Opening Plenary: Human Ingenuity in Climate Action-Stories from across the Nation

Tuesday, 9:30am to 10:30am

Lakeside Exhibition Hall

Human Ingenuity in Climate Action-Stories from across the Nation

Michael McCormick, Division President/Strategic Advisory Services (SAS), Harris and Associates
Jessica Hitt, Lead Scientist and CAKE Program Manager, EcoAdapt


QUEEN QUET, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation-The "Art-ivist" 

Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine is a published author, computer scientist, lecturer, mathematician, historian, columnist, preservationist, environmental justice advocate, environmentalist, film consultant, and “The Art-ivist.” She is the founder of the premiere advocacy organization for the continuation of Gullah/Geechee culture, the Gullah/Geechee Sea Island Coalition. Queen Quet was selected, elected, and enstooled by her people to be the first Queen Mother, “head pun de bodee,” and official spokesperson for the Gullah/Geechee Nation. As a result, she is respectfully referred to as “Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State for the Gullah/Geechee Nation.” Queen Quet has not only provided “histo-musical presentations” throughout the world, but was also the first Gullah/Geechee person to speak on behalf of her people before the United Nations in Genevé, Switzerland. Queen Quet was one of the first of seven inductees in the Gullah/Geechee Nation Hall of Fame. She received the “Anointed Spirit Award” for her leadership and for being a visionary. Queen Quet is a directorate member for IHRAAM and for the International Commission on Human Rights. She represented these bodies and the Gullah/ Geechee Nation at the “United Nations Forum on Minority Rights.” She has also been a part of the United Nations COP 22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. Queen Quet has won countless awards for being a woman of distinction, for her scholarship, writings, artistic presentation, activism, cultural continuation and environmental preservation including the Oceans Hero Award. She has received several Queen Quet Day, “Gullah/Geechee Days,” and “Gullah/Geechee Nation Appreciation Week” proclamations in various states. The General Assembly of South Carolina also honored Queen Quet with Resolution 1453 for the work that she has done on behalf of her home state and Gullah/Geechee people locally, nationally, and internationally.



Cynthia Naha is the Director of Natural Resources Department for the Santo Domingo Tribe and is an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe and is Tewa and Ihanktowan Dakota Oyate (Yankton Sioux). Ms. Naha has worked in various fields, including but not limited to solid waste, recycling, Brownfields, emergency response and preparedness, water quality, climate change, Unexploded Ordinances (UXO) and more and has worked with several Tribes in Region 9 including the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, Lone Pine Paiute Shoshone Reservation, several Pomo Indian Tribes in Northern California, and the Inter Tribal Council of AZ, Inc. Throughout the past 16 years, Cynthia has worked to build Tribal environmental capacity and seeks to ensure that the Tribal communities she works with and for, maintain a balance between environmental protection and public health and safety. She enjoys establishing partnerships with neighboring Tribes, Pueblos, Federal and State agencies and holds the Tribal Government seat on the New Mexico Recycling and Illegal Dumping Alliance (NM RAID) and was just nominated to the E-Enterprise Leadership Council. Cynthia is a graduate of Arizona State University.



Richard Cruse is a professor in the Agronomy Department at Iowa State University and Director of the Iowa Water Center.  He served as the President of the National Institutes for Water Resources from 2015 – 2016.  Dr. Cruse’s research focuses on quantifying water-driven soil erosion rates as affected by rainfall, soil type, soil slope and management.  He is a co-leader of the Daily Erosion Project, a project estimating soil erosion losses across sections of multiple Midwestern States.  Selected career highlights include being an author or co-author of 109 peer reviewed publications and 15 book chapters, giving 25 invited international presentations and eight keynote presentations since 2011 and serving as the President of the National Institutes for Water Resources in 2016.  He received his BS from Iowa State University and his MS and PhD from the University of Minnesota.



Serge is the Mayor of the City of Imperial Beach, California. He is also co-founder and Executive Director of WILDCOAST. Serge received the Surf Industry's Environmental Award, San Diego Zoological Society’s Conservation Medal as well as the California Coastal Commission’s “Coastal Hero” Award in recognition of his conservation achievements. He was named a UCSD John Muir Fellow in 2013 and was honored as a 2016 Peter Benchley “Hero of the Sea.” Before co-founding WILDCOAST back in 2000, Serge was the founding Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Baja California - Sea of Cortez Program where he helped to initiate successful efforts to protect Loreto Bay National Park, Espiritu Santo Island Reserve and Cabo Pulmo National Park. He grew up in Imperial Beach, California, and spent his childhood helping to preserve the Tijuana Estuary as a National Wildlife Refuge and has worked on water quality issues in the San Diego - Tijuana region since 1980. Serge is an avid surfer, swimmer and former State of California Ocean Lifeguard. He is the author of Saving the Gray Whale, a book based on the three years he lived in the gray whale lagoons of Baja California; Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias; and, Surfing the Border. Serge has a Ph.D. Geography, University of Texas at Austin; M.S. Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison; B.A. Political Science, University of California, San Diego.