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Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Sustainability Mentor
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Meet the SustainPHL Nominees: Sustainability Mentor

SustainPHL is happening this August and will include an incredibly worthy group of nominees that are as diverse as you can get. We’re celebrating the real local heroes – those that live and breathe sustainability in a way that influences the community around them in a big way.

One very deserved category the SustainPHL awards will celebrate is Sustainability Mentors. The caliber of individuals nominated in this category goes far beyond personal practice and into the classroom teaching students to look beyond their current world view to evaluate their impact on the surrounding environment.

And let me tell you, training young minds to engage willingly at this level is no easy task. Let alone many times with little to no real budget to actualize these programs. The determination and passion these individuals have for sustainability is truly merited, and the voices of their students prove this.

Sustainability Mentor Nominees

Without further ado, here are our nominees for SustainPHL’s Sustainability Mentor Award:

Kathleen Grady

Director, Temple University’s Office of Sustainability

“Temple’s view as a whole would not be where it is now, a leader, with our Kathleen’s guidance over the past nearly 8 years.”

Kathleen Grady

Photo: Temple Office of Sustainability Website

Kathleen is Temple University’s Director of the Office of Sustainability. As the only full-time staff member in the eight-year-old department, Kathleen has an impressive list of accomplishments, including the responsibility for implementing sustainability measures across the University of nearly 40,000 Students. Kathleen’s lasting legacies include being the force behind a solar photovoltaic system on top of Edberg-Olson Hall, Temple’s football practice facility, and the Rad Dish Co-Op (another SustainPHL nominee), a student run café based on locally-sourced and sustainable eats.

Kathleen was nominated for the Sustainability Mentor award for fighting to make sustainability a part of every conversation at Temple University. Her passion has inspired students across every major to engage in the discussion and find opportunities to incorporate sustainability into their decision-making. She makes it fun and worthwhile, and the respect her students have for her says it all. Not only does Kathleen talk the talk, but she walks the walk. Well… more like bikes it. Kathleen avidly practices what she preaches by cycling to the office daily from her home in West Philly, showing students how accessible the city is to roam carbon-free.

Dr. Russell Gregory

Science Teacher and Founder of NERP – Northeast High School Recycling Program

“The kids (Dr. Gregory’s students) wander the school like a eco-conscious machine bringing back the recyclables for weighing in his class.”

Dr. Russell Gregory

Just along the edge of city limits, you’ll find one of Philadelphia’s oldest and largest high schools, Northeast High. Not a school you’d typically think of when you hear the word sustainability, is it? However, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone at that school that doesn’t know Dr.Gregory or heard of one of the many environmental programs he has created, including NERP – Northeast High School Recycling Program.

In its first month, they collected 1,465 pounds of recyclables. His students have developed a number of class videos documenting the programs’ successes (check one out here!). In one video, Dr. Gregory describes how his programs have grown organically from student interest and have now taken on a life of their own. One of his most recent accomplishments was pushing for an advanced environmental program that includes hands-on interactive elements, including a gardening program that he manages. As Dr. Gregory describes, some of these kids have never even held a shovel let alone planted and grown food from seed. His impact is immeasurable.

Dr. Gregory was nominated for the Sustainability Mentor Award for his dedication to the Northeast High School students, going beyond the classroom and expectations as a resident science teacher in Philadelphia’s largest public high school. Not only has his programs prepared these students to be more aware of their environment and better, more informed consumers; but they’ve become advocates for sustainability, taking those messages back into their homes and communities.

Lamar Gore

Manager, John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge

“Lamar as been integral in implementing several key partnerships to educate, engage and connect communities to John Heinz National Wildlife, America’s First Urban Refuge.”

Lamar Gore

With nearly 23 years (and counting) as a public servant, Lamar just doesn’t quit. He started out working with the US Fish and Wildlife Services and has grown in his capacity to serve as the current refuge manager at the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, America’s first urban refuge. In this role, he leads and implements critical programs to educate, engage, and connect communities to the refuge and other green space projects within their neighborhoods. Lamar’s work makes environmental education more accessible to children like those in Philadelphia’s public schools.

Two of his most recognized projects include Philly Nature Kids and Every Kid in the Park, both supported through grants secured through the National Environmental Education Foundation and National Park Foundation, respectively. He also works outside of the parks space, with vacant lots. His program with Philadelphia University on the Kingsessing Neighborhood Redesign has created an opportunity for students in Phila U’s architecture program to interact with residents on design and direction, generating a discussion only made possible through Lamar’s work.

Lamar is recognized as a nominee for the Sustainability Mentor award for working tirelessly to build relationships and develop opportunities for our communities to collaborate and interact with urban green spaces and environmental education. The partnerships he has built will continue to thrive under his direction and stewardship.

We congratulate the Sustainability Mentor Award nominees and look forward to celebrating them at the SustainPHL awards on August 18th! Get your tickets online here (Early bird prices end on 6/28/16 at 11:59 PM ET).

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Amy Kate is the Sales and Marketing Operations Manager at Community Energy, a national leader in renewable energy development. There she manages Community Energy’s community solar programs, working to expand access to clean, local, affordable energy across the country. Amy Kate serves on the Board of Directors for the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) and strives to serve her community through meaningful work. View all posts by Amy Kate Failing

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