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Motivational Speaker

Be Inspired

Our guest speakers will share their insights on sustainability, conservation, and the steps we can take together to ensure a greener tomorrow.

Sponsored by Energea

Justin Fornal

Explorer, Author, Extreme Athlete

Writer and explorer Justin Fornal takes listeners on his most exciting international expeditions to learn how humans around the globe interact with the world's most provocative plants.  Where in Ethiopia did humans first start drinking coffee? What narcotic plant is considered a national pastime in Yemen?  Where are frankincense and myrrh still gathered as they were since biblical times? What plant-derived textile is believed to be a magnet for ghosts in Uganda? What root is still sought after by Mississippi blues musicians for its mystical virality, and finally, what tree in Chester, Connecticut, did witches once use to make their magical broomsticks? Find out these answers when Justin Fornal presents 'Adventures in Ethnobotany'!


Sponsored by Energea

Erica Cirino

Plastic Pollution & Sustainable Homes

In this vital and timely talk, Erica Cirino, a passionate environmentalist and advocate for sustainability, tackles the pressing issue of plastic pollution and its profound impact on our planet. With a focus on innovative solutions, Cirino shares her insights into how individuals and communities can contribute to a healthier environment by building sustainable homes. 

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Mike Silvestrini

Big Life Foundation

In his talk on the Big Life Foundation, Mike Silvestrini will delve into the impactful work of this conservation organization, dedicated to protecting and sustaining wildlife, combating poaching, and fostering coexistence between humans and animals in East Africa. Highlighting Big Life's innovative strategies, such as employing community rangers and using technology for wildlife protection, Silvestrini aims to shed light on the importance of supporting conservation efforts that benefit both nature and local communities. This insightful presentation will not only raise awareness but also inspire action towards preserving our planet's precious biodiversity.


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Margaret Cozens

Long Island Sound Study

Margaret Cozens will be speaking on behalf of the Long Island Sound Study. LISS is a bi-state partnership dedicated to protecting the Long Island Sound. LISS prioritizes reducing nitrogen loads, restoring habitats, and monitoring water quality. Maggie received her M.S. in Environmental Science from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2019, where she researched wetland ecology and worked on sea turtle conservation at the National Estuarine Research Reserve on Masonboro Island. Before coming to Liss, Maggie coordinated environmental outreach on schooners, land preserves, and nature camps. Maggie’s interests always focus on watershed health and marine science.

Sponsored by Energea

Tyler Hurlburt

Renewable Energy Investing

Tyler Hurlburt's talk on renewable energy investing, presented by Energea, will cover the opportunities and advantages of investing in solar energy. This session aims to enlighten investors about the growing potential in the renewable sector, highlighting the benefits of solar investments and how they contribute to a sustainable future. Tyler will explore the impact of renewable energy on the environment and economy and detail how individuals can participate in this green revolution through platforms like Energea.

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Ian Gibson

Home Gardening Techniques From The Farmers Perspective

Ian is the owner and operator of Wellstone Farm in Higganum Ct. Ian has an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology and a master’s of science degree from Nova Southeast University in marine biology and biological oceanography and coastal zone management.  Ian now spends his time teaching science and running his organic farm. Ian supplies wonderful food to many local restaurants, including River Taven, The Brush Mill, and Grano Arso. 

Leonard Wyeth AIA, CPHD


With more than 45 years of experience, Leonard’s work displays deep creativity and resourcefulness. His projects have included new houses, house renovations and restorations, interior design, landscape design, space planning, site planning, campus planning, and institutional, corporate, and urban design. Clients appreciate his hands-on approach and masterful ability to collaborate with teams of all stripes. He resides in Ivoryton, CT, with his family. When he isn’t thinking about architecture, you may find him deep in studying guitars and all things related to guitars and music.

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Sponsored by Energea

Doe Boyle

Children’s nature and science author

Doe, a Connecticut shoreline native, is a children’s nature and science author. She is also one of the founders of the Tassy Walden Awards. She will be reading her new book, Water, and talking kids about caring for the planet.

