Archive for Staff Profiles
Whitford (Whit) Remer is the new policy analyst for Environmental Defense Fund’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration project. In this role, Whit works to advance EDF’s federal coastal restoration policy goals. His key responsibilities include monitoring and responding to congressional developments, securing adequate funding for restoration efforts and preparing research to help increase public and decision-maker awareness of restoration efforts.
Whit comes to Washington, D.C. by way of New Orleans, where he'd lived since Hurricane Katrina. During his time in New Orleans, Whit was engaged in numerous recovery efforts in city, state and coastal realms. He was recognized by former Mayor Ray Nagin for his work on the New Orleans Master Plan and Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, served as a member of a water management think-tank and was a lead staffer on dozens of post-Katrina conferences and symposiums.
Whit holds a B.S. in Geography and Political Science from Florida State University, an M.U.R.P. (Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning) from the University of New Orleans and a J.D. with an Environmental Certificate from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. To Whit, the choice to pursue advanced degrees in New Orleans following the storm just made sense. “I knew after finishing my undergraduate studies, I wanted to elevate those degrees to the next level,” says Whit. “I thought to myself, ‘what better place to study environmental law than the Gulf Coast and urban planning in post-Katrina New Orleans?’ ” Little did Whit know that in his last year of law school, the Gulf Coast would witness the worst environmental disaster in the history of the nation–the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. “It’s really quite interesting; I was packing up my things in New Orleans, heading for D.C. to work for the EPA when the spill happened. To be able to experience the impact of the spill in New Orleans, but then turn around and have the opportunity in D.C. to help repair some of that damage is very rewarding.”
Whit is excited to join EDF and the rest of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration team!No Comments
Amanda is the Senior Coastal Louisiana Organizer for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Amanda works with community leaders, coastal scientists and government officials to raise awareness about coastal land loss and build support to move forward large-scale, comprehensive restoration projects. Amanda brings eight years of experience to her advocacy work in the Greater New Orleans area and also serves as the coordinator for the MRGO Must Go Coalition.
Before joining NWF, Amanda was a planner for an environmental consulting firm where she focused on waste management and recycling. Prior to her consulting role, she worked for the Sierra Club in Florida on a number of campaigns, including coastal protection. She holds a BA from the University of Mary Washington and an MPA from the University of South Florida.
“As a Coast Guard kid, I had the privilege of growing up in some of the most beautiful coastal areas in the nation, and I also have deep familial ties to the working waters of the Chesapeake Bay," says Amanda. "Those experiences led to a career in conservation, and I was drawn to the Mississippi River Delta campaign because of the urgency and immense need for restoration. Additionally, I'm excited by the potential for the projects we’re developing in Louisiana to help solve mounting coastal issues throughout the world."
“The best part about my job is definitely the people I work with: the communities, my campaign colleagues and our partners. There is an amazing passion and tireless drive to find solutions. It is energizing and inspiring. Every day, I’m reminded that our work is important and deeply needed.”No Comments
Ryan is the campaign coordinator for Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation and National Audubon Society’s joint Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign. He is responsible for fostering internal communication and coordination within the campaign. He also heads up various aspects of the campaign’s external communications strategy including social media outreach as well as managing the campaign’s website. Ryan, along with the campaign director and field director, comprise the coalition’s central coordination team.
Ryan’s previous experience lies in field organizing. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008, he was accepted into and completed Green Corps’ Field School for Environmental Organizing. During his time with Green Corps, Ryan worked on a multitude of campaigns–from mobilizing community leaders to support a solar incentives bill in Texas–to running a successful state-wide campaign allowing public schools to purchase milk free of the artificial growth hormone rBGH. Ryan most recently worked as an organizer with Food & Water Watch on a ballot initiative campaign to improve livestock care standards within the farming industry.
“I’m excited to be working on this campaign primarily for the opportunity to empower those disenfranchised individuals who have had their homeland and communities swept away by forces beyond their control," says Ryan. "By working to restore the Mississippi River Delta, we’re not only saving one of the nation’s most important and pristine environmental ecosystems, we’re also having a direct impact on the lives of those living in that region.”No Comments
David J. Ringer is the National Audubon Society’s communications director for the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Flyway. He leads communications strategy and activities for the Mississippi River Delta restoration campaign, broader Gulf Coast conservation and restoration efforts, citizen science, and forest, wetland and prairie work.
