Laura Dunn is a storyteller and filmmaker who has explored a number of conservation themes. Her movies include BABY (1999), which presents her personal take on population issues, GREEN (2000), which documents pollution and environmental injustice along the Mississippi River petrochemical corridor, BECOME THE SKY (2002), which depicts the overlaps of energy, politics and war in Texas, THE UNFORESEEN (2007), which shows the collision between a development and environmental efforts in the Austin area, and LOOK & SEE (2016), which tells the story of traditional and industrial agriculture, as seen through the eyes of the poet and farmer, Wendell Berry. She is currently working on yet another film, FOREST AND THE TREES, which looks at the denaturing of American childhood.
Ms Stevens has spent her career in the non-profit sector, beginning with a dozen years of work at the United Way in Flint, Michigan and New Orleans, Louisiana. Her next chapter took her to San Antonio, where she served as state development officer for the Nature Conservancy of Texas, helping build its capacity for staff payroll and land acquisitions. She next came to Austin, where she spent 13 years working for the Environmental Defense Fund’s Texas office, serving first as its director of development, and later as its regional managing director, helping further its work in conservation research, market-based solutions, and advocacy. Following her work at EDF, she served as executive director at the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center. Together with her volunteer role starting both the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and the Families in Nature group, her job at Westcave put her squarely in the effort to improve environmental education, and to foster a better connection between young people and nature. More recently, she has worked as a leadership and life counselor at Moonlight Coaching.
Ms Shea began her career as a journalist at NPR stations in Minnesota and Pennsylvania, but later grew more interested in direct involvement in policy issues. In 1988, she arrived in Austin to start the Texas chapter of Clean Water Action. By 1992, she had grown engaged with the effort to protect Barton Springs, and went on to co-found and serve as the director of the Save Our Springs Coalition. Her interest then turned to government, and she ran and won a seat on Austin City Council. During her 1993-96 terms on Council, she focused on environmental, consumer and electoral concerns. Since 1999, she has worked as a consultant on carbon reduction, energy efficiency, sewer infrastructure, and water transfers. In 2014, she returned to government, and has served since on the Travis County Commissioners Court, emphasizing water conservation and wildfire prevention.
Since the year 2000, Ms Schneider has served as executive director of the lobbying and organizing 501(c)(4) group, the Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE), and its (c)(3) research and education arm, the Texas Campaign for the Environment Fund. TCE runs a door-to-door canvass with a presence in 181 state legislative districts in Texas, educating citizens and building support for environmental efforts. The Campaign has worked on a variety of topics, including Zero Waste promotion, landfill opposition, citizen complaint handling, retail businesses’ toxic chemical management, air pollution grandfathered exemptions, electronic waste recycling, municipal composting, oil and gas drilling rules, and toxic waste site cleanup standards.
Ms Moorhead is the executive director of the lobbying group, Texas Impact. She is also the leader of the Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Texas Impact’s sister research and education organization. These two groups speak for the progressive faith community, including delegates from the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. In representing this community, she has helped bring environmental concerns including climate, water, energy and other topics to the attention of the public and their elected officials. One of their green initiatives is Texas Interfaith Power and Light, which seeks to reduce global warming and air pollution through energy conservation and renewable electricity sources. A second key program is the Water Captains project, which helps bring local congregations and citizens into the state’s water planning process. Outside of Texas Impact and the Interfaith Center, Ms Moorhead also serves as an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church, and teaches about lobbying at St. Edward’s University and on faith and public policy at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Mr. Marston is an environmental attorney. He began his career in 1979 as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas, working in the Environmental Protection Division. Then, from 1980 through 1988, he was a partner in the private law firm of Doggett, Jacks, Marston and Perlmutter. In 1988, he opened the Environmental Defense Fund office in Texas, where he worked through 2020, focusing on climate, energy, air pollution, and a wide variety of other conservation efforts. At EDF, he was especially active in designing and arguing for the Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard, which helped drive a boom in wind and solar energy in the state. He also was a key player in the fight to stop the utility TXU from building a dozen coal plants in Texas. Outside of EDF, he has been an active volunteer with Pecan Street, a partnership among Austin Energy, UT, the Austin Chamber, and a number of high-tech companies to reform the U.S. electrical grid. Some of his other board roles include serving as the president of the Texas League of Conservation Voters, vice chair of the Texas Ethics Commission, chair of the board of the Texas Observer, and a trustee for Texas Watch, Texas Rural Legal Aid, Texas Citizens Action, and other groups. He has also been engaged outside of Texas, especially with promoting climate-related car legislation in California, and in improving greenhouse emission regulations nationwide.
