Trish Whalen, our Board Treasurer, grew up in Southern California, attended North Dakota State University where she received a degree in Child Development and Family Science and has worked at Patagonia, Inc. since 1988. In her free time she enjoys hiking, Pilates, running, good books, good wine and road trips through California. Trish also participates in the program, Many Meals, providing hot meals to those in need.
Philip Pearson, Ph.D., our Board Secretary, was in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve for 31 years including service in both Vietnam and Desert Storm. He was an officer in three different branches: engineer, transportation, and aviation. He retired as a colonel. He is also a lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Dr. Pearson taught for 29 years including many years working overseas for DoDDS (Department of Defense Dependents Schools). He taught science, math, and social studies. He is a trained climate leader in the Climate Reality Project. Dr. Pearson received his B.S. degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, M.S. degrees from the University of Southern California and the University of Oklahoma, and his doctoral degree from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Dannielle Lipinski, our Board President, graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore County with a degree in Environmental Studies and minors in Legal Policy and Economics. Dannielle is a committed environmental organizer and communications specialist with a long track record of leadership on climate issues. She is experienced in all aspects of non-profits from fundraising to staff management. She has lived in Maryland her whole life but managed to travel to Australia and cuddle koalas. She currently lives in Catonsville, Maryland with her husband and son.
Mary Pelz is the Director of the Long Branch Senior Center in Montgomery County, Maryland for the past 4 years. Mary directs a recreation program that provides a variety of fun activities and socialization for residents 55 and older including exercise, arts, parties, special events and education. The program serves a multicultural community with people born in Africa, Central America, China, South America, Caribbean, India, Vietnam and the US. About 50% of the seniors are not fluent in English. Mary has a BS degree in Recreation from the University of Maryland and has worked with low income citizens of Montgomery County Maryland for most of her 30 plus year career. She has 3 daughters in their twenties and have been married for 32 years to Mike Butler who was born in Guyana South America. Mary and Mike met through the sport of bicycle road racing in the late 1970’s. He was president of the local club and I competed up and down the east coast.
Eden Vitoff is an 18 year old political science major at George Washington University. Since becoming aware of the issue of climate change in middle school, he has engaged in environmental activism on local, state, and national levels.
During his high school career, he helped transform his high school’s environmental club from a handful of students doing recycling in the building to a corps of 40-plus dedicated student activists invested in a number of wide-ranging efforts. Under his leadership as club president, he helped coordinate no-idling initiatives, city-wide recycling drives, educational campaigns within his school, and the creation of an annual acoustic eco-concert known as “Edwardsville Unplugged.”
More broadly, Eden served for two years as a a mayor-appointed board member of the Edwardsville Cool Cities Initiative Advisory Committee, where he acted as a liaison between the city and his high school.
Invited to attend the Climate Reality Project’s Leadership Corps conference in Toronto in 2015, Eden and hundreds of others from across the world were trained by Project founder Al Gore and world-renowned climate scientists. Now a certified Climate Reality Project leader, Eden enjoys giving scientific lectures on climate change for various groups and organizations throughout Illinois.
His proudest accomplishment to date is as co-founder and executive director of the Green LYFE Network (Leading Youth for the Environment), an organization that is actively connecting and empowering passionate high school and college students across Illinois. LYFE’s focus is to provide fluency on environmental matters and share with its participants the resources to form working relationships and influence municipal leaders.