2018 Speakers


L. Frank They/Them

L. Frank is a Tongva-Ajachmem artist, writer, tribal scholar, cartoonist, and indigenous language activist. In 1990, L. Frank was Artist in Residence at the Headland Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California; their artwork has been exhibited widely throughout California and appears in several publications. Their regular column/graphic, "Acorn Soup", has appeared in the quarterly newsletter News from Native California[4] since 1992. "Acorn Soup" features the comic adventures of Coyote in his various guises: the Creator of the Universe and the Buffoon, the Trickster and the Tricked, always the Indian's Wise Fool. A selection of L. Frank's "Acorn Soup" cartoons have been collected and published in book form. There are a Board Member of the California Indian Basketweavers Association and one of seven founding board members of the Advocates for Indigenous California Languages, organizations that are involved in the preservation and revival of Native Californian languages through traditional arts practice, language immersion, conferences and workshops. In 2016, Frank built a traditional Tongva tule boat for Northwest Journeys, an intertribal event in Washington state, which was highlighted on the KCET channel.


Silvia vásquez-lavado she/her

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a native Peruvian and sexual violence survivor. In October 2005, during a trek to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest, Silvia realized this journey would allow her to rekindle her inner power and heal her spiritualy. During her 7 day magical adventure through the Himalayas, Silvia developed an incredible sense of resilience, strength, compassion and more important, the reconnection to her inner courageous girl. Silvia was moved so deeply by the power of Mt. Everest that she made a promise to return one day to attempt to reach the peak.

Silvia began a quest to climb the world’s Seven Summits and this spring completed her journey, earring her the title of the first openly gay woman to do so. 


miho aida she/her

Miho Aida, originally from Tokyo, Japan, is an award-winning filmmaker, environmental educator and adventure athlete dedicated to create a culture that gives a voice to marginalized communities in the outdoor and environmental industry. She currently works as the Equity and Inclusion Coordinator at NatureBridge, a non-profit environmental science education partner of the National Park Service. Miho is recognized for her inspirational environmental media project called “If She Can Do It, You Can Too: Empowering Women Through Outdoor Role Models.” Her first film: The Sacred Place Where Life Begins – Gwich’in Women Speak was produced to amplify the voice of Arctic Indigenous Gwich'in nation's effort to protect their sacred land from a potential oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Miho has also received the 2017 SHIFT Adventure Athlete Award and the 2018 NOLS Alumni Achievement Award.


Sue Rechner she/her

Sue Rechner has a long history of building brands in the outdoor industry. From Victorinox Swiss Army to a decade at Confluence Outdoor, Sue recently transitioned to President of Merrell where she emphasizes mentorship for women in the industry and supporting "everyday heroes" and nonprofits.  


Ryan Fikes, he/him

Ryan is a trained biologist with expertise in coastal ecology and habitat restoration, and serves as Staff Scientist for NWF’s Gulf of Mexico Restoration Program, where he provides scientific expertise to identify and evaluate restoration projects. He also advises the program on the effects of the Gulf Oil Spill on habitats and wildlife, assists in evaluating restoration plans, and helps to prioritize projects. Ryan sits on NWF’s DEIJ Committee, which is committed to a successful sustainable diversity initiative by ensuring DEIJ is integrated into the organizational work and mission. He also co-chairs the DEIJ sub-committee on Employee Resource Groups.

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Mariah davis she/her

As a Field Manager for the National Wildlife Federation, Mariah manages outreach, grassroots advocacy, and civic engagement efforts to support the Choose Clean Water Coalition's policy priorities working to restore clean water to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Mariah coordinates conservation organizations efforts in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. This includes working with conservation organizations at the local, state and regional level to enact sound state policies to ensure watershed restoration success. Mariah holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Environmental Studies.


Jeremy browning he/him

Jeremy provides development support and co-chairs the DEI Team for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, headquartered in Annapolis, MD. The Alliance is a regional nonprofit with a mission to protect and restore land, rivers and streams of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Additionally, Jeremy co-founded Annapolis Pride in May of 2018 and will host the first Pride parade and festival in 2019.


