Political Advisor at the United Nations (Buckland native) Adam is currently based at the United Nations in New York working on Syria. In April, he returned from two years in Jerusalem where he was the chief regional advisor to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. Previously he was the Team Leader of a UN-led negotiation in Iraq between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government over disputed internal boundaries. He was also in Baghdad with the UN in 2005-2006 to advise on constitution drafting and national dialogue. Before joining the UN, Adam was Campaign Manager for a US Congressman and worked on John Kerry’s presidential campaign as a member of his foreign policy team.
Landscape Sculptor, Musician & TV Production Assistant (Buckland) Philippe hails from NYC & settled in Shelburne Falls after 911. He plays percussion in the reggae band The Equalites & works at Greenfield Community Television by day. Several years ago Philippe began constructing sculptures in a wooded area by the Deerfield Riverside with found natural & manmade material. Philippe’s sculpture garden is a dynamic art installation that changes with the seasons & the ebb/flow of the nearby river. He has begun a second installation high upon a hill near Catamount Hill.
State Entomologist & Director of the Division of Plant Industry at the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food (Strafford, NH) Piera’s core mission is to reduce the economic and environmental damage associated with introduced plant pests by limiting their movement along trade pathways. She has a life-long interest in plant-insect interactions and a background in insect behavior, ecology, and evolution. She coordinates with state and federal agencies to assess, prepare for, and respond to a variety of established, recently introduced, and potentially threatening insects and diseases.
Singer/Songwriter & Sense of Place Educator (Colrain) Erica is an award-winning singer/songwriter, & a 'sense of place' artist, speaker & educator. She works with the public and organizations to inspire a sense of place & belonging that is deeply needed in the world today. Her programs help us tap into our stories, memories & experiences, as well as knowledge of local or regional nature, culture, facts and events, to create the kind of personal bond with places that leads to caring & stewardship. She has delivered programs at parks, museums & learning centers across the country, creatively evoking a sense of place in order to enrich lives & communities, empower creative story-making & inspire stewardship.
Actor, Ensemble Leader & Puppeteer at Double Edge Theater (Ashfield) An actor & puppeteer from Argentina working at Double Edge Theater since 1996, Carlos Uriona co-founded the theater’s annual summer series of Indoor/Outdoor Traveling Spectacle performances in 2002. Previously Carlos served as Managing Director at the Clarence Brown Theater in Tennessee. He founded & acted in the award-winning Argentine puppet theatre, Diablomundo. Carlos organized groups of self-managed actors and artist cooperatives as his contribution to the Argentine fight for freedom during the military dictatorship from 1976-1982. Carlos is a recipient of many accolades & awards, including the Doris Duke/Andrew Mellon/TCG New Generations Mentorship Award.
West Central MA Hiking Meetup Leader (Buckland) Earl is an outdoor enthusiast. In 2012 he began organizing local outings for a group of intrepid hikers. As a trip leader, Earl provides a mechanism for adventure seekers to challenge themselves and supports them in reaching and exceeding their personal goals. During the week Earl is Program Director at a group home in Greenfield where he is responsible for program development, implementation of clinical plans and crisis intervention for clients with intellectual disabilities.
Director of Community Outreach at Franklin Land Trust (Shelburne Falls) Wendy Sweetser Ferris’ work is focused on assisting small towns conserve their special places and rural character. She directed the Highland Communities Initiative, an innovative program dedicated to building capacity for conservation and community preservation in the 38 towns west of the Connecticut River Valley for several years. She wrote her masters thesis on the Community Preservation Act in 2002 and has been helping small towns pursue it ever since. Now at FLT, Wendy is building awareness and support for the importance of land conservation in our communities.
Inquisitive Human & Chairman, Town of Buckland Select Board (Buckland) Cheryl is a dedicated questioner brimming with curiosity. Seeking to understand and challenging assumptions, Cheryl is a lively addition to the Select Board. Elected in May 2011, she is in her second year of a three-year term. "Governance is an interactive experience of working relationships suffused with accountability, questioning, and trust." She wonders if our governance model is sustainable for a rapidly fast-forwarded future. Her current interests include leadership development, connectivity, opportunity distribution, and community-based investment models. Settled in Buckland since 2001, she’s completely unpacked the contents of a military childhood.
Activist, Community Organizer & Founder/Executive Director at Hilltown Families (West Chesterfield) Sienna has worked towards supporting strong and healthy communities for the past 20 years. Her work on the forefront of the global environmental movement in the 90’s with Greenpeace International awoke her to the importance of supporting and developing value systems that stem from one’s local environment. As the Founder and Executive Director of Hilltown Families, Sienna believes in creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children. Sienna works to accomplish this by supporting and creating community building events, community based educational opportunities, and community service learning experiences.
Vocalist, Producer & Composer (Amherst) Michelle Chamuel is a Massachusetts-born recording artist who has been making music since age 4. Michelle earned her BFA in music technology at the University of Michigan where she became the front woman for rock band, Ella Riot. The band operated for 5 years before going on hiatus in 2011. In 2012, Michelle participated on season 4 of NBC's The Voice - teaming up with
international entertainment icon Usher Raymond, and taking home 2nd place. Now, Michelle returns to Western Massachusetts to create music and continue the elusive quest for enlightenment. She is releasing her debut album, All I Want, as The Reverb Junkie, in September 2013.
Media Artist, Civic Hacker & Senior Designer at Communicate Health (Northampton) As a Senior Designer at Communicate Health, Molly specializes in creating usable, accessible health communication products for special populations, including people with limited health literacy skills. Committed to designing for good causes, Molly has worked on board games, documentary films, and community murals. She helped organize the Health Literacy Hackathon and Hack for Western Mass, and loves bringing together technologists and community members to collaborate on addressing local challenges. Next year, she will be a 2014 Code for America Fellow. Molly’s mission is to empower people improve their communities through design.
Glass Artist (Shelburne Falls) Josh’s vision in glass is as vast as the universe, an unlimited landscape that stretches from the mysteries of the ocean to the far reaches of space. Over the last 40 years, his art has evolved and grown as he has experimented, stumbled and learned from many mistakes. Josh builds his own furnaces and has mastered the alchemy of mixing and melting metallic oxides with sand to create the vibrant colors that he is so well known for. His “Planet Series” are small microcosmic worlds with oceans, continents and glittering, improbably detailed cities and landscapes.
Singer, Educator & Student (Griswold, CT) Chris is a Passamaquoddy, born and raised on the Indian Township reservation in Eastern Maine. Chris resides in Connecticut as a student through UConn’s Center for Continuing Studies. He is a member of the Mystic River Singers based out of Ledyard, CT and has traveled across the US and Canada singing at powwows and cultural events. Chris and Mystic River produce recordings of their own music and perform on stage for educational/theatrical productions. Chris is passionate about sharing his experiences growing up on the reservation, his transition to off reservation life and the role music plays in finding his ‘sense of place.’
CONFERENCE HOST Social Entrepreneur & Partner at InCommN LLC (Shelburne) Daniel and his partners run InCommN, LLC, a consultancy which builds valuable connections among enterprises. Daniel founded Don’t Eat Lunch Alone, free, open networking lunches held in several Western Mass towns, as an alternative for business, creative, and community leaders to meet and build collaborative relationships. Earlier, he worked as a software developer in a family business, Lieberman’s Gallery, LLP, and as a Project Manager and Business Analyst for Biztech Solutions in Piscataway, NJ.Daniel grew up in NJ. He’s been refining his sense of place in Western Mass since 1991. He lives with Kathy Puckett (AKA the Crazy Orchid Lady) in Shelburne.