In 2014 I founded Columbia Families in Nature (CFIN), a family nature club that offers free weekly nature-based experiential education events to families in Central Maryland. By connecting families with nearby nature, the goals of CFIN are to: foster greater connection with nature and the community; increase environmental awareness and action; support the well-being of participants; and help strengthen family relationships. In the three years since CFIN launched, we have offered over 150 free events serving more than 400 distinct and diverse families. CFIN events are held at a variety of natural areas, including public parks, farms, gardens, wildlife sanctuaries, and community open space trails. The focus of each outing is also diverse, ranging from free exploration and play, to active hikes, to structured, conservation focused events, such as tree planting, stream clean-ups, and pollinator garden creation. During each event the participants learn to leave places better than they were found, picking up any litter and learning the principles of leave no trace. Civic ecology projects that have been completed by the group include installing three monarch way station gardens, conducting four citizen science bioblitzes, and removing invasive species and planting native plants in trees at more than six events.
On November 9th I helped to form a progressive action group, now called Together We Will Howard County, for my community in Maryland. I quickly joined forces with like-minded people to help create a statewide group to coordinate the work being done at the county level by people newly galvanized into political activism. The county group now has over 1,200 members and the state group has over 10,000 members. At the county level, we have monthly action meetings to achieve our goals of: fostering a safe and inclusive community; protecting and securing equal rights for all people; and creating a cohesive network to connect and amplify progressive issues and voices. We are training people who are new to social and political activism on how to effectively engage in the political process (i.e., who are your representatives, how can you best communicate with them, etc.), actively working to get out the vote with voter registration and deep canvassing actions, and working to channel new energies towards the organizations that have a long history of doing political activism and social justice work in a wide range of areas.
*Audubon Society of Central Maryland, Board of Directors (2015 - Present)
*Howard County Excellence in Bloom, Mixed Age Group Award (2015, 2016)
*Audubon Toyota Together Green Fellow (2013)
*Chairperson for the Harper's Choice Village Center Community Plan Committee (2009 - 2012)
*Harper’s Choice Village Board Member (2008 - 2010)
*Howard Community College Distinguished Alumni Award (2008)