Carlos Bermudez he/him

Carlos has spent the past 10 years building both in-person and online communities. He’s a member of the Hipcamp Support Team where he helps to build trust and happiness within the Hipcamp community as a resident expert on the Hipcamp.com platform. Prior to joining Hipcamp, Carlos was the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development at Gender Spectrum, a national nonprofit that aims to create a gender-inclusive world for all children and youth. Carlos has taught workshops on Gender & Race, Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Youth, The Importance of Online Communities, Organic Farming and Permaculture Design Principles.


Imara White he/him and she/her

Imara has 5 seasons of outdoor education experience, the majority as an educator/naturalist with the North Cascades Institute and most recently with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Imara has co-led two EDI trainings and attended multiple race and power conferences. Imara is currently pursuing a BA degree in anthropology and philosophy at Mount Holyoke College. 


Elyse rylander she/her

Elyse has worn many hats in the outdoor industry and education worlds. Since 2006 she has taken thousands of youth and adults on outdoor adventures all over North America, and during these adventures the interrogation of equity, access and privilege played a central role. In 2011 Elyse began her journey as founder of OUT There Adventures. During her time with OTA, Elyse has produced dozens of publications, presentations, interviews, trainings and program partnerships aimed at increasing queer visibility and further complicating the narrative of who goes outside and how. Elyse’s work has appeared in places such as the Rutledge International Handbook of Outdoor Studies, in print and person at industry events such as Outdoor Retailer, and in March of 2018 Elyse was named a “Top Woman in Conservation and Environmental Justice” by ECODiversity Magazine.


Mike Gallant He/Him

In nearly 5 years as an interpreter and educator for the National Park Service, Mike has had the incredible opportunity to help visitors and students from all over the world connect with some of the most treasured landscapesin the American West. Mike also works to build a more inclusive NPS by participating in a range of initiatives at all levels of the agency, often attempting to voice queer and seasonal perspectives in spaces where they aren’t typically heard. He serves on the Leadership Committee of the LGBTQ Employee Resource Group, is a facilitator in the Allies for Inclusion dialogue program, drafted the charter for the Yosemite Relevancy, Diversity, and Inclusion workgroup, and served on the Grand Canyon Diversity Council. 

PC: Autumn Harry

PC: Autumn Harry

Amelia Vigil

Amelia is a San Franciscan, Two- Spirit, Latinx,  pun-loving, playful, poet, outdoor educator, rock climber, identical twin. Her Indigenous heritage is Picuris Pueblo from her father and Purepecha from her mother. She has been involved with Bay Area American Indian Two Spirit (B.A.A.I.T.S) since 2013 and joined the Board of Directors in 2015. Her advocacy around LGBTQ rights and support of Indigenous self-governance are a constant in her life. In addition to her advocacy, Amelia has earned two Associate degrees from Feather River Community College: Liberal Studies and Outdoor Recreational Leadership, as well as a Bachelor's in English from Mills College. Currently, she serves as the Events and Communications Manager with Outward Bound California, a 501c3 organization that prioritizes experiential learning through outdoor education.  She recently joined Indigenous Women Hikes on a journey of reclamation and prayer in solidarity with Nuumu women and as an advocate for Two-Spirit representation and visibility. Walking over 110 miles of the Nuumu Poyo. 


Chad Lord he/him

Chad Lord is the Senior Director for National Parks Conservation Association’s Waters program. The program protects and restores America’s greatest natural treasures--large-scale aquatic ecosystems--surrounding national parks.

Chad was instrumental in co-managing NPCA’s campaign to encourage the Obama Administration to create the new Stonewall National Monument.

Before joining NPCA, Mr. Lord served for five years as senior legislative assistant for Congresswoman Betty McCollum. Chad’s portfolio included energy, environment, transportation, international trade, and budget/appropriations. Prior to his service with Congress, Chad was an advocate for human rights with the Human Rights Campaign. Chad lives with his husband and daughter in Washington, D.C.


