OUR TEAM

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LYNNE CHERRY

Founder, Director, Film Producer

Producer/director Young Voices for the Planet film series. Author, illustrator, lecturer on climate change messaging and environmental education. Author/illustrator of 30 award-winning children’s books including best-sellers The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild. Lynne received her BA from Tyler School of Art; a Masters in History at Yale University. She has had artist-in-residencies at Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution and Cornell University and science-writing fellowships from the Marine Biological Lab and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was a winner of a Metcalf Fellowship and the Brandwein Prize. Her academic writings include a chapter in “Written in Water” published by National Geographic Books, a chapter “Kids Can Save Forests” in “Treetops At Risk” edited by Dr. Margaret Lowman (Springer) and a chapter “Teaching Climate Change With Hope and Solutions: Lessons from a Film Project” in the book “Education in Times of Environmental Crisis.” (Routledge, 2016)

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GARY BRAASCH

Co-Founder, Co-Producer, Project Photographer

Co-Founder of Young Voices on Climate Change, Co-Producer of the YVFP films and Project Photographer/Photojournalist. Gary’s award-winning photographs appeared in National Geographic, TIME, LIFE, Discover and Smithsonian magazines. His many awards included the Ansel Adams Photographer of the Year Award. Observing the Arctic and Antarctic melting, he interviewed IPCC climate scientists worldwide and photographed the ecosystems they studied for his large format book “Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World”. This book spawned the children’s book How We Know What We Know about Our Changing Climate, co-authored with Lynne Cherry, that won 15 awards including the AAAS/Subaru Award, AAAS’s Best Middle School Science Book of the Year and the American Meteorological Society’s children’s book award.

In March, 2016, while snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to document the effects of climate change-induced coral bleaching, Gary Braasch, tragically, lost his life. Please see our In Memoriam page for more information on Gary and to leave comments.  Gary is profoundly missed by us all.

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ALISA CARBONE

Administrative Assistant, Outreach Coordinator,
Film Editor, Videographer

YVCC Film Editor and Administrative Assistant. Alisa has worked with numerous non-profit organizations providing video and administrative support to help spread awareness and advocacy. She developed the first television program produced by people with disabilities, Ablevision, that has won numerous awards and accolades for providing accessibility for people with disabilities in the arts.  She also has an extensive teaching background for video production, working with numerous groups of people of different skill levels to get them excited about the art of storytelling.

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PETER RHODES

Co-Producer, Film Editor
Board of Advisors

Young Voices for the Planet films Co-Producer and Editor, YVCC Board of Directors; Independent Film Editor trained at BBC in London; Specializes in documentary storytelling. Peter is the editor of theYoung Voices for the Planet films Olivia’s Birds and the Oil Spill, Longing for a Local Lunch, We Sing Out, Save Tomorrow and the two half-hour television programs being distributed through American Public Television to 60 public television stations nationwide. Since moving to the US in 1986 he has accumulated more than 50 credits for films for PBS’s Frontline/Nova, BBC, and at major film festivals. His most recent work includes The Last Mountain, which was an Official Selection at Sundance; Frontline: Inside the Meltdown; and Typhoid Mary: The Most Dangerous Woman in America for PBS’s NOVA.

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REBECCA BELL

Curriculum Writing Team
Board of Directors

YVCC Science & Education Consultant, Board of Directors, Staff Support. Her clients include: National Geographic Society, Maryland Public Television, and Polar Bear International. For 10 years, she served as an Environmental Education Specialist of the Maryland State Department of Education and was a leader at bringing environmental issues to Maryland public school curriculum. Bell has been honored as a Maryland Middle School Science Teacher of the Year, was selected to participate in NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program to help scientists monitor changes in ecosystems. She was designated in 2009 as the Women’s History Month Honoree by the National Women’s History Project.

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SUE BUMPOUS

Curriculum Writing Team, Staff Support, Board of Directors

YVCC Board of Directors. Sue manages volunteers in creating conference and awards programs. Formerly a Program and Communications Manager for the North American Association for Environmental Education, Sue wrote grant proposals, managed grants and contracts, wrote material for the NAAEE website and newsletter, recruited interns and managed a conference. She has been filling many roles for YVCC.

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DAVID CONRAD

Consultant, Grant Writing
Board of Directors

YVCC Consultant, Board of Directors, Independent consultant on Water Resources Policy for Pew and other organizations. Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) PI on national study of impacts and effects of federal programs on development and conservation of the nation’s floodplains. Consultant for Committee of the Water Protection Network, a national network of more than 190 conservation and civic organizations focused on improving federal water resources policies and programs for the 21st century. Retired from National Wildlife Federation after serving 23 years in DC as their senior water resources specialist.

