Training Programs

  •  Print Download and Print The 2019 Draft National Environmental Justice Conference & Training Program Agenda



    DAY 2–THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2019

    London Room I

    9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

    Environmental Justice From a Civil Rights Perspective

    This workshop reviews the broad aspects of environmental justice initiatives within USDA Rural Development. Participants will learn more about the role that the Civil Rights Office plays in environmental justice for USDA Rural Development programs and services. Lastly, this workshop highlights the programs of USDA Rural Development that promote environmental justice, reduce the burdens and increase the benefits to improve the quality of life in Rural America.

    Dr. Sharese C. Paylor
    Acting Civil Rights Director
    Civil Rights Office
    USDA Rural Development

    London Room I

    2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    Engaging and Empowering Citizen Scientists: Practical Advice about Planning and Implementing Environmental Projects

    This workshop will provide an introduction to, and hands-on experience with, practical tools for (i) designing, carrying out and participating in citizen science projects, (ii) identifying relevant laws and regulations, and (iii) understanding standards regarding data collection, analysis, and quality.

    There is a growing need for environmental citizen science in light of cuts in federal environmental enforcement and pressures on state and local budgets. Environmental citizen science can be defined as a grassroots initiative in which ordinary citizens, sometimes in collaboration with professional scientists or non-profit organizations, collect, generate, and distribute information for purposes ranging from educating communities and regulators about environmental and public health issues to enforcing laws. To support community-based environmental citizen science, the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School created “A Manual for Citizen Scientists Starting or Participating in Data Collection and Environmental Monitoring Projects.” In its workshop, the Clinic will introduce the Manual to offer practical suggestions for how to design and carry out an effective, community-based, environmentally-focused citizen science project. The workshop will include participatory case studies, in which attendees will have an opportunity to apply the guidance and tools in the Manual to hypothetical scenarios.
    The Clinic expects that this interactive workshop will allow participants to assess different approaches to citizen science, analyze its role in promoting environmental justice, and receive informative resources that they can share and use outside the conference. The Clinic also hopes to receive feedback from attendees about ways to improve the manual, which is available online at

    Aladdine Joroff
    Staff Attorney and Lecturer
    Harvard Law School, Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic

    London Room II

    9:00 a.m. -10:30 a.m.

    Workshop on Environmental Justice and NEPA Methods

    The purpose of the workshop is to increase understanding of opportunities to advance consideration of environmental justice in the NEPA review process. The specific focus is the community’s understanding of the interconnection between Environmental Justice (EJ) and the National Environmental Policy Act by utilizing two tools of the NEPA Committee of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG). These tools are “Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA Reviews” (Promising Practices Report) and “Community Guide to Environmental Justice and NEPA Methods (Community Guide),” a companion document to the Promises Practices Report. Specifically, the workshop will consist of two parts: 1) panel presentation by federal Department NEPA practitioners that provides an overview on opportunities to address environmental justice and information on how to apply the principles of EJ during the NEPA process and 2) Interactive Exercise on how to apply this information to an infrastructure, energy, or disaster relief project. The workshop is designed to foster collaboration among the Federal family and the public. Ultimately, the workshop will give participants a better knowledge of what practices Federal agencies use to evaluate environmental
    impacts to minority and low-income populations and how they can be a more effective advocate for their communities with these agencies as they make decisions.

    Denise Freeman
    Co-chair, NEPA Committee of the IWG on EJ
    Senior Advisor (Detailee)
    Environmental Justice Program
    Office of Legacy Management
    U.S. Department of Energy

    Suzi Ruhl, JD, MPH
    Immediate Past Co-chair, NEPA Committee of the IWG on EJ
    Senior Counsel, Office of Environmental Justice
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Stanley Buzzelle
    Co-chair, Goods Movement Committee of the IWG on EJ
    Attorney Advisor, Office of Environmental Justice
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Harold Peaks
    Member, NEPA Committee of the IWG on EJ
    Team Leader, Office of Project Development and Environmental Review
    Federal Highway Administration
    U.S. Department of Transportation

    Ted Boling
    Member, Leadership Team, NEPA Committee of the IWG on EJ
    Associate Director for the National Environmental Policy Act
    Council on Environmental Quality

    London Room II

    10:45a.m. – 11:45a.m.

    Developing Environmental Health Literacy: Interactive, Problem- Based Science Kits for Diverse Audiences

    This session will describe the community-based process and challenges of developing environmental health science kits for diverse community audiences. All participants will be given the opportunity to go through two science kits and experience their utility. The session will address the advantages of this interactive approach to learning and how it can be used to achieve health equity.

