TNB Topics 2018

2018 Taking Nature Black Agenda

On the Frontlines of Environmental Justice

It is an unfortunate and tragic fact that the individuals and families who live and work in the nation's most polluted environments are most commonly people of color, people with little or no political influence, and people with limited financial resources. It's no accident. These are the communities most often targeted for industrial and commercial development that poses environmental hazards. 

Learn how you can take immediate action to fight for environmental justice, and become enlightened and inspired when you hear from crusaders on the forefront of a powerful movement working for a clean, safe and healthy environment for all.


Mustafa Santiago Ali
Senior Vice President
Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization
Hip Hop Council

Sacoby Wilson, PhD
Associate Professor
Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
University of Maryland-College Park

What Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Should Look Like

Some people mistakenly believe that "diversity" and "inclusion" are one and the same. Diversity and inclusion are actually two very different concepts, but their impacts in the workplace and the larger society are more profound when the two are implemented together. In fact, diversity is essentially meaningless without inclusion.

During this panel presentation, you'll hear from experts at the forefront of a dynamic and growing movement to ensure that diverse stakeholders play an active and inclusive role in the environmental movement.


Kevin T. Bryan
Senior Policy Director
Keystone Policy Center

Karen Driscoll
Senior Associate
The Raben Group

Randy K. Rowel
Environmental Consultant
RR & Associates

Nature in Your Neighborhood & Peer-to-Peer Conversations

Many people think of "nature" as some distant place, largely undisturbed by human activity. In reality, nature is all around us, including in big cities. In fact, many outstanding and accomplished environmental professionals developed their love of and respect for nature through their early outdoor adventures in their own urban neighborhoods. Now, many of these same professionals are reaching out to urban communities to encourage youth and others to explore environmental careers by exposing them to new and exciting possibilities.

In this session, you'll hear directly from leading professionals who turned their neighborhood experiences into successful and fulfilling green careers. Learn how they did it, and how you can, too.


Curtis Bennett
Director of Conservation and Community Engagement
National Aquarium

Ronda Chapman
Executive Director
Groundwork DC

Tonya Johnson
Park Naturalist
Maryland National-Capital Park and Planning Commission

Cherod Hicks
Recent Graduate
Morgan State University

Roots and Resistance: Preserving the Rich Eco-Cultural Legacies of Black Communities

African American communities have a rich legacy of protecting their ecosystems from corporate pollution as well as challenging land monopolization through the creation of heir property, the most widespread form of property ownership within the African American community.  Through the lens of two eco-activists, this session will elevate both grassroots and legal strategies to advance an alternative future rooted in racial equity, economic democracy, and planet sustainability.


Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq.
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Black Belt Justice Center

Fred Tutman
Patuxent Riverkeeper

Taking Control of Your Career in the Green Industry

"Green Jobs" help the environment as well as the local, regional and national economy. Find out what kinds of career opportunities exist today and into the future by joining an insightful discussion with these experts on jobs, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, HR, and the environmental movement.

You'll also hear great tips on effective networking and job search techniques during this engaging, interactive discussion.

And, of course, be sure to visit our day-long Green Job Fair!


Teri Brezner
Senior Fellow, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Environmental Leadership Program

Chanceé Lundy
Co-owner and Principal

Kristina Smith
Senior Consultant
Concordia Consulting

Beattra Wilson
National Program Manager,
Urban and Community Forestry
U.S. Forest Service

What You Need to Know to Engage Elected Officials

Laws and policies can have long-ranging and long-lasting impacts on both the physical and economic health of communities. That's why it's critical that individuals and communities understand the best ways to voice their concerns to government agencies and officials.

Experienced veterans on community engagement and environmental policy will share effective methods and best practices for interacting with government agencies and elected officials in order to achieve positive change.


Joseph J. James
Founder and President
Agri-Tech Producers, LLC

Vince Leggett
President and CEO
The Leggett Group USA

William J. Roberts, Esq.
Legislative Director
Office of U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD)

Dawone Robinson
Advocate, Urban Solutions Program
Natural Resources Defense Council

Joanne Throwe
Deputy Secretary
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Environmental Champions/ Closing Remarks/ Storytelling Performance

The 2018 Taking Nature Conference will salute Environmental Champions who have made a difference to advance nature and engage and empower diverse communities to enjoy and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the natural world.

Conference Chair Caroline Brewer will deliver closing remarks, and Audubon Naturalist Society Executive Director Lisa Alexander will extend thanks and issue a call-to-action.

To close the day, you are sure to enjoy and remember this unique and moving storytelling performance by Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu as she shares "A Hip Hop Frog Story of Dreams and Other Delicate Things in Our Irreplaceable World." 


Dr. Karen Wilson Ama’ Echefu
Cultural Historian, Singer and Storyteller

Lisa Alexander
Executive Director
Audubon Naturalist Society

Caroline Brewer
TNB Conference Chair
Director of Communications
Audubon Naturalist Society