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Eco-Festival 2011 Bios

Tom Brosnan is an environmental scientist who is currently the Communications Branch Chief for NOAA’s Assessment and Restoration Division (ARD).  From 1999-2008 he was a staff scientist and then the Northeast and Great Lakes Branch Chief, where he oversaw and participated in natural resource damage assessments of many waste sites and oil spills.  Prior to working at NOAA, he was the Watershed Management Program Manager at the ILSI Risk Science Institute in Washington, DC.  From 1986-1996, he was the Chief of the Marine Sciences Section at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.  He has a B.S in biology from Fordham University, NY and an M.S. is in limnology/lake restoration from Kent State University, OH. 

Derek DencklaDerek Denckla (www.denckla.cominitiates social impact enterprises to achieve watershed results. His newest project, FarmCity.US, explores ways to invest in the social, cultural and economic growth of urban agriculture -- themes covered in his blog, TheGreenest.Net. He is Coordinator of Slow Money NYC, a grassroots movement investing in sustainable food, and a neighborhood organizer for Brooklyn Food Coalition. Since 1999, Denckla has been a proud member of the Cobble Hill Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group, one of the City's first. His recent real estate development, Greenbelt, the first LEED Gold building in Brooklyn, NY, contains both residences and The Center for Performance Research, a partnership he launched with local arts groups. An integral part of Denckla's professional practice includes his efforts as an independent curator, crafting well-attended, cross-disciplinary exhibitions that integrate art, design, performance and public policy. Through his consulting practice, Propeller Group, Denckla focuses on projects that promote both cultural capital, environmental sensitivity and a sustainable local economy. He fuses his formal legal training to his background in community organizing, environmental activism and arts programming to achieve concrete results and convey crucial new ideas to a wide audience.  

George HeldGeorge Held’s stories, poems, translations, essays, and book reviews appear widely online and in print, in journals such as 5 AM, Rattle, Confrontation, and Notre Dame Review and over two dozen anthologies. Garrison Keillor read one of George's poems on NPR, he's received five Pushcart Prize nominations, and his fourteenth poetry collection is After Shakespeare: Selected Sonnets (Červená Barva Press, 2011). Retired from the Queens College English Department, he was educated at Brown (B.A.), University of Hawai‘i (M.A.), and Rutgers (Ph.D.). He was a Fulbright lecturer in Czechoslovakia, 1973-76, and since 1991 has served as both co-editor of The Ledge Poetry & Fiction Magazine and a member of the executive board of The South Fork Natural History Museum, Bridgehampton, NY. He lives in Greenwich Village with his wife, Cheryl.

Kelly McMastersKelly McMasters is the author of Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town (Public Affairs, 2008), an Orion Award nominee that is currently being made into a documentary film. Her essays and articles have appeared in such places as the New York Times, the Washington Post MagazineNewsdayElle DécorTime Out New York and She teaches writing at NYU,, and in the creative writing division and Journalism Graduate School at Columbia University. She is at work on a collection of place-based essays about northeast Pennsylvania, the first of which was published in River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative and recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Suzanne and Glenn RankinTogether, Suzanne and Glenn Rankin have been capturing our ocean’s biodiversity on video for the past 23years.  Their passion to conserve our marine environment has inspired them to create the award winning presentation, “Colors of the Sea,” which explores the marine life off the coast of Long Island.

Glenn Rankin began his career as a Navy SCUBA diver and served as ship’s sonar man aboard the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Alexander Hamilton.  He received his Masters Degree in Musical Composition and had taught in the Bethpage School District for 30 years, where he conducted orchestra, band, and musical theater. His expertise is in violin, piano, and guitar.   Glenn has been diving off the coast of Long Island for the past thirty years.  He combines his skills in underwater videography and computer editing to present marine life in their natural habitats, while enhancing their beauty with original music scores. Glenn is presenting “Colors of the Sea” through  NassauBoces, Arts in Ed. The artistry of Glenn’s productions, along with his original soundtracks, depicts his unique combination of talents.

Suzanne Rankin earned her Masters degree in Biology and Education and holds additional teaching certifications in Chemistry, Earth Science, and Coaching.  She has been an educator for 24 years at Bethpage High School, where she teaches both College and Regents level Biology.  She is nationally-ranked as an Advanced Placement Biology Teacher and a Tandy Award Scholar.  Suzanne has also taught Environmental Science, Ecology, Oceanography, Physical Science and Health.  She was a CPR Instructor and the Varsity Coach for both the Girl’s Gymnastics and Diving Teams.  