Mr. Lasley served in the U.S. Air Force and as a lieutenant with the Austin police force, but in more recent years became widely known for his role as a birdwatcher, wildlife photographer, nature guide, and member of the iNaturalist community. A very skilled birder, he worked as the co-editor of North American Birds, a publication of the American Birding Association, and as the secretary of the Texas Bird Records Committee of the Texas Ornithological Society. His wildlife photos won recognition from the Valley Land Fund wildlife photo contest. More than 2000 of his images found their way into over 100 publications, including a variety of magazines, such as Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife, American Birds, and Wildlife Conservation, as well as in Greg Lasley’s Texas Wildlife Portraits, a book from Texas A&M University Press. From 1985 to 2005, he shared his knowledge of the outdoors by leading bird-watching trips through much of the Western Hemisphere for the ecotourism firm, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours. His expertise has also found its way to the Internet. And, with over 262,000 identifications of birds, dragonflies, damselflies and other creatures provided for more than 13,000 users, Mr. Lasley was a valuable ally in explaining the natural world to the iNaturalist network.
David Lake is a Texas native and registered architect whose career began in 1979 at the noted San Antonio firm of Ford Powell & Carson. It was there that he met Ted Flato, and they went on to co-found the design partnership Lake/Flato in 1984. In the years since, Lake/Flato has garnered national recognition for their sustainable building practices, earning more AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Projects than any firm in the world. Their designs are known for their close integration with the surrounding landscape, prevailing breeze and solar exposure, their use of local materials and craft, and their respect for vernacular designs.
Some of their structures, such as the Prow Residence in the Davis Mountains, are entirely off-grid, providing their own water and energy. The Dixon Water Foundation Josey Pavilion, an education center designed to teach visitors about resource conservation and watershed protection, was the first Living Building Challenge certified project in Texas. Other designs have explored the savings available through prefabrication, such as the firm’s modular Porch House series.
Mr. Lake’s recent focus has been on district making and revitalizing the urban core. An example is the redevelopment of the historic Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, a project that reused salvaged materials and create a new vibrant destination in San Antonio. Another is the LEED Platinum Austin Central Library, where 85% of regularly occupied space is daylit, and 99% feature views to the outdoors. The library’s rooftop butterfly garden overlooking the neighboring Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake and the screened reading porches have helped made it a popular destination and important resource for the local community.
Bob King has worked in the sustainable energy field for many years, with 1970s-era stints in Texas at the Governor’s Energy Advisory Council, the Railroad Commission, the Texas Energy Development Fund, and with a volunteer effort to help start the Texas Solar Energy Society. He later held paid positions out-of-state, including ones in Tennessee with the TVA’s Residential Solar Applications Branch, and in California with the Solar Energy Assurance Labeling Program, Local Government Commission, and the Public Utilities Commission Advisory Committee. He returned to Texas in 1983 to lead the Office of Natural Resources during Jim Hightower’s term as Agriculture Commissioner, and meanwhile helped start the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association. After leaving TDA, from 1991 through 1993, Mr. King coordinated the LOAN STAR revolving loan fund in Texas, which supported energy audits and efficiency retrofits for governmental clients. During the 1993-96 period, he worked for Kenetech, helping build and connect the first commercial-scale wind farm in Texas, and in 1996-97, helped design the ERCOT wholesale electricity market for efficiency and renewable energy customers. In recent years, he has operated out of the Good Company Associates consulting firm, and has been focusing on a smart meter program to allow customers to share energy data.
Ms Kelly is a practicing environmental lawyer and former chemical engineer. She currently works in the law firm, Culp & Kelly, on natural resource law and policy issues in the American West. Previously, she managed a consulting firm, Parula, that dealt with freshwater concerns in concert with the Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited and the Environmental Defense Fund [EDF]. From 2002 through 2010, she served as vice president for EDF’s program in Rivers and Deltas, promoting stream flow protections in Texas, as well as water resource efforts in California, Louisiana and North Carolina. From 1989 until she came to EDF, she led the Texas Center for Policy Studies. The Center worked on a variety of environmental projects in the state, including toxic wastes, pesticide regulations, dams, savings and loan association bailouts, General Land Office and Veterans Land Board reforms, and production of the educational book and website, The Texas Environmental Atlas. Her earliest legal work was with the partnership, Henry, Kelly, Lowerre, and Frederick, a Texas firm dedicated to representing non-profit groups, ranchers, farmers, and neighborhood associations in environmental matters.