed marine ecosystems and led to "the rise of slime." Although Jackson's work has garnered him the nickname Dr. Doom, he believes that successful management and conservation strategies can renew the ocean’s health. He has spoken throughout the world, published numerous articles in Science and other publications, won numerous awards and is working on his eighth book which will focus on the Gulf of Mexico. He is also a long-time research diver in Panama, the Caribbean and elsewhere.




Christine Klein

  • Event: Sunday, Mississippi River and Its Environs Authors, 8:30 a.m.
  • Christine A. Klein is Chesterfield Smith Professor of Law and UF Research Foundation Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She obtained her B.A. degree from Middlebury College (Vermont), J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law, and LL.M. from Columbia University (New York). She began her career as a water rights litigator in the Colorado Office of the Attorney General, and has developed expertise in both eastern and western water law. Her research and teaching focus on the areas of property law, natural resources law, and water law. She grew up in St. Louis where the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers join, and has been fascinated by rivers ever since. She is the author of "Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster" (NYU Press 2014, with co-author Sandra Zellmer) and of "Natural Resources Law: A Place-Based Book of Problems and Cases" (3d ed. Aspen Publishers, 2013, with Cheever & Birdsong).


Michael Kodas


Lindsey Konkel


Bill Kovarik

  • Event: Wednesday, All-Day Workshop, Disasters: The Science — Contaminants in the Environment, 8:30 a.m.
  • Bill Kovarik is a Professor of Communication at Unity College in Maine. He teaches science and environment writing, environmental history and media law. He has also served on the faculty at Radford University, Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland, the University of Western Ontario in Canada and the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Professional work has included the Associated Press, the Charleston Post, the Baltimore Sun, columnist Jack Anderson and a variety of trade and environmental publications.




Bruce Lanphear




Laurie Macdonald

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE LAND, Endangered Species: If We Can't Save Charismatic Big Cats, What Can We Save? 11:00 a.m.
  • Wildlife zoologist Laurie Macdonald (B.A. Univ. of Oregon, M.S. Univ. of South Florida) is the Florida Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife, a national non-profit conservation organization working to protect biological diversity, with an emphasis on the recovery of endangered species. Laurie is the conservation group representative on the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Florida Panther Recovery Implementation Team and serves as a board member for the national Endangered Species Coalition and the Everglades Law Center.


Sharan Majumdar


Robert McClure

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 1, FOIA Clinic: Ask the Gumshoes, 11:00 a.m.
  • Event: Saturday, Concurrent Sessions 3, THE CRAFT 1, When the Big Story Breaks on Your Watch — Prying Information from the Government, 9:00 a.m.
  • Robert McClure, an SEJ board member, is Executive Director of InvestigateWest, an independent reporting studio in Seattle, WA. A Florida native, he spent a decade on the beat at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where he wrote numerous articles pointing out the need for Everglades restoration in the years leading up to launching of the planet's largest ecosystem restoration there. He also was awarded a prestigious Knight-Wallace journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he studied environment and economics and concluded that he must move West to tackle the really big environmental stories. That's what he did, taking a job with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In a decade at the P-I, he produced five multi-part projects on mining, endangered species, and the need for environmental restoration of Puget Sound and the Duwamish River. He has covered climate change and other environmental news topics in his blog, Dateline Earth. When the P-I ceased publishing in March 2009, McClure was instrumental in helping launch InvestigateWest, a start-up non-profit news venture, to carry on investigative and narrative reporting on the West. His professional career began at United Press International's Miami and Tallahassee bureaus. McClure is the recipient of numerous state, regional and national journalism awards including the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism.


John McLachlan


Judy Mills

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE LAND, Endangered Species: If We Can't Save Charismatic Big Cats, What Can We Save? 11:00 a.m.
  • Judy Mills is an internationally recognized authority on the geopolitics underlying the endangered-species trade. While living in Hong Kong, she headed the East Asia office of the wildlife-trade monitoring network TRAFFIC. She later guided the creation of World Wildlife Fund's global strategy for saving wild tigers, before joining Conservation International. At Save The Tiger Fund, she founded and led the International Tiger Coalition, an alliance of 42 organizations against farming tigers to make luxury goods. She is now a consultant to the MacArthur Foundation on Americans' response to climate change. Her book "Blood of the Tiger: A Story of Conspiracy, Greed, and the Battle to Save a Magnificent Species" will be published by Beacon Press in January 2015.


Timothy Morris




Kim Nibarger


Michelle Nijhuis


Bryan Norcross


Kristin Nowell

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE LAND, Endangered Species: If We Can't Save Charismatic Big Cats, What Can We Save? 11:00 a.m.
  • Kristin Nowell has coordinated the international expert membership of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group for 25 years to advance the conservation of the world's 37 species of wild cat. She has worked on major initiatives for big cats and has helped raise funds for projects to study the world’s lesser known smaller cats. She travels widely from her home base — a solar-powered cabin in the Maine woods — and has authored many publications on issues impacting wild cats, from illegal trade to conservation impacts of trophy hunting to conservation strategies on national, regional and global level — and she co-authored the 2014 report to CITES on the state of Asian big cats.