Before joining Audubon, David did PR and a wide variety of other communications and media work for several NGOs that work on sociolinguistic issues around the world, an experience which took him to more than 25 countries on six continents. He has also worked as a web developer and a biological field technician, and he authors articles on bird taxonomy and systematics and other natural history topics.
Having volunteered for local Audubon chapters since he was in high school, and with a lifelong interest in birds and other wildlife, David says he was excited to join the Audubon team full time in 2009. “Birds opened my eyes to the bigger realities of our own effects and dependence on the environment,” he says. “At Audubon, I get to work every day for the protection and flourishing of all life, including our own.”
“Everything comes together in the Mississippi River Delta,” he continued. “Land and water, river and sea, birds and people, past and future, failure and hope. This is a place where we can’t afford to fail – and we don’t have to. We can get this right, and the implications of that success will reach far beyond our borders and our own limited sense of time. And that's very exciting to me.”No Comments
Sean Crowley is a five-time PR award-winner who serves as Marketing-Communications Director for Environmental Defense Fund's national Land, Water & Wildlife Program and EDF’s California offices. His responsibilities include leading EDF’s PR campaign to restore the Mississippi River Delta. Sean generated more than 400 news stories about last summer’s BP oil disaster quoting EDF spokespersons. In 2008, his PR expertise helped EDF's farm bill campaign achieve a $4 billion hike in conservation funding over the prior farm bill.
Prior to coming to EDF, Sean was Senior Vice President for Media Relations for five years at M+R Strategic Services, where he served as a PR consultant for numerous corporate, labor and nonprofit clients. They included a successful coalition campaign–led by EDF–to stop the routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture because it causes antibiotic resistance in human medicine.
"I joined EDF because I knew first-hand about the staff’s extraordinary talent and that EDF has a decades-long track record of achieving extraordinary results,” says Sean. “EDF succeeds because it doesn't make ‘the perfect the enemy of the good.’ It fits with my political philosophy: I'm a bleeding heart pragmatist! "
Sean served as press secretary on the Gore presidential campaign and a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee Radio Speakers' Bureau on the Medicare prescription drug issue. He also was communications director for the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (SD), and press secretary for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and U.S. Representative Sander Levin (MI). Finally Sean has been a producer/writer for network TV shows and reporter for local TV news stations, including Fox’s "America's Most Wanted" and CNN Business News. Sean has a B.A. in English from Georgetown University.1 Comment
Stephanie is the field director for the joint Mississippi River Delta restoration campaign. She is responsible for running the field operations of the campaign, including writing and implementing a national field plan, contributing strategic and political analysis and working with staff to build grassroots support for restoration efforts.
Before joining the campaign, Stephanie was the executive director of the Southern Energy Network, a regional organization dedicated to working with youth to combat climate change, advance renewable energy and promote a smart, just energy economy. Previously, she worked for the Gulf Restoration Network, where she organized community members to help protect wetlands, stop water pollution, and minimize the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.
“Growing up in north Florida, my family spent a lot of time outdoors,” says Stephanie. “Whether fishing with my uncles along black bottom creeks, boating on the coast, or sitting on cypress knees, water and wetlands were a huge part of my culture and my childhood.”
When asked what she loves most about her role, Stephanie replied “David Muth’s crawfish boil! Or talking about hunting with Andy McDaniels. But in all seriousness, culture and connection to place are really important to me. It feels great to wake up every morning and know that I’m part of a team that is not only amazingly talented, but personally connected and passionately dedicated to protecting and restoring one of our country’s most important natural areas.”
Stephanie is a graduate of the Green Corps’ Field School of Environmental Organizing and has participated in the Rockwood Leadership program. She holds B.A.s in Political Science and Anthropology from the University of Georgia. Stephanie also serves on the Dogwood Alliance Board of Directors and the Energy Action Coalition Steering Committee.No Comments
Derek is the campaign director for National Wildlife Federation (NWF), National Audubon Society and Environmental Defense Fund's joint Coastal Louisiana Restoration project. He is responsible for the federal, state, grassroots and media components of this campaign, working with and directing staff of three national organizations and other local partners to secure and fund a comprehensive restoration plan for coastal Louisiana.
