R. John Dawes


Executive Director, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
Alexandria, PA

As Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds since 1994, Dawes has supervised small grants to over 150 environmental and watershed associations throughout the state. The intent is to provide seed money to allow a local group to access agency funding through the Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Office of Surface Mining, the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers. This has resulted in over $110m. in project cost. The majority of this small grants budget is for abandoned mine reclamation. For five years Dawes was a consultant to the Heinz Endowments Environment Program where he supervised grants to regional watershed groups pursuing a DCNR Rivers Conservation Plan. Other duties included participation in sustainable forestry round tables, and the facilitation of a statewide watershed advocacy group called POWR – the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

Dawes graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and an M.Ed. Since 1970, he has owned and managed a purebred Angus farm in Huntingdon County where conservation practices have been implemented, including streambank fencing, forest stewardship planning, a 10kw windmill for electric power production, and spring development using photo-voltaic panels. The farm won the 2007 Governor’s Award for Conservation. Learn more about FPW

Mike Kane


President and Executive Director, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
Johnstown, PA

As its director, Mike Kane is responsible for the oversight of all operations at CFA, including managing a portfolio of loans and investments in excess of $8 million. He obtained his undergraduate education from the University of Pittsburgh and M.A. from Emerson College. Additionally, Mike obtained a certificate in Major Gifts and Planned Giving from the Institute for Healthcare Philanthropy, Univ. of Wisconsin Graduate School of Business.

Mike has served and assisted in the start up of a number of local and regional nonprofits and initiatives, including the Stonycreek-Quemahoning Initiative and Lift Johnstown. He has served on the steering committee of the Power of 32; as well as on the boards of Johnstown Area Regional Industries, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, ArtWorks in Johnstown, Johnstown Industrial Development Corporation, the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, FracTracker Alliance, Conemaugh Valley Conservancy, Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley and others. He has also served as President of Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, a regional association of philanthropic organizations. Learn more about CFA

Julia Trigg Crawford


Farm Manager, Red’Arc Farm
Sumner, TX

Julia Trigg Crawford is the 3rd generation Manager of her family’s 650 acre farm in far northeast Texas. Purchased by her grandfather in 1948, Red’Arc Farm is named for the waterways that form two of it’s borders, the Red River and the Bois d’Arc Creek. Here on some of the finest land in the county her family raises Red Limousin cattle and grows wheat, corn and soybeans. Rich in archeological treasures as well, Red’Arc Farm houses a well documented Caddo Indian burial site within its boundaries.

In 2011 Julia Trigg refused TransCanada’s offer for an easement across their farm to build the Gulf Coast Section of the Keystone XL pipeline, so the land was taken through eminent domain. She appealed that condemnation all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. Even though that appeal was denied she continues to fight for property rights and eminent domain reform. Along the way she has testified to the U.S. Congress on federal eminent domain legislation, spoken out many times in Austin to the Texas Legislature, was arrested in front of the White House, joined with Native American and First Nations Peoples in protest, supported landowners in other states challenging pipelines and eminent domain abuse, and proudly stands at the ready to help wherever her story and experiences are needed.

A graduate of Texas A&M University with a B.A, Journalism, Julia Trigg was also a four-year letterman and Captain of the Women’s Basketball team. She lives and works in Direct, Texas, a community of 70 on the outskirts of Paris (Texas, that is).

David Braun


Project Director, Rootskeeper

David is a co­founder of Americans Against Fracking and New Yorkers Against Fracking, and recently relocated back to his home state of California to fight fracking and toxic oil and gas practices. Working closely with Californians Against Fracking, a coalition of over 200 organizations, David co­founded Rootskeeper, a non­profit project which facilitates grassroots action and builds power. As a part of this ongoing work, David has been organizing with grassroots activists, health professionals and faith leaders, and recently directed the film Faith Against Fracking which has been screening in places of worship as well as film festivals.

While in New York, David founded and worked with several grassroots anti­fracking organizations including United for Action, Sane Energy Project, among others and helped design and implement the successful campaign calling for a ban on fracking. Previously, he was the grassroots coordinator for the films, GASLAND and GASLAND II. Before working on the fracking issue, he organized with MoveOn and has also engaged with numerous other social, environmental and economic justice campaigns. Before hearing the call to save the planet, David was a partner in a successful events business in NYC. Learn more about Rootskeeper

Michele Fetting


Program Manager, Breathe Project
Pittsburgh, PA

Michele is the Program Manager at the Breathe Project where she supports strategic campaigns to protect communities from air pollution, gas drilling and petrochemical development. She has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including work on campaigns and policies to protect U.S. farmland, the Florida Everglades and Gulf Coast, air and water quality and endangered wildlife. She has a deep commitment to environmental justice and building a clean energy economy. Michele co-authored The Challenge of the Environmental City: A Pittsburgh Case Study, a chapter in the book Toward Sustainable Communities(MIT Press), and her work has been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Naples Daily News, the Philadelphia Enquirer, GoWorldTravel, American Birding and NEXTpittsburgh.