So Sinopoulous-Lloyd they/them

Sophia ("So") Sinopoulos-Lloyd is a queer Greek-American who grew
up in Vermont. So worked as a seasonal shepherd throughout college
and learned much about belonging, awareness, and community from sheep.
Hoping to one day be as cool as sheep are, So studied wilderness
survival skills and also completed an MA that focused on relationships
between religion and ecology. So's work is animated by a study of
how personhood is shaped by landscapes and can be further informed
by intimate knowledge of place through naturalist study.
Along with their spouse, So runs Queer Nature and develops
nature-based programming for LGBTQ+ people.


Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd they/them

Pınar is a mentor, guide, facilitator and consultant; co-founder Queer Nature, a project stewarding earth-based queer community through ancestral skills, nature-connection and vision fast guiding. Enchanted by the liminal, Pınar is a nonbinary QTPOC with Huanca, Turkish and Chinese lineages. As an indigenous queer outdoor leader, their inspiration is envisioning decolonially-informed queer ancestral-futurism through interspecies accountability and the remediation of human exceptionalism. As a survival skills instructor, one of their core missions is to uplift and amplify the brilliant “survival skills” that BIPOC, LGBTQ2+ and other intersectional oppressed populations already have in their resilient bodies and stories of survivance.


Charlotte Overby she/her

Charlotte Overby is the Conservation Lands Foundation’s Colorado
Plateau Program Director, currently leading efforts to defend Utah’s
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from the Trump
Administration's attempts to dismantle it, as well as helping to
defend Bears Ears and other monuments. Prior to joining CLF,
she worked for the Nevada Wilderness Project in Reno, NV and
also for Patagonia in Ventura, CA. She has an MA in journalism f
rom the University of Missouri and was a freelance writer and
editor for field guides, the online edition of the New York Times
Magazine, and various other magazines and newspapers,
usually covering conservation and science issues.


Alex Carr Johnson he/him

Alex Carr Johnson serves as Executive Director of the Western Slope
Conservation Center, a grassroots environmental group that works
to protect the public lands and watershed of western Colorado.
Alex has spent his career working to conserve landscapes across
much of the western US and Alaska, both in the field, door-to-door,
and on capital steps. He also writes on the subject of the messy
relationships between humans and the environment, and his work
has appeared in Orion, Earth Island Journal, and High Country News,
and has been reprinted widely. He earned his MS in Environmental
Studies from the University of Montana, where he was named a Wyss
Scholar for Conservation in the Intermountain West. In his spare time,
Alex works on rebuilding an old house in the North Fork Valley and
running up and down mountains with his husband, Pete, and their pup, Luna.
You can learn more about him at www.alexandtheuniverse.com


Darian lightfoot she/her

Darian Lightfoot is from Southeast Iowa. She attended college at William
Woods University in Fulton, Missouri. Darian’s first Conservation Corps
experience was in 2013 when she was an Interpreter/Crew Leader
for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota. She then spent three summers
with the Summer Youth Corps, ending her last term in 2016 as the
Assistant Director. Darian started at Northwest Youth Corps in November,
2016 and wrapped up working with them in July. She is now the
LGBTQ Graduate Employee for the University of Oregon where she
is earning her Masters of Public Policy. For fun, Darian enjoys dreaming
of being on a roller derby team and reading in her hammock.


Tilly Schoonhoven She/her

Tilly is a white, queer, outdoors-loving yogi, born and raised in California.
She has a passion for enabling people to be outside, and to feel
comfortable in nature. Tilly has worked with all ages of people,
and is always amazed by the healing and life-changing experiences
she witnesses in the wilderness. She loves astronomy, epic fail
adventure stories, classic literature, western american history, bluegrass,
and laughing until she cries. She has worked for Avid4 Adventure, and
Outward Bound CA, two of Outside Magazine’s 100 Best Places to
Work in the year 2017. Tilly’s goal is to connect humans together,
through shared space, movement, and interaction with nature.