    Lubna Ahmed
    Director of Environmental Health
    WE ACT for Environmental Justice

    Kerene Tayloe
    Director of Federal Legislative Affairs
    WE ACT for Environmental Justice
    London Room II

    2:00 p.m.—3:30 p.m.

    Strengthening communities by leveraging federal dollars, utilizing next generation learning, and participating in innovative community-based learning opportunities through the 1890 Land Grant Universities Environmental Justice Academy Pilot

    Participants in this session will learn about the innovative, intentional 1890 Land Grant Universities’ Environmental Justice Academy. The Academy was designed to cultivate the skills of agricultural and environmental college students to so they may successfully support local communities in addressing their environmental challenges and accomplishing their environmental improvement goals. The EJ Academy was built to promote career readiness and professional development for the next generation of environmental leaders.

    Beattra Wilson
    National Program Manager, Urban & Community Forestry
    USDA Forest Service

    Khrystle Bullock
    Program Specialist, Fire & Aviation Management
    USDA Forest Service

    Sheryl Good
    Environmental Justice Academy Program Manager
    Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4

    De’Etra Young, PhD
    Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, College of Agriculture
    Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
    Tennessee State University

    London Room II

    4:00 p.m.—5:30 p.m.

    Near-port Community Engagement: Showcasing New Tools, Partnerships, and Environmental Justice Achievements in Four U.S. Cities

    Ports play a vital role in the U.S. economy and in sustaining local and regional economies with seaports supporting about 23 million U.S. jobs and 26% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.
    With over 95 percent of the cargo entering the U.S. arriving by ship, businesses and consumers rely on the goods and services that ports provide. However, port operations and associated freight transport activities also impact the quality of life for near-port communities. In the U.S. there are approximately 39 million people who live near ports and can be exposed to pollutants that can harm their health – especially diesel emissions from equipment that powers port operations and related goods movement activities. Achieving the shared vision for health and prosperity for people living and working near ports requires ongoing stakeholder engagement, innovation, capacity building and collaborative problem-solving.

    In completing its first ever Near-port Community Capacity Building Pilot Project Opportunity
    in 2018, EPA provided technical assistance to community and port stakeholders in various locations across the country. Case studies which chronicle partnership development, specialized training, tours, outcomes, and lessons from the pilot projects will be presented in this workshp. Session highlights include:

    • Learn how community stakeholders and port officials are developing a community benefits agreement with plans to approach gentrification concerns of near-port communities that prioritize investment/improvement without displacement of the current residents;
    • Learn about a landmark agreement to provide financial support to community stakeholders for effective engagement with local port and planning officials;
    • Learn about successes in building cultural competence and how integrating EJ and equitable development considerations are transforming organizations;
    • Learn how to build a coalition and develop an air quality action plan;
    • Learn how to navigate EPA’s pioneering capacity building toolkit consisting of:
      • Ports Primer for Communities
      • Community Action Roadmap
      • Environmental Justice Primer for Ports


    Vernice Miller-Travis
    Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice & Equitable Development
    Board Member. National Environmental Justice Conference, Inc.

    Sabrina Johnson
    Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Transportation & Air Quality
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Sarah Malpass
    Associate Planner

    Elizabeth Leavitt
    Senior Director, Environment and Sustainability
    Port of Seattle
    Grand Ballroom Salon E

    8:30 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

    (Re)Defining Documents: Understanding the Enduring and Evolving Legacy of “The Principles of Environmental Justice”

    This session will provide a round-table discussion reconsidering the seventeen principles that were produced by the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held in Washington DC in 1991. It will also be utilizing the revisions that were made to ‘The Principles of Environmental Justice’ in 2002, in which three “core values” were added alongside the seventeen principles. Although the principles are almost 30 years old, they still offer crucial insight into the nature and practice of building environmentally healthy communities and securing political, economic, and cultural liberation. “The Principles of Environmental Justice” is not just a static document, nor was the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit just an event; rather they inspire a “living testimony” that should be embodied by all stakeholders within the environmental justice field.

    The leaders of this roundtable discussion are all undergraduate students studying environmental justice at Salisbury University. Each student has done an extensive analysis of a particular principle of environmental justice. They have analyzed the principles’ significance in the environmental justice field as well as their application in environmental justice advocacy, education, and policy. The session leaders will each share the findings of his or her individual research and discuss emergent themes, gaps, inconsistencies, and the promises of reconsidering these classic texts of the environmental justice movement in our contemporary moment when environmental justice conflicts are spreading to new places and spaces.