Patrick Parenteau


Meaghan Parker

  • Event: Wednesday, All-Day Workshop, Disasters Know No Borders, 3:00 p.m.
  • Meaghan Parker, an SEJ board member, has served as the Writer/Editor for the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars since November 2003. She is the editor of the ECSP Report and the founding editor of the daily blog New Security Beat, both of which focus on the connections among environmental, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human security, and foreign policy. Her work at the Wilson Center has won five Global Media Awards for Population Reporting. Prior to joining the Center, she was Manager of Research and Internal Communications at PPL Global, a subsidiary of Fortune 500 energy company PPL Corporation, where she researched international investments and renewable energy policy.


John Peabody


Christiana Peppard


Juliet Pinto

  • Event: Thursday, Tour 8, Risky Business: How New Orleans’ Rebuilt Levee System Is So Much Better, But Not Good Enough, 9:30 a.m.
  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 2, THE CRAFT 3, Collaboration: Marrying Environmental Research with Environment Journalism, 2:00 p.m.
  • Juliet Pinto, Ph.D., associate professor at Florida International University, focuses her research and teaching around environmental and scientific communication in Spanish- and English-language media. Dr. Pinto co-produced the documentary, "South Florida's Rising Seas," which aired on public television in January 2014. She has developed interdisciplinary classes in environmental journalism and communication, and has taken students to the Galápagos to report on issues pertaining to resource use and management there. Her research has been published in journals such as Science Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, and Communication Law and Policy, among others, and she has won awards in service, research and achievement. A member of the Beta Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda honor society, she earned her doctorate in communication from the University of Miami, her master's in marine affairs and policy from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and bachelor's degree in environmental science from Boston University.




Nancy Rabalais

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, POLLUTION, Dead Zones, Hypoxia and Nutrient Loading: Is Pollution Trading the Answer? 11:00 a.m.
  • Event: Friday, Lunch Breakout Session 1, In-Depth Stories of Our Troubled Seas, 12:15 p.m.
  • Dr. Nancy Rabalais is a professor and executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCO) located in the town of Cocodrie, LA. Through her work she has made the Gulf of Mexico’s oxygen-depleted algae-spawned Dead Zone an issue of global concern. Rabalais has dedicated 30 years to the annual monitoring of the Dead Zone that recently grew to the size of New Jersey. She has worked tirelessly to find ways to reduce the fertilizer runoff down the Mississippi that feeds this seasonal disaster, testifying in front of Congress and at regional, national and global science and policy forums. She has met with farmers and agricultural associations up and down the river to find solutions beneficial both to farmers in the U.S. heartland and the health of the Gulf including fishermen, residents, tourists and others who depend on it. She has written for Science, Nature and other peer-reviewed publications and has received numerous awards including a MacArthur "Genius Grant" in 2012. She is an accomplished research diver. More.


David Rogers


Tatiana Rynearson




Marc Seamon


Rebecca Shaw

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE GLOBE, Feeding Eight Billion People in a Warming World, 11:00 a.m.
  • Rebecca Shaw, Ph.D., is a leading scientist and recognized thought leader on climate change, biodiversity and ecosystems services. She is a member of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and was a lead author on the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, Working Group 2, released in 2014. More.


Bruce Shapiro

  • Event: Wednesday, All-Day Workshop 1, Aftershocks: Trauma, Climate Change and Environmental Journalism, 11:45 a.m.
  • Bruce Shapiro is executive director of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, encouraging innovative reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy worldwide from the Center’s headquarters at Columbia University in New York City. An award-winning reporter on human rights, criminal justice and politics, Shapiro is a contributing editor at The Nation and U.S. correspondent for Late Night Live on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National.


Kate Sheppard

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 2, Who’s Covering the Environment Today? From Al Jazeera’s Rise to Newspapers’ Demise, 11:00 a.m.
  • Event: Saturday, Concurrent Sessions 3, OCEANS AND COASTS, BP Spill — The Restoration: How Are Billions of Dollars Being Spent? 9:00 a.m.
  • Kate Sheppard, an SEJ board member, is a senior reporter and the environment and energy editor at the Huffington Post. She previously reported for Mother Jones, Grist, and the American Prospect. Her writing has also been featured in the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, High Country News, The Center for Public Integrity, In These Times, and Bitch. Her reporting has been recognized with awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Online News Association, and Planned Parenthood. She is also currently a graduate student in the School of Communication at American University, studying media entrepreneurship.


Sara Shipley Hiles


Danna Smith

  • Event: Saturday, Concurrent Sessions 3, ENERGY, Turning Trees into Wood Pellets: Biomass Energy and Southern Forest Health, 9:00 a.m.
  • Danna Smith, executive director and co-founder of Dogwood Alliance, guides and manages the organization’s programmatic work. She has successfully negotiated forest protection commitments from some of the world’s largest paper producers and corporate consumers, and serves as the Carbon Canopy co-chair. She earned her law degree from Emory University and earned her environmental stripes as a campaigner with Greenpeace.