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Colleen McHugh she/her

Colleen McHugh has been a wilderness medicine instructor for the National
Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) for 4 years and has 10 years of
experience directing the non-profit program, City Kids Wilderness Project.
As a bisexual queer person, Colleen has contributed to the conversation
at NOLS wilderness medicine on curriculum and instructor training to
make wilderness medicine classes more inclusive for people of all genders.
Colleen geeks for all things risk management and wilderness medicine!


Dani Pungello she/her

Dani is a transfemme River Runner, Guide, and Adventure Education Instructor and Student. She loves sharing the unique river environments and ecosystems and the thrill of the rapids with all her friends, students, and guests. She has guided in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast. She loves rafting because it is a non-competitive team sport that is accessible to people of a variety of skills and abilities and because river gorges tend to be gorgeous.


B Freas They/them

B is a nonbinary plant lover from Baltimore, Maryland. While pursuing their undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont, they took the lead in planning the Translating Identity Conference, and have facilitated various Trans 101 and Gender Inclusive workshops since then. After completing their Bachelor's Degree in Parks Recreation and Tourism & Spanish, they moved to San Francisco to work at a Spanish Immersion public elementary school and teach hands-on science-based lessons in a school garden. In their free time they enjoy making art and writing poetry, playing soccer, indoor bouldering, trying their best to smash the white supremacist capitalist cis-hetero-patriarchy, and going on adventures with their partner.


Rebekah Foster she/her

Rebekah is a cisgender woman who is passionate about connecting people with nature through a lens of equity and inclusion. She has taught science in a school garden, led backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail and stargazed with kids in the mountains of Georgia. She sells veggies at her local farmers' market, loves to cook and share meals with friends and facilitates a biweekly conversation series with her San Francisco community. 


Thea Stutsman she/her

Thea works for The North Face on the Global Brand Marketing team. A love for the outdoors has guided her both personally and professionally to believe in the power of the outdoor industry as an agent of positive change. She is based in Oakland, CA.

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Hannah malvin she/her

Hannah is Senior Representative for Partnerships at The Wilderness Society, a public lands conservation nonprofit. She focuses on connecting Americans with public lands through reducing barriers to access, supporting grassroots leaders focused on diversity outside, and expanding the narrative of who belongs outside. Hannah is also the Founder and Director of Pride Outside, an organization dedicated to connecting the LGBTQ community around the outdoors and boosting LGBTQ representation and inclusion outside. They also host hikes, outdoor skills classes, and LGBTQ history walking tours. Pride Outside is working with the International Ranger Federation to build a global network for LGBTQ park rangers.



Nicole Browning She/Her

Originally from New England, Nicole Browning has called the Northwest home since 2006, when she moved to Seattle to take advantage of the city’s rowing scene. As Sr. Program Manager, For All Marketing at REI, Nicole aligns marketing, communication and impact strategies to help the Co-op reach new audiences and take action on the belief that a life outdoors is a life well lived, FOR ALL.  Before joining the Co-op in May, she served as the Director for Strategic Communications & Integrated Marketing for the University of Washington’s Division of Student Life, connecting students, families, and alumni with people and experiences outside of the classroom that help them be more successful within it. Prior to the UW, she worked at the intersection of social impact and marketing across technology, consulting, and a variety of other industries.


Tim leonard he/him

Timothy Leonard has served with National Parks Conservation Association’s northeast program staff since 2014. Timothy spent his youth in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley where frequent camping and hiking trips with his family resulted in a lifelong interest in the outdoors and environmental stewardship.  After graduating from Vassar with a degree in urban studies, Timothy worked at a New York-based environmental law firm while continuing to explore his particular interest in nature’s ongoing battle with urban development. Nowadays, Timothy is thrilled to be working in support of our national parks and enjoys exploring our country’s public lands. Timothy’s favorite parks are Rocky Mountain National Park and Cape Cod National Seashore but he also enjoys historic sites such as Stonewall National Monument, Minute Man National Historical Park, and the many national park sites of Boston.