    Sofia Carrasco
    Student, Environmental Studies and Communications
    Salisbury University

    Nicole Hammond
    Student, Biology Major and Environmental Studies Minor
    Salisbury University

    Megan Hensel
    Student, Environmental Studies Major and a Biology Minor
    Salisbury University

    Sam Hunter
    Student, Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education and Leadership.
    Salisbury University

    Cassady Koch
    Public Relations and Strategic Communication and Environmental Studies
    Salisbury University

    Ryan Schrader
    Environmental Studies and Philosophy
    Salisbury University

    Shane Hall, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
    Salisbury University

    Grand Ballroom Salon E

    10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

    Deleterious Effects of Improper Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

    Domestic wastes are daily generated without proper disposal in different communities. Some of these wastes are often left to decompose just in the open space; thereby contributing to the release and build-up of awful odor in the environment, as the wastes decompose. This has been reported as one of the major sources of Nitrogen oxide gas, which often impair health status of people in the environment. Some leftovers of household products are also known to catch fire. In addition, they have the potential to react, or explode under certain circumstances. Improper disposal of products, such as paints, oils, cleaners, pesticides and batteries can as well contribute to the reason behind water hardness. The products of decomposition of these substances eventually drained down the waterbed and consequently make water undrinkable. This workshop is intended to educate and advise on safe management practices of Household Hazardous Wastes (HHW). Proven practices on how to reduce HHW and effective regulation in different communities will also be discussed.

    Oluwole Ariyo, PhD
    Principal Investigator, Environmental Justice Institute
    Allen University

    Allen University Environmental Justice Institute Interns
    Grand Ballroom Salon E

    2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    Collaborative Conservation Through Engagement of Communities and Partnerships

    This workshop is designed to showcase collaborative initiatives and activities through partnerships using conservation practices which contributes to successful environmental incentives and effects for landowners and communities. Program experts and local landowners will explain in detail the benefits of using reliable conservation practices while expanding environmental justice goals and efforts that have transformed individuals, communities and the environment.

    Ronald A. Harris
    Director, Outreach and Partnerships Division
    USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

    Shawn C. Anderson
    Emergency Watershed Protection Program Coordinator
    USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

    Reverend Dr. Heber Brown, III
    Black Church Food Security Network
    Baltimore, MD

    Barry A. Hamilton
    National Tribal Relations Liaison Officer
    National Tribal Environmental Adaptation Coordinator
    USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

    Michael A. Wilson, Ph.D.
    Senior Scientist, Climate Change
    USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service


    Grand Ballroom Salon E

    4:00 p.m.—5:30 p.m.

    Leveraging the Health Benefits of Nature and the Practice of Forest Therapy to Empower Resilience and Environmental Stewardship in Diverse Communities

    Research has shown the immense physical, mental, social and emotional health benefits that nature provides. However, low access to green space and increased chronic disease exacerbates health disparities in underserved communities. The USDA Forest Service, through non-traditional partnerships and collaboration, is connecting providers, patients and families within diverse communities to the health benefits of nature. The Health and Nature Navigators pilot program trains culturally and linguistically relevant guides to educate the medical community through the park prescription movement (with Park Rx America). It also empowers diverse community members to be environmental justice leaders through conservation education, environmental stewardship, the connection between forest health and human health and citizen science (with Corazon Latino). The growing forest therapy movement, started by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs, promotes culture repair through sensory invitations to allow individuals to connect to themselves, each other, and the more than human world. These initiatives seek to empower and build capacity for present and future generations of environmental stewards by connecting diverse communities to nature and the environment through the lens of health benefits in nature and through partnerships, community engagement, and knowledge and technical assistance provided by the Forest Service. There will be an opportunity to participate in forest therapy invitations during the panel discussion.

    Farjana Islam
    Health and Nature Navigator Program Coordinator
    USDA Forest Service through Greening Youth Foundation

    Tamberly Conway, PhD
    Partnerships, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Conservation Education
    USDA Forest Service

    Dr. Robert Zarr
    Founder and Medical Director, Park Rx America
    Pediatrician, Unity Health Care

    M. Amos Clifford, MA
    Founder and Director
    Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides and Programs

    Felipe Benitez
    Executive Director, Corazon Latino

    DAY 3–FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

    London Rooms I and II

    8:00 a.m. — 10:30 a.m.

