Meet our Keynote speaker: Dr. Edith Widder “Exploring & Protecting Planet Ocean”
Take a deep dive below the ocean’s surface…into one of the most mysterious and foreboding environments on earth. We’re excited to welcome Dr. Edith “Edie” Widder as our lunchtime Keynote Speaker for this year’s conference. Dr. Widder is an internationally-renowned scientist, deep-sea explorer, and founder of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), a scientific-based conservation nonprofit. As a certified research diver, she has completed over 250 submersible dives and been featured in BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic productions. She also created a remotely-operated deep-sea camera system known as ORCA’s Eye-in-the-Sea, which she used to discover a new species of giant squid. She and her team obtained the first footage of this incredible creature in its natural habitat in 2012!
We are thrilled to bring together a diverse set of leaders from across North America to help educate and inspire. To help you plan your day, here are the exciting workshops we have in store for you at this year’s conference:
SESSION 1 (10:00-11:15 am)
Walking Forward Together (Meeting Room 9): Throughout history, many Black and Brown communities have been pushed aside, priced out, and not prioritized when developers come knocking on a community’s door. This panel presentation will focus on how a community can be resilient in the wake of inevitable change, including in the face of impending climate change. Panelists Frank Alexander, Sam Nunn Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Amir-Jamal Toure’ of the Center for Africana Studies and the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Center, and Dr. Felicia Harris, Commissioner with the City of Brunswick and co-founder of Sistahs With A Purpose (SWAP) Ministries, will share their unique perspectives and a call to action. Together, the group will provide insight into the steps communities have taken together in the past, present, and the ones they must take together in the future to recognize, address, and create the essential forms of community engagement and collaboration to address the challenges before us.
Supporting Emotional Resilience for Children & Youth in the Age of Climate Crisis (Meeting Room 7): A workshop for parents, teachers, counselors, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, and neighbors of children ages 0-18 – As trusted adults, it is our job to help children feel safe in the world. Yet how do we offer security when the future is so uncertain? How can we be honest with kids without scaring them? What is age-appropriate activism? Should we involve kids in our climate work, or will that place too big a burden on them? What creates the resilience that youth need now and in the future? Join Good Grief Network’s experienced facilitators Kristan Childs and Teddy Kellam as we dive into these questions. This workshop will offer an understanding of what kids really need from the adults in their lives as they face the climate crisis, and offer practical tools and resources for holding conversations and caring for ourselves as caregivers. The workshop will be interactive, featuring journaling, grounding exercises, and a chance to share with one another.
Our Georgia Coast: A Conservation Conversation (Ballroom H): Georgia’s unparalleled coast is an ecological wonder of the world for two simple reasons: nature and nurture. In this interactive panel, leading coastal conservation leaders—including Scott Coleman, Ecological Manager of Little St. Simons Island, Christi Lambert, Coastal and Marine Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy, Dr. Abby Sterling, Director of Manomet’s Georgia Bight Shorebird Conservation Initiative, and OHM’s Megan Desrosiers—will share and celebrate some of most extraordinary natural characteristics about our coast. The panel will discuss the big picture conservation efforts underway to preserve, protect, and improve these 100 miles, as well as the legacy of partners past and present who have helped us create the unparalleled environment we have today.
Lunchtime Keynote (11:30-12:45)
Exploring and Protecting Planet Ocean- Dr. Edie Widder, founder of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) and “The Giant Squid Stalker”
SESSION 2 (1:00-2:15 pm)
Simple Steps to Save our Starry Skies for Human and Environmental Health (Meeting Room 8): Creatures of the land and sea, including humans, depend on a regular rhythm of dark and light to regulate their biological livelihood. Artificial light at night (ALAN) poses an increasing threat toward this livelihood, including disorienting birds and sea turtles from migratory paths. How can we use lighting at night responsibly? In this presentation, Dr. Michelle Wooten, assistant professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and leader of Starry Skies South, will help you better understand the issue and its impacts on our coast, while also sharing tools, projects, and practices to help our communities address one of the most overlooked pollutions.
What Lies Beneath: Overcoming a Toxic Legacy (Meeting Room 9): Coastal Georgia is home to some of the most scenic marshes on the planet, yet industrial contaminants at superfund sites plague Glynn County waters, land, and threaten the health of our families. As a result, many communities of color and low-income communities are suffering generational injustices because the responsible parties, like Honeywell and Hercules, are not being held accountable. Today the Brunswick community has united to learn the extent of this toxic legacy and demand that the responsible parties remove the contaminants and make our community whole again. This panel discussion—featuring OHM’s Jazz Watts and Alice Keyes, Dr. Noah Scovronick of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and Dr. Kavanaugh Chandler of Coastal Community Health—will leave participants with a better understanding of the environmental conditions that perpetuate racism in our coastal Georgia community, share study results of how the contamination is affecting residents; and review the next action steps in the unified community efforts to remedy these injustices.
SESSION 3 (3:00-4:15 pm)
Resilience in Chaotic Times: Building Our Inner Resources (Meeting Room 7): As the climate crisis intensifies, how do we develop the resilience needed to navigate these times? How can we live with open eyes and open hearts and not become overwhelmed by the losses and suffering we face? We must learn how to move through difficult feelings like grief, disappointment, anger, and frustration to prevent overwhelm and burnout. To make this possible, our communities need opportunities and spaces for people to show up authentically, share honestly, feel heard and receive collective support. In this experiential workshop, Good Grief Network facilitators Kristan Childs and Teddy Kellam will discuss the importance of emotional processing for intentional, imaginative movement building, and share about their 10-Step Program for building resilience and empowerment in chaotic times. The workshop will be interactive, featuring journaling, grounding exercises, and a chance to share with one another.
Building Impactful Collaborations for Change (Meeting Room 8): Dr. Treva Gear, Georgia State Manager of The Dogwood Alliance, will discuss innovative ways of building collaborative partnerships to battle environmental injustice. She will share the story of the Concerned Citizens of Cook County and how the power of broad and inclusive collaboration led to a win for residents of Adel, Georgia, a historically ignored community in South Georgia. Join Dr. Gear to learn more and explore ways that you can build impactful collaborations to help protect your community.