First there was one hip hop professional on the Heartwood podcast, then there were two. Miles Braxton is a Business Development Analyst for Sol Customer Solutions, an energy solutions firm in Washington DC. In his work, Miles helps to investigate and engage potential clients in emerging solar markets, in addition to creating preliminary solar array designs for proposals. Miles graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Environmental Science. At U.Va., he founded and led an organization, Black Leaders for Environmental Sustainability (BLES), that works to install interactive solar charging stations around campus grounds and encourages minority students to increase their sustainability awareness and efforts. Miles came to FES this fall with a presentation called “Young, Gifted and Black” where he talked about building inspiration by combining entrepreneurship and sustainability. He talks in this episode about his own origin story in the energy space, future directions in the field, and drops some bars to wrap it all together.
Recorded live on site at Yale-Myers Forest in northeastern Connecticut, Thomas Easley sits down with Rachel Reyna, chief of Rural and Community Forestry at the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry, and recent recipient of the Mira Lloyd Dock Outstanding Woman Conservationist Award. Rachel discusses adaptive management and the necessity for awareness of the different constraints and histories among certain stakeholder groups in her work. As a forestry professional, Reyna works to create a vision of forestry that connects and appeals to a broad constituency.
CJ Goulding, Partner at the Avarna Group and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) professional, joins Heartwood to share reflections on his work spent fostering discomfort for personal and community growth in both traditional and outdoor-oriented communities. In his work with the Children & Nature Network and Fresh Tracks, CJ trains, mentors and supports a national network of over 330 leaders who are changing systems and creating equitable access to nature in their communities. This work draws from experience leading outdoor trips, conservation crews, and youth internship programs for the National Park Service. CJ has a deep reservoir of self-awareness and shares insights on opportunities and barriers to understanding when it comes to inclusion work, and is committed to helping his clients and community break through their own perceptions in order to grow.
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.
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.