Carl SafinaCarl Safina works to show why nature and human dignity require each other. Much of his writing has illuminated how the ocean is changing and what the changes mean for wildlife and people. His recent works probe the scientific, moral, and social dimensions or our relationship with the natural world. In the 1990s he brought fisheries issues into the environmental mainstream. His early research focused on seabird ecology. He then helped lead campaigns to ban high-seas driftnets, rewrite U.S. federal fisheries law, work toward international conservation of tunas, sharks, and other fishes, and achieve passage of a United Nations global fisheries treaty. Safina, whose PhD in ecology is from Rutgers University, is author of more than a hundred scientific and popular publications, including featured work in National Geographic and The New York Times, and a new Foreword to Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us.

He is author of 6 books. His first book, Song for the Blue Ocean, was chosen a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, a Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction selection, and a Library Journal Best Science Book selection; it won the Lannan Literary Award for nonfiction. His second book, Eye of the Albatross, won the John Burroughs Medal and the National Academies’ communications award for year’s best book. Safina’s Voyage of the Turtle was a N.Y. Times Editors’ Choice. He published his first children’s book in 2010. The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World is new in 2011. It has drawn two starred reviews and was National Geographic Traveler’s book of the month. Safina’s chronicle of the Gulf blowout, A Sea in Flames, will be published in April, 2011. Safina has been profiled on Nightline and twice in the New York Times; named among “100 Notable Conservationists of the 20th Century” by Audubon magazine; and featured on the Bill Moyers PBS special “Earth on Edge.” He has honorary doctorates from the State University of New York and Long Island University. Safina is founding president of Blue Ocean Institute and is adjunct professor at Stony Brook University. Carl is a MacArthur Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Pew Fellow, and a recipient of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo’s Rabb Medal, among other honors.

Robert SullivanRobert Sullivan is the author of many books, including Rats, The Meadowlands, and, most recently, The Thoreau You Don't Know. A contributing editor at Vogue, he has written for The New York Times, the New Yorker, and New York Magazine. He lives in Brooklyn.



Leonardo VianaLeonardo Viana, Manager of Strategic Partnerships for Ocean Conservancy is responsible for identifying, establishing, maintaining, and strengthening the many different entities that are and can be a part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC).  Since joining Ocean Conservancy, Leo has helped to bring in additional countries and states as well as to reinforce Ocean Conservancy’s corporate and outreach partnerships.  In just a short time Leo has established new partnerships with the Earth Day Network, musician Jack Johnson and American Express’s Members Project. In addition Leo has strengthened the relationship with current partners Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Disney.  Prior to joining the Ocean Conservancy staff, Leo was the ICC Coordinator in Brazil since 2003, responsible for organizing one of the largest annual volunteer events in the country with over 18,000 participants nationwide.  During his tenure he was responsible for translating the first ever ICC data cards into Portuguese. This has lead to improved data compilation in Brazil. In addition he also started, in 2003, and has coordinated the project Pampulha Limpa, which conducts year around environmental education activities with one thousand five hundred children annually in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He has a conservation science background; with a Bachelors of Science from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Ecology, Conservation and Wildlife Management from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Leo is also currently a consultant at the World Bank for the International Year of Biodiversity.

Dr. Charles VorosmartyDr. Charles Vörösmarty is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at CCNY, a Distinguished Scientist with NOAA-Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology Center (NOAA-CREST), and the Director of the CUNY Global Environmental CrossRoads Initiative at the City College of New York. He serves on several national and international scientific panels including the National Research Council Committee on Hydrologic Science (Chair), the United States Arctic Research Commission (Commissioner-Presidential appointment), the Global Water System Project (Co-Chair), and the NASA Earth Science Subcommittee, among others. He formerly served as founder and Director of the Water Systems Analysis Group at the University of New Hampshire, a nationally and internationally recognized research partnership dedicated to hydrology science, technology, and training. He was a convening lead author on global fresh water resources for the recently completed Millennium Assessment and has assembled regional and continental-scale hydro-meteorological data compendia.

Dr. John WaldmanDr. John Waldman joined the faculty of Queens College as a tenured professor of Biology in 2004.  For the previous twenty years he was employed by the Hudson River Foundation for Science and Environmental Research, most recently as Senior Scientist. He received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the Joint Program in Evolutionary Biology between the American Museum of Natural History and the City University of New York, and a M.S. in Marine and Environmental Sciences from Long Island University.  His research interests focus on the ecology and evolution of fishes, the historical ecology of rivers and urban waterways, and estuarine biology.  Dr. Waldman has authored more than 70 scientific articles and several popular books, including Heartbeats in the Muck: the History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor; and The Dance of the Flying Gurnards, a work on marine phenomena; in addition to a number of scientific volumes.  Dr. Waldman also is an occasional contributor to the New York Times and other periodicals.  He lives with his family in Sea Cliff, NY, and with his fly rod in West Cornwall, CT.


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