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MARY FORD

Curriculum Writing Team
Board of Directors

YVCC’s Writing Team, YVCC Board of Directors, National Geographic Education Program Manager, has managed the education programs of National Audubon, Project WILD, World Wildlife Fund, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. She has a MA from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BA in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard. She has taught in nature centers and schools nationwide and has conducted conservation biology research and environmental education throughout the U.S., Latin America, Borneo and Siberia.

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DR. SYLVIA EARLE

Board of Directors

YVCC Board of Directors, Founder/Director of Partner Organization Mission Blue, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, American oceanographer and chief scientist for NOAA. Has won over100+ international awards including the 2009 TED Prize for her proposal to establish a global network of marine protected areas. She led the Sustainable Seas Expeditions to study National Marine Sanctuaries sponsored by National Geographic and funded by the Goldman Foundation. She led several research trips during the Gulf War and following the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Author of 125+ publications she has starred in many TV productions and lectures internationally in more than 60 countries.

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DR. MEG LOWMAN

Secretary, Consultant
Board of Directors

YVCC Secretary/Consultant, Board of Directors, Chief of Science and Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. Founding Director of the Nature Research Center of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Professor at N.C. State University.; Climate Change Advisor to Florida’s CFO. Champion of forest conservation who pioneered the field of canopy ecology, “maps” the canopy for biodiversity, and facilitates policy solutions through science education. V.P. of the Explorers Club and Ecological Society of America; Treasurer of Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation; Director of Florida’s TREE Foundation. Awards include Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Conservation Author of 100+ peer-reviewed scientific papers. Her book Life in the Treetops featured on the cover of the NY Times Book Review.

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DR. MARK PLOTKIN

Consultant, Board of Directors

YVCC Consultant, Board of Directors, Founder and Director of Amazon Conservation Team. For 30 years, Mark, with his wife Liliana Madrigal,  has successfully worked to protect the Tirio Indians and their lands in the Amazon rain forest of Suriname and many other Amazon tribes and lands. Mark was the star of the IMAX movie AMAZON and is a recipient of the Skoll Social Entrepreneurs Award which comes with a 1 million dollar prize. His acclaimed book Tales of A Shaman’s Apprentice introduced the ethnobotany of the Amazon Indians to the general public. With Lynne Cherry, he wrote the children’s book The Shaman’s Apprentice, now used to teach ethnobotany to the world’s children including the Tirio Indian children in the Amazon.

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JOHN R. SEYDEL

Board of Directors

YVCC Secretary/Consultant, Board of Advisors, John R. Seydel is the President, CEO of RNN: The Revolution Nation Network @RNationNetwork and Trustee elect at the Turner Foundation. He is also the Sustainability Director for the city of Atlanta, Georgia.

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JULIANA TEXLEY

YVCC Curriculum Coordinator
Board of Directors

YVCC Consultant, Board of Directors, Co-author of ‘Empowering Young Voices for the Planet’ the teacher guide for the YVFP films; Curriculum coordinator for PBS Learning Media’s Young Voices for the Planet Web Platform. Past President of National Science Teachers Association; Editor of the NSTA Journal The Science Teacher for 12 years. Spent 25 years as a science teacher in grades K–12 and nine years as a school superintendent. Served as an officer of the Association of Presidential Awardees in Science Teaching. She teaches college biology and technology and develops online curricula for students and teachers. She has an MA in biology and Ph.D. in curriculum development and reviews proposals for NSTA Recommends and the National Science Foundation.

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DR. PAUL WALKER

Consultant and Event Planning
Board of Directors

YVCC Consultant, Board of Directors. Int’l Director of Environmental Security and Sustainability of Green Cross, Dr. Walker is the winner of the 2013 Right Livelihood Award, the “alternative Nobel.” Paul has helped to permanently eliminate over 65,000 metric tons of chemical weapons and millions of munitions in eight countries. He has worked, spoken, and published widely on international security, threat reduction, non-proliferation, demilitarization, and environmental security for 30+ years. In 1994 he took part in the first on-site inspection by US officials of one of seven declared Russian chemical weapons stockpiles. At the annual Chemical Weapons Convention conference in The Hague in 2009 he led the effort to establish the CWC Coalition. A founder of the Fissile Material Working Group, he has also supported the four Nuclear Security Summits in DC, Seoul, South Korea, and Amsterdam, 2010-16.

