Category Archives: Heartwood

Thomas Rashad Easley, the Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES), hosts the Heartwood podcast recorded on the FES campus in New Haven, Connecticut. Thomas meets with guests spanning the environmental spectrum, in pursuit of one goal: understanding how the heart impacts the woods, and the woods impact the heart.

2. Seeing the Foresters for the Trees: Terry Baker and new pathways at the Society of American Foresters


Thomas Easley sits down with Terry Baker, CEO of the Society of American Foresters, and an alumnus of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Terry lives by a mantra–give people the ability to see the foresters for the trees. By that, he means, help folks recognize how much around them is made possible by dedicated forestry professionals who are doing work to make our world more liveable. In Terry’s words, “A professional forester was easily defined 100 years ago. Nowadays, as a profession, we’re extremely fragmented and highly specific.” Terry has a reputation for being a leader who values relationships, a leader who listens, and a leader who takes action. He has experience in building partnerships and strategic alliances to leverage outcomes and is expanding relationships with key partners and stakeholders to strengthen SAF’s voice and advance the profession as well as the members. In this conversation, Terry shares insights on providing a space for every forester who manages vegetation in both urban and rural locations without diluting the historic mission of the organization.

1. The Kids are Alright: Building an Environmental Ethic in New Haven’s Young People

The second season of Heartwood kicks off with a conversation that reminds us that everything starts with the next generation. Dr. Thomas Easley sits with participants and leadership at Solar Youth, a local nonprofit that engages young people in New Haven to explore their neighborhoods and local environments with an emphasis on leadership. First, you’ll hear from Yexandra Diaz, Site Coordinator at Solar Youth, who has lived in New Haven for much of her life, and leads the students through programming. Listen to every word Yexandra says, particularly her words about New Haven, Connecticut. Whether it’s about white fragility, savior mentality, or pitfalls in nonprofit leadership, Yex speaks truth to power about what New Haven needs to succeed. If you stick around to the end, you’ll hear from the youth who benefit from this program, and all these qualities that make them so brilliant, from their jokes to their insights about why these programs matter.

8. (LIVE) Real Talk with Yale’s Diversity and Inclusion Professionals: Representatives from across the campus share lessons, frustrations, and opportunities

Taryn Wolf is the Director of Academic Administration at the Yale School of Art. Taryn joined the Yale School of Art in February, coming from the New School where she was senior director of recruitment and outreach. Before that she held positions at MICA, CalArts, and the School of Visual Arts. Taryn also holds a BFA from MICA. In her new role, Taryn will provide strategic leadership for the Office of Academic Administration—working with the directors of the school’s graduate and undergraduate program areas and the director of finance and administration in order to coordinate the administrative activities relating to the academic policies, procedures, and programs of the School of Art, including alumni relations and student career services.

Darin Latimore is the Deputy Dean and Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine (General Medicine) at the Yale School of Medicine. Prior to Yale, Darin served as the associate dean for student and resident diversity at the University of California-Davis School of Medicine, where he oversaw medical student and resident diversity programs. He developed initiatives to increase the pipeline of socio-economically disadvantaged students, residents, and faculty and has spearheaded programs to support and empower underrepresented students who are interested in attending medical school.

At UC Davis, Latimore helped expand the definition of diversity beyond African-American, Hispanic, and Native American individuals to include underrepresented Asian-American groups and individuals who are economically disadvantaged. Today, approximately 43% of UC Davis medical students fall into one of these categories. He has served as chair or an active member on numerous committees, task forces, and local, state and national working groups dedicated to diversity, equal opportunity, and medical education. He also maintains a clinical practice caring for patients with HIV/AIDS at the Center of AIDS Research, Education, and Services.

Chantal Rodriguez is the Associate Dean of Yale School of Drama. She served as Assistant Dean of the school for the 2016-2017 academic year. From 2009-2016 she worked as the Programming Director and Literary Manager of the Latino Theater Company, operators of the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC), a multi-theater complex in downtown L.A. At the LATC, she helped produce many seasons of culturally diverse work including the historic Encuentro 2014 festival. As a scholar with a specialization in U.S. Latinx Theater, she has lectured at the University of California Los Angeles, Emerson College Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, California State University at Northridge, and California Institute for the Arts. Her work has been published in Theatre Journal, Latin American Theatre Review, e-misférica and Theatre Research International. In 2011, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press published her monograph, “The Latino Theatre Initiative/Center Theatre Group Papers,” which was nominated for three Latino Literacy Now International Book Awards. She is an active member of the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, a recipient of the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s 2016 Rainbow Award, and was recognized as a Young Leader of Color by TCG in 2011. She is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television where she earned a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies, and Santa Clara University where she earned a B.A. in Theater and Spanish Studies.

7. Raised By Animals: Dr. Jennifer Verdolin outlines the interconnectedness of the human ecosystem and the animal kingdom

JENNIFER L. VERDOLIN is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona and an expert in animal behavior. The author of two books, including Wild Connection: What Animal Courtship and Mating Tell Us About Human Relationships and Raised by Animals: The Surprising New Science of Animal Family Dynamics, she draws on animal behavior to reveal how much we can learn from other species to improve our relationships, families, and lives. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, NPR, Slate, The Washington Post, and National Geographic. Jennifer was a featured guest on the D.L. Hughley Show from 2014-2018 and is a frequent media guest on other radio and podcast shows. She enjoys engaging the public and speaks at places like the 92nd St Y and universities around the country. She also consults for television production companies in the US and abroad.