Michele has a BA in Journalism from Ohio State University and a Master’s in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. During graduate school, Michele worked in Kenya on a USAID project to improve nutrition and decrease childhood mortality, and improve the economic status of women. She remains deeply committed to women’s issues and access to healthy food in all communities.

Michele serves on the Board of Directors of the Climate Institute, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, P3R/Pittsburgh Marathon, Friends of the Riverfront and FracTracker Alliance. Michele can often be found running the trails or paddling the rivers around Pittsburgh.

Amy Mall


Senior Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Washington, DC

For more than 15 years, Amy Mall has worked in NRDC’s Land & Wildlife program, helping shape policies to keep our wildlands and natural resources free from harmful and irresponsible industrial development. Her efforts have helped conserve old-growth forests in Alaska and other western states; protect sensitive Rocky Mountain lands and communities from oil and gas operations; and create public policy that greatly increases the number of environmental protections attached to the business of oil and gas extraction.

Prior to joining NRDC in 2001, Amy worked in the private sector and in county, state, and federal government, including the White House National Economic Council and the U.S. Senate. A graduate of Cornell and Harvard universities, she holds a master’s degree in public policy. Learn more about NRDC

Phil Pritchard


Retired Environmental Professional
Asheville, NC

Phil is an environmental advocate, deeply influenced by the Lakota Sioux philosophy that we do not inherit this land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

His academic background includes a BA from Princeton, biology major. Work experience includes service in the United States Navy Supply Corps, promotion and fund raising for educational television, various teaching positions, drug abuse prevention programs for the United States Government, owner of a retail crafts store in the Finger Lakes of New York which featured area crafts and health foods along with a Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast, and various positions in real estate.

He left real estate to work for The Nature Conservancy in South Florida where he negotiated acquisition of 50,000 acres of preserve lands with a total acquisition cost over $125,000,000. More recently he served as Director of Development for The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF), the organization dedicated to restoring this magnificent tree to its native forests through a backcross breeding program. While there he was instrumental in establishing the cooperative relationship with the United States Forest Service and obtaining the first Federal Government funding for TACF.

Dan Xie


Political Director
Student PIRGs

Dan (pronounced Dawn) directs the political strategy for the Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs). Dan’s areas of expertise include campaign strategy, student and campus organizing, and management of large-scale field campaigns. Dan has managed successful campaigns from coast to coast to cap global warming pollution, fight the high cost of higher education, fight poverty, protect consumers, and make voting accessible for students. Dan sits on the Board of Directors for the Florida Public Interest Research Group and has trained student leaders for the Student Government Resource Center, the National Campus Leadership Council, APIAVote, and more. She graduated from the University of California – Davis in 2008 with a degree in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning. She lives in St. Petersburg, FL and likes to ride bikes and climb rocks. You can tweet at her @DanlikeDawn. Learn more about Student PIRGs

Christine Yellowthunder


Retired Social Work Supervisor in Child & Family Services
Wisconsin Certified Tree Farmer (Conservation)
Writer and Poet

“I was raised to understand that we are interrelated to all things. We need to stand up and speak when something is so wrong.”

Since late 2008, Christine has been fighting the silica sand mining invasion in the sparsely populated, unzoned towns in western Wisconsin, the homeland of the Ho-Chunk people, her husband’s family, and her tree farm. She has spoken publicly to educate residents about the environment and to challenge local governance, and has worked to document and witness, podcast, write, photograph and organize at the local level. Christine says collaboration with many local groups across western Wisconsin has been key to effective communication and the sharing of research and resources.

Frac sand mining feeds fracking across the country, stripping away the hills and forested land, usurping the aquifers, and killing every living organism in its path. The land will never recover. The side effects of frac sand mining on life are frightening: air quality is diminished, groundwater is contaminated with heavy metals (arsenic, lead, copper, etc), mechanical noise wracks the area 24/7, and sand blasting fractures walls and leaks Radon gas—a silent carcinogen—into homes. Local governments were totally unprepared to protect life and land. Everyone suffered under the guise of providing more fossil fuel.

Currently, there is a frac sand mining “Stand Down” occurring, because of bankruptcy and loss of cheap transport. Christine remains vigilant to the side effects and losses, and  continues to grow trees and write poetry, with hopes our children will remember the Earth as it was.