Sponsored by Energea

Kate Dzikiewicz

Greenwich Tree Conservatory

Kate assumed the role of Executive Director at the Greenwich Tree Conservancy in January 2024, following an eight-year tenure at the Bruce Museum. During five of those years, she served as the Seaside Center Manager, where she fostered collaborations with local government and nonprofit entities to deliver environmental and conservation education to tens of thousands of Greenwich families and adults. She also curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions at the Bruce Museum, covering various subjects ranging from the space race to the Amazon Rainforest. She has been the co-author of several scientific papers and has found great joy in stepping out of the lab and into the community.


Sponsored by Energea

Andrew Labonte

Moose in Connecticut

In this enlightening talk, Andrew La Bonte, a dedicated biologist with the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) wildlife division, delves into the fascinating world of moose in Connecticut. Drawing from his extensive experience and expertise, La Bonte offers a comprehensive overview that spans the historical presence of these majestic creatures in the region, their current status, and the prospects for their future.

Sponsored by Energea

Rhea Drozdenko 

Connecticut River Conservatory

Rhea joined the Connecticut River Conservancy team in August 2022.  The CRC is a voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. They collaborate with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities.

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Sponsored by Energea

Bushy Hill Nature Center

Turtles & Invasive Species

Join us for a special Earth Day talk featuring guest speakers from Bushy Hill Nature Center as we delve into the fascinating world of turtles and the challenge of invasive species. In this enlightening session, our experts from Bushy Hill will share their extensive knowledge of the critical roles that turtles play in our ecosystems, highlighting the unique characteristics and behaviors of these remarkable reptiles. Furthermore, the talk will address the pressing issue of invasive species – plants, animals, and pathogens that are not native to an ecosystem and which can cause significant harm to local wildlife, including turtles.

Christine Palm

Connecticut House of Representatives

Make your voice heard! This is what Christine Palm encourages, especially when it comes to environmental issues. A Connecticut House of Representatives, Palm represents the towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex and Haddam. Additionally, he’s vice chair of the Environment Committee, through which she works on issues ranging from environmental justice reform and climate change curriculum to environmental initiatives and invasive species legislation. Currently, Palm is raising the most important climate change bill in Connecticut’s history. Hear about what’s underway, ask Palm questions about Connecticut and your hometown, plus learn how to use your voice to protect the planet.


Sponsored by Energea

Joe Attwater

Birds of Prey of CT

In this presentation, Joe Attwater, Conservation & Education Coordinator for CT Audubon’s Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center, flies into the fascinating world of birds of prey. Some of our most well-known and well-loved birds, these incredible fliers have amazing adaptations to their lifestyle, and some of the best conservation stories of any bird. Learn about which ones you can expect to see in CT, as well as tips and tricks for finding and identifying them.

Sponsored by Energea

Paul Colburn

Black Bears in Connecticut

In this compelling presentation, Paul Colburn, a certified Connecticut Master Wildlife Conservationist, explores the intriguing presence of black bears in Connecticut. Drawing on his knowledge and field experiences, Colburn provides an in-depth look at the biology, behavior, and burgeoning population of black bears within the state. He addresses the complex relationship between these majestic animals and human populations, highlighting both the challenges and strategies for cohabitation. Through engaging anecdotes and evidence-based insights, attendees will learn about the importance of black bear conservation, the impact of human activities on their habitats, and practical tips for minimizing conflicts. This talk is an essential session for anyone interested in wildlife management, conservation efforts, and fostering a harmonious coexistence with one of Connecticut's most iconic species.


Sponsored by Energea

Suzanne Thompson

Saving our Land, Air and Water Together

Suzanne Thompson works with Save the Sound to protect the Oswegatchie Hills, a coastal forest in East Lyme on the banks of the Niantic River, a tidal estuary of Long Island Sound. One of Save the Sound's successes is The Preserve in Old Saybrook, a 1,000 acre preserve that was rescued from development in 2017, after decades of local grassroots advocacy to protect the land. The mission of Save the Sound is to protect and improve the land, air, and water of the whole Long Island Sound region. Suzanne will explain how the organization uses legal and scientific expertise and brings people together to achieve results that benefit our environment for current and future generations.

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