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STEP Panel: Environmental Initiative

February 20, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


About the Environmental Initiative:

Joins the center for science, technology, and environmental policy for a hybrid lunchtime panel with Environmental Initiative staff including the Executive Director, Communications Director, and Partnership Managers. Environmental Initiative is a 30 year old nonprofit resetting its work to place environmental health, social equity, and environmental justice at its core. This has been an eight-year process and we understand we are still at the beginning of this journey of internal and external system change.


About the Panelists:

Mike Harley, Executive Director, first came to the organization when it was just two years old, and joined as an intern and the organization’s first communications staff person. He had come to Minnesota from working in an environmental justice organization in the poorest counties in Eastern Kentucky. When he came to Minnesota, he found what was then the Minnesota Environmental Initiative as a fledgling organization, and soon came to see that his personal values were highly aligned with the core identity of the organization.

Britta Dornfield, Partnership Manager’s first experience with Environmental Initiative was an event hosted around source water protection. She was drawn to the focus on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and work that seeks both short and long term results. Work that centers these values is the way forward, and she appreciates that Environmental Initiative goes beyond conversations and takes action to demonstrate a commitment to its values.

Deborah Carter McCoy, Communications Director’s professional focus lies at the intersection of the natural, built, and human environments where strong connections bridge gaps. This focus was informed by early childhood exposure to service and civic engagement as her parents worked with others organizing, planning, and acting for human rights.

Jaycie Thomsen, Partnership Manger, is drawn to Environmental Initiative’s work because she is a firm believer that relationships are the only way we will make progress towards a more environmentally sustainable and socially responsible future. Working as a youth mentor at Growing North solidified her commitment to working at the intersection of relationships and action to create an equitable future within thriving ecosystems. Joining Environmental Initiative to coordinate Northside Safety N.E.T. allows Jaycie to continue building relationships with many of the partner organizations, including Youthprise, Growing North Minneapolis, and Hennepin County, that she has worked with in past experiences.


About the Series:

The STEP Seminar Series is an interdisciplinary platform for scholars and practitioners to discuss research and policy issues in the broad domain of science, technology, and environmental policy. The hybrid series takes place throughout the academic year at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and on Zoom.

Contact Information:

Questions? Contact oschares@umn.edu


February 20, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Josie Johnson Community Room 180, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
301 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455 United States
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