Michael Simpson

Co-Director, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience; Chair, Environmental Studies Department; Director, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Concentration, ES Master’s Degree

Michael-simpson-159Michael has been a senior environmental scientist and partner for two environmental consultant firms in the Northeast. He has also worked for both the NH Dept. of Environmental Services and the MA Dept. of Environmental Protection. He is a licensed wetlands scientist with over twenty-five years experience in wetland and riparian corridor assessments, employing a variety of assessment approaches and data collection procedures. Much of his research has been funded by NOAA and the US EPA; it focuses on working with local stakeholders to identify potential risks from projected climate and land-use change, followed by developing an adaptation strategy for communities to build for projected impacts. Currently, he is the Chair of the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch University New England. He has graduate degrees from Dartmouth College and Antioch University New England.

Abigail Abrash Walton

Co-Director, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience; Director, Advocacy Concentration, Environmental Studies Master’s Degree; Director, Center for Academic Innovation

AbrashwaltonAbigailAbigail serves as founding Director of Antioch University New England’s Center for Academic Innovation, co-director of Antioch’s Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience, and as faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies, where she directs the Advocacy master’s degree concentration. Under her leadership, AUNE has developed and advanced its own climate action plan, including significant reductions in electricity usage through low-/no-cost behavior change strategies. Innovation programming at AUNE has yielded a 10-to-1 return on mission-driven investment. Her current research focuses on organizational leadership, pro-environmental behavior, and institutional fossil fuel divestment and clean energy reinvestment. She has played a central role in piloting AUNE’s Conservation Psychology Institute and Translating Research to Inform Policy workshops and in catalyzing a national-level working group to build the capacity of scientists and researchers to engage with the public policy process. Previously, she was program director for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, and was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program. Her publications include “Conservation through Different Lenses: Reflection, Responsibility and the Politics of Participation in Conservation Advocacy,” in the journal Environmental Management, “The Amungme, Kamoro and Freeport: How Indigenous Papuans Have Resisted the World’s Largest Gold and Copper Mine,” in The Globalization Reader (Lechner & Boli, eds.), and “The Victims in Indonesia’s Pursuit of Progress,” an invited New York Times op-ed.

Abigail chaired the City of Keene’s Planning Board (2011-2014) and served on the Steering Committee for the City’s Master Plan, which focuses explicitly on sustainability, climate change mitigation and adaptation. She contributed to the city’s adoption of a Hillside Protection Ordinance and Surface Water Protection Ordinance as well as updates to the Planning Board’s development standards to include Comprehensive Transportation Management and Low-Impact Development.

She has been a commentator for The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Public Radio, “Democracy Now!” and “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” among other media outlets. Abigail holds a M.Sc. in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

Christa Daniels AICP

Program Manager, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience; Faculty and Doctoral Student Antioch University New England

Program Manager, Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience Faculty and Doctoral Student Antioch University New EnglandChrista Daniels AICP is the program manager for the Center where she specializes in climate mitigation and resiliency along with citizen engagement strategies. For the past 15 years, Christa has worked with local governments to foster energy independence, reduce traffic congestion, curb local air pollution, strengthen local economies, and increase their resiliency to the changing climate. Mrs. Daniels has facilitated and created innovative participatory stakeholder engagement strategies with towns and regions such as Pittsburgh PA, the Greater Portland Council of Governments, Monadnock region in New Hampshire, NY Department of Conservation, Maplewood NJ, and Bridgeport CT. Christa earned her B.A. in Political Science at Pace University and her M.S. in Resource Management and Administration at Antioch Graduate School. Christa’s past experience includes working for the United Nations, NH Department of Environmental Services, Clean Air Cool Planet, and as a city planner for Keene, NH. She also currently works for Climate Access as a research coordinator on translating social science into effective engagement strategies along with an innovative Sea Level Rise 3D visualization project in Marin County California. Christa is a doctoral student and faculty at AUNE.