Susan Spicer

  • Event: Friday, Beat Dinner 3, Is Sustainable Seafood an Oxymoron? From Shrimp Farming to Jellyfish Harvesting, 7:00 p.m.
  • Susan Spicer is chef/owner of Bayona and Mondo restaurants and Wild Flour Breads. She has been cooking in New Orleans for 33 years and has received numerous culinary awards, including James Beard’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. She is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Artisans, Farmers and Chefs, as well as Chefs Collaborative and is active in many community events and fundraisers. More.


Dave Spratt

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 3, Continuing Education for Journalists: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Fellowships, Mentoring, MOOCs and Computer-Based Journalism Training But Were Afraid To Ask, 11:00 a.m.
  • Dave Spratt is chief executive officer of the Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources (, an organization dedicated to helping journalists understand natural resource and environment issues through immersive, multi-day field trips that take them into the field to see things firsthand. For more than 20 years, Dave was a fixture at daily newspapers in Colorado and Michigan, writing and editing sports, features and news, nurturing young writers and staring longingly out the window where the real action was. Dave left inky fingers behind in 2009, when he took a buyout from the Detroit News. Dave began helping IJNR develop programs in 2010 and replaced Frank Allen as CEO in early 2012. Dave is a lifelong lover of the outdoors and frequent end user of clean air, clear water and healthy habitat.


Greg Stone

  • Event: Friday, Lunch Breakout Session 1, In-Depth Stories of Our Troubled Seas, 12:15 p.m.
  • Dr. Greg Stone is senior vice president and chief scientist for Oceans at Conservation International and was with the New England Aquarium before that. He is a leading authority on marine conservation and policy and recently helped launch the global Ocean Health Index. He also led the effort to create the world's largest marine protected area around the Phoenix Islands in Kiribati, a Pacific nation whose survival is threatened by sea-level rise. For his accomplishment on the Phoenix Islands, he was named one of National Geographic Society's Heroes of 2007. Stone has produced an award-winning series of marine conservation films and lectures throughout the world. He also writes prolifically for science and popular publications including Nature and National Geographic. His most recent book, Underwater Eden, was released in December 2012. He has over 5,000 dives and lived for a month in an undersea habitat. More.


Ben Strauss


Wilma Subra


Meera Subramanian




Thomas Thoren


Eugene Turner




Tim Wheeler


Andrew Whelton

  • Event: Friday, Concurrent Sessions 2, POLLUTION, What We Don't Know About Chemicals May Hurt Us, 2:00 p.m.
  • Dr. Andrew Whelton is an Environmental Engineering professor at Purdue University. Recently, he and his research team provided clarity during the 2014 West Virginia Water Crisis, as well as defined quality of life issues caused by green buildings, nuclear power plant infrastructure, and toxic chemicals released by emerging infrastructure repair technologies. He began his career as a US Army civilian engineer assisting DoD research, detect, and respond to drinking water contamination incidents. After recognizing the need to understand how chemicals interact with water and energy system materials, he worked as a researcher at Virginia Tech, NIST, and the University of South Alabama. In 2014, he and his team responded to the West Virginia Water Crisis and he was tapped by the Governor to help investigate the disaster. Throughout the 2014 West Virginia Water Crisis, Andrew and his team communicated their scientific findings through public meetings, various electronic media, responded to hundreds of personal emails and telephone calls from residents, and media interviews. More information.


Carolyn Whetzel

  • Event: Saturday, Concurrent Sessions 3, POLLUTION, Cleaning Up the Air and Carbon Too, 9:00 a.m.
  • Carolyn Whetzel is an environmental reporter for Bloomberg BNA, a private publisher headquartered in Washington, D.C. that covers legislative developments, federal and state laws and regulations, court decisions, and economic trends. Whetzel is based in California and covers a variety of state environmental issues including air and water quality, hazardous wastes, chemicals, and energy since 1992. Her work appears primarily in Bloomberg BNA's Daily Environment Report, Environment Reporter, Toxics Law Reporter, Chemical Regulation Reporter, Occupational Safety & Health Reporter, and Daily Report for Executives. Whetzel joined BNA in 1970 while attending George Washington University, but left four years later to travel and move to California. Before rejoining BNA, which Bloomberg acquired in 2011, she wrote for in-house publications for several companies and institutions and was a freelance writer in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Dallas.


Charlie Williams


Nsedu Witherspoon


Amy Wold

  • Event: Thursday, Tour 4, Chemical Corridor: Industry, Community and Environmental Health Impacts, 7:30 a.m.
  • Amy Wold is the environmental reporter at The Advocate newspaper based in Baton Rouge, La. She is a graduate of Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. After working for two newspapers in the Northwest, she moved to Houma, La. in 1999 and then to Baton Rouge in 2000. She’s covered numerous hurricanes including Katrina, Gustav and Ike as well as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.


Robert Wyss