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DR. THOMAS LOVEJOY

Board of Advisors

YVCC Board of Advisors. Tom Lovejoy, Professor at George Mason University, Biodiversity Chair and Past President of the Heinz Center and Conservation Fellow at National Geographic received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Council of Science and the Environment (NCSE). For nearly 40 years, he hosted politicians, celebrities, and individuals at his Amazon research camp.(In 1989, Lynne Cherry researched her classic rain forest children’s book The Great Kapok Tree there.) Tom conceived the long-term study on forest fragmentation in the Amazon, coined the term “Biological diversity”, originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps and worked on the interaction between climate change science, environmental policy and biodiversity for 20+ years. He founded the public television series “Nature”. He served as Advisor to the UN Foundation and the World Bank, Assistant Secretary to the Smithsonian and Executive VP of World Wildlife Fund-US. He has been honored with numerous awards. He has advised the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations and, in a letter of appreciation from the White House signed by President Obama, he  was recognized for representing the country as a Science Envoy.

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GUS SPETH

Board of Advisors

YVCC Board of Advisors. Gus Speth was faculty at Vermont Law School from 2010 to 2015. He is now Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute, Senior Fellow at the Democracy Collaborative and Vermont Law School and Co-Chair of the Next System Project at the Democracy Collaborative. His eminent positions include Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Administrator of the UN Development Programme; chair of the UN Development Group; founder and president of World Resources Institute; law professor at Georgetown University; chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (Carter Administration); and senior attorney/cofounder, Natural Resources Defense Council. Among his many awards are National Wildlife Federation’s Resources Defense Award, the Natural Resources Council of America’s Barbara Swain Award of Honor, Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Environmental Law Institute and LCV, the Blue Planet Prize and the Thomas Berry Award of the Forum on Religion and Ecology.

BILL MEADOWS

Consultant, Board of Advisors

YVCC Consultant, Board of Advisors, Recognized national leader in public land conservation and wilderness preservation, Former president of the Wilderness Society and currently serves as Counselor, a senior program position for the Wilderness Society. He has been active in conservation for over 40 years. Before becoming president of the Wilderness Society, Meadows worked for the Sierra Club where he provided oversight for a $100 million dollar fundraising campaign. He was Vice President for College Relations at Briar College in Virginia and he currently serves as their Chairman of the Partnership Program.

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LINDA HARRAR

Film Consultant
Board of Advisors

YVCC Film Consultant, Board of Advisors. Independent Executive Producer/ Director specializing in documentaries on women’s health and rights, global health, development, and environment. Staff producer: PBS NOVA Series for a dozen years. Produced the 1st international documentary on the Antarctic ozone hole, a portrait of biologist Stephen Jay Gould; a portrait of Native American physicians: The Crisis in Indian Health, Twins, and Rafting through the Grand Canyon. Senior Producer for Race to Save the Planet Series. Produced Discovery Channel’s Power of Dreams. Produced and directed Last Oasis for PBS; Biodiversity: Wild about Life, a docudrama for teens; Executive Producer of Six Billion and Beyond; Co-Executive Producer of World in the Balance; Senior Content Director of the Emmy-award winning series Rx for Survival — A Global Health Challenge.

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MELISSA SHACKLETON DANN

Development Consultant

YVCC Development Consultant, Independent Consultant, has over 20 years experience in international environmental policy and program strategy. For over 12 years, she was in private philanthropy with the Wallace Global Fund, serving as Executive Director for 3 years developing all aspects of the Fund’s environmental portfolio, including early engagement on climate change, commodity certification and reform of international financial and trade institutions. She spearheaded the Fund’s first PRI, raising the profile of using capital markets to drive environmental and social change. As an independent consultant she works with clients ranging from foundations to nonprofit organizations.

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CHRIS PALMER

Film Consultant

Film Consultant, founder and director of the American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Chris serves as a speaker, author, environmental and wildlife film producer. A full-time professor of Film and Media Arts at American University, Chris is also president of the One World One Ocean Foundation, a multimillion-dollar global media campaign to save the oceans. Over the past thirty years, he has lead the production of more than 300 hours of original programming for prime-time television and the IMAX film industry. His work has won him and his colleagues many awards, including two Emmys and an Oscar nomination.

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JANET FRIES

Legal Counsel

YVCC’s pro bono legal counsel, Janet Fries is an attorney with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. She focuses on copyright, trademark, entertainment and Internet law and is a pro bono project coordinator for the firm’s Washington, DC office. She has assisted authors, artists, collectors, estates, art organizations, musicians, producers and Internet companies with contract negotiation and preparation, web site review, copyright and trademark protection. She is a frequent lecturer and has published many articles on copyright and related topics. She co-teaches graduate seminars at George Mason University and George Washington University Law School. Janet is also an experienced professional editorial and fine art photographer whose work has been published and exhibited widely.

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YVCC VOLUNTEER

This could be you!

YVCC volunteers help us accomplish so much of our work. If you want to get involved and work on a project that could do tremendous good in the world, please contact us at youngvoicesforplanet@gmail.com. Volunteers help us with writing blogs, messaging on Twitter and Instagram, data entry, writing content for our youth action map, photographing youth events and actions, and many other tasks.