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).

Susan Gentile

Associate, AUNE Professor

sue_gentileSusan is a current professor at Antioch University New England in the Department of Environmental Studies. She brings over 35 years of experience working in education to the Climate Center. Susan has masterfully blended her passions for sustainable development, education, and the environment over the course of her career as can be seen by her numerous publications and presentations. In addition to the role of educator, Susan has worked as an independent contractor, managing editor, and has served on numerous boards of directors within the greater New England area. Finally, Susan is a lead on the planning and implementing the Educators Summit at the upcoming 2016 Local Solutions Conference in Baltimore, MD.

Yves Pacifique Gakunde

Researcher, AUNE doctoral candidate, Conference Coordinator

Gakunde_Bio-PictureMr. Yves P Gakunde is a doctoral Student in Environmental Studies Program at Antioch University New England. His research interests fall into ecosystem services, climate change mitigation and adaptation; Community based conservation and natural resource management. He leads the Environmental Preferable Purchasing Program at the City of Keene, NH and works on various other green projects administrated by the City of Keene. After his undergraduate studies in 2008, he was immediately hired by the University of Rwanda to serve as assistant coordinator of a Conservation Biology Project funded by MacArthur Foundation from Chicago, USA. Working at the University of Rwanda opened so many doors for him. He joined the Regional Network for Conservation Educators in Albertine Rift (countries including Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda), the Network for Botanists in Africa, and the Rwandan Association for Nature Conservation where he served as Representative in the southern province for a two year term.

Andrew Graham

Conference Coordinator

Andrew-GrahamAndrew Graham attended college at the University of Vermont, and graduated in 2008 with a BS in Community & International Development. Following graduation, Andrew spent two years in AmeriCorps service: one year in the National Civilian Community Corps doing disaster relief work in Texas and one year with AmeriCorps VISTA doing poverty remediation work in Vermont. He spent another year in Burlington before moving to Portland, Oregon, in 2011. Andrew lived at an urban farm co-op there for almost three years, prior to moving to Keene to come to Antioch University, where he is pursuing an MS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education.

Andrew loves to cook and all things related to food. He’s a proponent of developing a culture of healthy masculinity in our society. Among his chief values are localism and communal resource-sharing to build community resilience.

Nikolis Gualco

Web Manager, Conference Coordinator

ngualcoNikolis Gualco is a current Master of Science candidate with a concentration in conservation biology. He began working for the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience in 2014 by helping plan and implement the Local Solutions Conference in Manchester, NH. In conjunction with AUNE facility, the University of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, Nik is currently conducting a population and habitat assessment of the federally endangered Plymouth red-bellied turtle as part of his thesis.

Jake Pipp

Conference Coordinator

Jake PippJake Pipp holds a BS in Natural Resource Management from the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and he is currently a MS candidate in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Climate Change at Antioch University New England. Jake has worked professionally for the University of Wisconsin System, the Center for Land Use Education serving communities across Wisconsin, and as a community organizer. He is particularly interested in climate change, renewable energy, and social justice. When he is not working, Jake can be found hiking, kayaking, traveling, and volunteering.

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.

Andrew Smeltz


Andrew-SAndrew holds a BS in Environmental Conservation with a concentration in Forestry from the University of New Hampshire. He is a field conservation professional with experience working in the forestry, wildlife, wildfire, and land protection fields across the United States. Outside of work, Andrew is a passionate outdoorsman who enjoys hiking, camping, climbing, and back-country snowboarding whenever possible. He is currently pursing a MS in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England. His research focuses on the species composition of pre-settlement forests and has a strong spatial component.

Jessica Leonard


Jessica LeornardJessica Leonard recently graduated with a MS degree in the sustainable development and climate change concentration at Antioch University New England. She obtained her BS in biology with a concentration in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior and a minor in African and African American studies from the University of California, Davis. She has worked as a community organizer in Texas, an environmental fellow for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and is currently consulting through the Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience on engagement in climate change mitigation. She loves to spend time with her Old English Bulldog, play soccer, travel, and eat good food while listening to good music.

Upcoming Events


The Economics of Natural and Nature Based Coastal Adaptation

This workshop explores the differences between economic fact and fiction for resilience decision-making, and why these differences matter.
Register Now


Adapting Forested Watersheds to Climate Change Workshop

Two day workshop. Real-world examples of climate adaptation projects that work to meet landowner goals will be featured, and participants will engage in a variety of interactive activities to identify climate change issues and potential adaptation actions. Feedback from Day 2 will directly inform the continued development of the new Forests and Water Strategies and Approaches menu.
Register Now


Financing Climate Change Solutions

Although there is widespread agreement on the need for adapting to the changing climate, there is no clear consensus on how much it will cost, or how communities can pay for it. This webinar will address what the future holds for financial support for emergency preparedness and longer range adaptation planning.
Register Now

join our mailing list

Sign up to get updates and information about events from the Center delivered to your inbox. All fields are required.

By submitting this form, you are granting: , permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy ( for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

Contact Us

Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience

Antioch University New England
40 Avon Street
Keene, NH 03431-3516

supported By

Antioch University New England

©2017 Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience.

Web design by EHW Design.