6. You Actually Work Together?: Hosts of the “Political Climate” Podcast on what it’s like to spend every day working across the aisle

Political Climate is a bipartisan podcast on energy and environmental politics in America, presented by the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Political Climate goes beyond the echo chambers to bring you civil conversations, fierce debates and insider perspectives, with hosts and guests from across the political spectrum. Join Democrat and Republican energy experts Brandon Hurlbut and Shane Skelton, along with Greentech Media’s Julia Pyper, as we explore how energy and environment policies get made.

5. When Jay-Z Meets Green Trees: Heartwood Producer Chris Perkins talks about the role of music in defining an environmental ethic

Chris Perkins is a joint-degree M.E.M. and M.B.A. candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale School of Management from Seattle, WA. His professional interests include standards for stewardship of natural resources, supply chain management, green finance, public-private community conservation partnerships, and next-generation environmental leadership. Most recently, he lived in Jackson, WY, where he worked at the Center for Jackson Hole, the nonprofit responsible for the SHIFT Festival, an exploration of outdoor recreation, conservation, and public health. At FES, he is the founder of Outdoor Rec Industry Student Interest Group, and produces the Heartwood Podcast alongside Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Thomas Easley. He also provides logistical support to the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge.

4. Young, Black, and Sustainable: Jarami Bond tells us why carpet is a hidden secret of environmental solutions

Featured as a 2017 GreenBiz 30 Under 30 emerging leader in sustainable business, Jarami Bond develops strategy, crafts communications, and leverages the power of storytelling to help mission-driven brands unlock business growth opportunities, build brand awareness, cultivate healthy company culture, and maximize positive impact. In his free time, he uses his voice, keyboard, and cameras to tell meaningful stories and better the lives of others.

Currently, Jarami serves as A&D Market Manager at Teknion.
From 2015-2019, Jarami served as the Sustainability Strategy Manager at Interface Americas, a globally-recognized sustainability leader and the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial carpet tile.

Jarami supported the advancement of Interface’s mission through strategic customer engagement and business development. He spoke at customer-facing events and conferences, sharing Interface’s sustainability story to differentiate and inspire. Jarami also worked
with Marketing and Global Communications to develop sales tools and facilitate technical trainings that equipped account executives to leverage Interface’s sustainability progress to stimulate marketplace advantage.

Jarami also created pathways for employees to connect deeply to company vision and values and make positive impacts by curating internal communications, developing employee engagement programs, and supporting diversity and inclusion strategy.

Jarami is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Environmental Science with a focus on Sustainable Materials and Technology. While at NC State, he scored three engineering internships with the NC Department of Transportation and a sustainability
internship with the City of Raleigh Office of Sustainability.

3. A Leader of Forestry: Sam Cook talks about his non-traditional path to success in forestry

Sam Cook is the Executive Director of Forest Asset for the NC State College of Natural Resources and VP for the Natural Resources Foundation Board. He is the former Director of Forestry for the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation in the Lowcountry (Charleston) of South Carolina and has maintained a Consulting Forestry business since 2007 in North and South Carolina. Prior to this work, Sam served in several managerial positions for International Paper Company’s Forest Resources Division for over 15 years. He has worked for Duke Energy in Durham, NC for nine years and started his forestry career with the USDA Forest Service Intermountain Forest and Range Experimental Station in Boise, ID. Sam completed an A.S. in Forestry from Tuskegee University in 1981 and a B.S. in Forest Management from NC State University in 1984.

2. The Challenges of Leadership: Dean Indy Burke connects her story to the challenges of leading one of the best environmental schools in the country

Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke is the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She is an ecosystem ecologist whose work has focused on carbon and nitrogen cycling in semi-arid rangeland ecosystems and the effects of land management and climate variability on these systems. A respected educator and intellectual leader in the U.S. and internationally, she is particularly interested in fostering interdisciplinary scholarship.

1. Alabama to Connecticut: Easley’s path from backyard garden to hip-hop forestry and deanship at FES

Dr. Thomas RaShad Easley has spent most of his career as a diversity professional. As a diversity professional he has focused on the recruitment, retention of diverse talent in natural resource disciplines. Easley earned his undergraduate degree in Forest Science from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical (A&M) University; his master’s degree in Forest Genetics is from Iowa State University; and his doctorate in Adult Education is from NC State University. Easley is the Assistant Dean of Community and Inclusion in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. In this role, he assists with enhancing diversity by promoting access to education for all people, and developing scholarly/relevant programming around workplace equity. Now, as a diversity professional, Easley leverages his background in forestry/genetics/education to teach community workshops, course lectures, and provide diversity facilitation to his place of employment as well as to others that he mentors. In conclusion, with all of Easley’s academic experience he credits being an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America as part of his success. He is a forester and that has contributed to his vocational and scientific success. He is a former campus pastor and he credits that for teaching him how to work with people. Lastly, Dr. Easley is also a musician and is known as RaShad Eas in the world of music. His art is called “Save Your Life Music” because he puts a message of love, embracing self and helping others in his music.