Prior to his current role, Derek was the climate safeguards manager at NWF, running their campaign to protect natural resources and wildlife through global warming legislation. Previously, he was the grassroots outreach manager as well as part-time field director for the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund. Derek has also acted as national director of the Sierra Student Coalition and was a member of the Green Corps class of 2004. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago.
"What fascinates me most about the Coastal Louisiana project – and why I was excited to take this job – is that the Mississippi River Delta is ground zero for solutions to sea level rise," says Derek. "As the seas rise, the land building restoration that is being pioneered in coastal Louisiana will be modified and used for restoring and strengthening the resilience of wetlands and delta around the country and around the world."
"My favorite part of the job is developing a national communications and outreach effort to support an integrated scientific and policy campaign. The challenges of Louisiana will not be solved by Louisiana alone. Figuring out how we can get people around the United States to see the importance of the Mississippi River Delta – and support comprehensive restoration efforts – is what I enjoy the most."No Comments
S. Ahmet Binselam is a geographic information systems (GIS) analyst in the National Audubon Society’s Baton Rouge office. He is Audubon’s lead environmental modeler and has analyzed shoreline change and marsh loss across the coast to inform restoration and conservation efforts, and he has led Audubon’s hydro-ecological modeling efforts for the Atchafalaya Basin.
He has participated mapping and modeling efforts in Louisiana since 1996, and his projects have included the official Louisiana state map, drought and rainfall mapping, storm surge modeling with the LSU Hurricane Center from 2002-08, and the map of Louisiana shoreline change from 1937-2000, which in 2008 won the Best Thematic Map award from the Cartography and Geographic Information Society and American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.
Ahmet holds master’s degrees in geography and systems science from Louisiana State University (LSU) and a bachelor’s degree in computer systems from Gazi University in his native Turkey. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree with focus on GIS and remote sensing at LSU and will graduate in August of this year.No Comments
David Muth joined the National Wildlife Federation at the beginning of 2011 after working for the National Park Service at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve since 1980. At Jean Lafitte, he managed the park’s natural and cultural resources, including the Barataria Preserve, a wetland in the upper basin on the outskirts of New Orleans that Congress set aside as a representative example of the delta ecosystem.
A native of New Orleans, David has had a lifelong love of the delta, including its landscapes, history, culture, and wildlife. He is an avid birder and has served as past President of the Louisiana Ornithological Society, an officer of Orleans Audubon Society, an advisor to Woodlands Trail and Park, and a regional editor covering Louisiana for North American Birds, a journal covering bird sightings and distribution.
At Jean Lafitte, David worked on boundary expansion, canal backfilling, exotic species control, shoreline protection, and beneficial use of dredged material to restore and enhance wetlands. In his new position at NWF, David looks forward to working with citizens, businesses, non-governmental organization (NGO) partners, scientists and government staff at every level to help bring about lasting and meaningful restoration of the delta ecosystem.2 Comments
Amy is a coastal conservation project manager at The Nature Conservancy, where she helps manage the Conservancy's oyster restoration projects in coastal Louisiana. Amy has more than 20 years of experience working with conservation non-governmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Belize Audubon Society and World Wildlife Fund. While working with the Belize Audubon Society, Amy helped start up and manage a nature reserve and then studied avian diversity, abundance, and the foraging behavior of the American Redstart in a shade coffee plantation in Gallon Jug, Belize for her thesis research project
Currently, Amy oversees the Conservany's oyster reef restoration projects in Vermillion Bay and the Grand Isle/St. Bernard Marsh area of coastal Louisiana. "Oyster reefs provide important benefits to wildlife and people," explains Amy. "They create vital habit for numerous marine species, including fish, shrimp and crabs that support valuable commercial and recreational fishing industries."
Amy holds a Bachelor's of Science in Resource Economics and a Master's of Science in Wildlife Biology from the University of Vermont.3 Comments