Jim Gruber

Senior Associate, AUNE Professor

JGruberprofileJim is an internationally recognized academic expert and professional in the topics of Community-Based Natural Resource Management and methods for engaged and participatory research that leads to sustainable governance of ecosystems. He is a Professor and Director of the PhD Program in Environmental Studies and Co-Director of the Resource Management and Conservation MS Program at Antioch University New England. During the past 30 years, he has consulted to national and state governments, regional non-profit organizations, universities, and local governments in Eastern Europe, Mexico, South America, Africa, and the United States on environmental policy, community-based natural resource management, social capital building, facilitating systemic change, engaged scholarship, climate adaptation and resilience, energy conservation, and solar technology. He has published numerous articles on his research. Recently jointly established the first US Peace Corps – PhD in Environmental Studies partnership with Antioch University New England. He previously served as a municipal manager for communities in Vermont and New Hampshire. During his time as co-Founder and Executive Director of Antioch New England Institute (ANEI), which provided training, programs, and resources (U.S. and international) in leadership development, community capacity building, environmental education, and environmental policy development and implementation. Finally, Jim holds a PhD from the University of Zagreb in Environmental Resource Management, a MPA from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a MS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also a professional Civil Engineer (PE).

Meaghan Rafferty

Conference Coordinator

Meaghan earned a BA degree in Geography and a certificate in Environmental Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; and she is currently pursuing a MS degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Climate Change at Antioch University New England. Meaghan has worked at the Lloyd Center for the Environment in Dartmouth, MA monitoring and gathering data on the endangered Piping Plovers and Terns, and at the University of Wisconsin Soil Science Laboratory in Madison testing soil samples. Meaghan hopes to pursue a career in the field of soil and water management in the context of a changing climate.   In her free time Meaghan enjoys being outside hiking, biking, swimming, and ice skating.

Ayshah Kassamali-Fox

Conference Coordinator

Ayshah is a finishing MS student in the Conservation Biology program at Antioch University New England with primary interests in the impacts of human activities on marine mammals. She conducted her thesis research into the effects of dolphin watching boats on bottlenose dolphin behavior in the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama in partnership with the nonprofit Panacetacea and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. As a research team member with the Bocas Dolphin Project, Ayshah collaborates with other scientists, tourism operators and the local community on the development of sustainable dolphin watching practices in Bocas del Toro within a participatory framework. Ayshah has a strong dedication to tropical conservation and ecology and in addition to her work in the marine environment, she has also worked in primate conservation and wildlife rehabilitation in Central America and Africa. This summer she will be working with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine investigating the life history of bluefin tuna within the Gulf of Maine, one of the fastest warming marine systems in the world. Ayshah’s other interests include keeping up with her two adventurous young sons, exploring nature and seeking peace and tranquility by the sea.

Jason Rhoades

Researcher, AUNE doctoral candidate, Master’s International Program Coordinator AUNE

JasonBIOpicJason Rhoades works with communities to promote thoughtful and engaged environmental stewardship. Most recently, Jason worked on a variety of participatory climate change adaptation planning projects with the Social and Environmental Research Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts, as well as with the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience at Antioch University New England. Previously, he worked with the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps on a variety of environmental education and stewardship projects. Internationally, Jason also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Armenia conducting research on the impacts of deforestation on soil quality. In addition to his community-based work and research, Jason has taught in the environmental studies departments at Colby-Sawyer College and Antioch University New England, where he also coordinates the Master’s International program. Jason holds a Master of Science degree in forestry from Michigan Technological University and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at Antioch University New England. His doctoral research, conducted in partnership with the Center and the City of Bridgeport Department on Aging, focuses on enhancing the resilience of seniors to climate change through a participatory action research approach.


Upcoming Events


Local Solutions Conference 2018

Antioch University New England is hosting the 3rd Local Solutions: Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference on April 30, May 1 and May 2nd 2018 at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, NH.

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