    Grant Writing and Technical Assistance

    Part 1. Ready, Set: Give Me Your Money, What’s In A Name? and Do We Really Want To Do This? Terms and Techniques of Grant Writing

    Part 2. Go: How Do We Do It? and How Much Do We Need? Developing a Proposal and Budget

    Part 3. Where Is The Money? Finding Available Grant Funding Agencies

    Ms. Deborah N. Blacknall, Grants Administrator and Assistant Officer, Office
    of Sponsored Programs, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC

    Ms. Gwendolyn F. Mitchell Ulmer, Grant Administrator, Office of Sponsored
    Programs, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC

    London Rooms I and II

    10:45 a.m.—12:15 p.m.

    Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Training

    This session aims to provide participants with (1) an overview of Title VI; (2) its application to environmental justice scenarios; and (3) information on how to file a complaint with a Federal agency and how such complaints are processed.

    Title VI Committee
    Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice

    London Rooms I and II

    2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    Community Participation in Resolving Conflicts: Appreciative Inquiry and Title VI Mediation

    Conflict resolution processes, such as mediation and Appreciative Inquiry, promote the
    environmental justice principles of community participation and self-determination. Through engagement in these practices, community members are involved in planning for their futures and shaping agreements that affect their communities. In this session participants will learn how these practices may support environmental justice and will engage in discussion and critical analysis of case studies that illustrate each process.

    Gina Cerasani, PhD
    Conflict Resolution Specialist
    Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    Sheryl Good
    Environmental Justice Academy Program Manager
    Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4
    Grand Ballroom Salon E

    9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

    Enhancing Equitability of Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Processes: Connecting Communities to Local Emergency Planning

    This workshop will lead an interactive dialogue exploring opportunities for addressing equity in emergency preparedness. Better planning and preparedness can improve emergency response, in turn saving lives and reducing property losses and environmental impacts during emergencies. This session will examine opportunities for community advocates to see whether their community has been left out of local comprehensive emergency plans for both natural disasters and other emergencies.

    Victoria Robinson
    Office of Environmental Justice
    Stakeholder Engagement
    US Environmental Protection Agency

    Leland Edgecomb, AIA, ASLA, AICP/CNU
    President, The Edgecombe Group
    Hyattsville, MD

    Grand Ballroom Salon E

    10:45 a.m.—12:00 Noon

    Building Capacity with Native Americans and Alaska Natives to Handle Hazardous Materials and Respond to Emergencies

    Understanding the Need for Training: Tribal nations across the U.S. are self-governing entities, operating their own solid and hazardous waste programs, utility systems, and law enforcement agencies. However, many tribal communities are located in rural and remote areas with underdeveloped infrastructure and high rates of poverty, thereby lacking the means to provide adequate training in environmental or occupational health and safety compared to other parts of the country. Additionally, many tribal communities face unique hazards due to local contaminated sites and hazardous conditions from oil and natural gas exploration, as well as meth lab sites.

    Through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Worker Training Program (NIEHS WTP) partnerships with its grantees and tribal nations, organizations and entities, NIEHS are providing training to help tribal communities overcome these challenges. During the 2017 program year, WTP grantees trained more than 1,500 Native Americans and Alaska Natives, delivering more than 60 courses and nearly 13,000 contact hours.

    This session will describe the nature of the partnerships, how training was organized and conducted, and the impact of the training and lessons learned as described in the NIEHS WTP Report(

    For example, the Alabama Fire College Workplace Safety Training (AFC WST) by working with the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society and United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) trains tribal members across the country by developing specialized training materials for a courses such as safe practices, laws, and regulations for meth lab cleanup.

    In Washington and the Pacific Northwest, a focused effort on Improving Tribal Capacity for various hazardous waste cleanup efforts has been successful through the Western Region Universities Consortium (WRUC) funded out of the University of California Los Angeles, and their consortium members, the University of Washington (UW). Through a long-standing collaboration at UW, they conduct hazardous waste operations training via multiple courses with the Tulalip Tribe TERO Vocational program, the only tribal pre-apprenticeship training program in the nation.

    Sharon D. Beard
    NIEHS Worker Training Program

    Michael Dunn
    Program Manager
    UW/WRUC Consortium

    Lynne Bansemer
    Tulalip Tribal Employment Rights Office/Vocational Training Center

    Roy Stover

    Harrell French
    United South and Eastern Tribes




    The National Environmental Justice Conference, Inc., prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Persons who need special accommodations to fully participate in the conference, workshops, or training programs, and persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the Conference Coordinator at 202-827-2224.

    Because of chemical sensitivity of many people, we are requesting that attendees wear unscented toiletry items. Images from this conference may be captured, published and distributed.

    Images of NEJC participants may be captured by conference photographers and published or distributed.


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