Robert “Skip” Backus is chief executive officer of Omega and the visionary behind the Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL). He helped lay the foundation for Omega’s environmental and conservation initiatives, including campus recycling and composting, sustainable purchasing and support of local agriculture, water conservation, and 100% sourcing of campus electricity from wind and solar technology.
Michele Bertran, MS, JD, is the assistant director of the Omega Women's Leadership Center. Before joining the Omega staff, she worked for almost two decades on the staff of the New Jersey Courts. An attorney, mediator, and former court manager, Michele Bertran is committed to social justice and creative conflict resolution. She is also a Fellow of the National Center for State Courts. eOmega.org/owlc
Carl Big Heart's work and visions have been blessed and approved by elders from the Abenaki, Muskogee Creek, and Iroquois Nations, as well as by leaders in the Sufi, Buddhist, and Hindu traditions. Big Heart focuses on building bridges between the world’s wisdom traditions and healing relationships between humankind and all living beings. bigheart.nl/english
Mark Dorfman is a green chemist and project manager with Biomimicry 3.8, an organization founded on the premise that living organisms, by necessity, develop and use life-friendly chemistries. In the course of his work, he applies the design principles of nature's time-tested chemical strategies to develop innovative solutions to the toxic chemical challenges facing modern society.
Jennifer Dowdell, Associate ASLA, has been with Biohabitats, Inc., in Baltimore Maryland since 2007. An ecological designer and master planner, she focuses on landscape ecology, conservation planning, and dynamic living infrastructure systems, and how they inform design and redevelopment. biohabitats.com
Ben Falk, MALD, developed Whole Systems Design (WSD), as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. He has taught design courses at the University of Vermont and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum as well as on permaculture design, microclimate design, and design for climate change. wholesystemsdesign.com
Peter Gold is a professional trapeze artist, coach, and director of Trapeze-Experience™, an industry-leading organization that promotes wellness through soaring. A former trapeze instructor with both Club Med and a circus school in France, Gold has performed as the catcher for five trapeze acts and toured in eight circuses, including Ringling Brothers, where he made history as the first American to catch the quadruple somersault. Peter Gold and the Trapeze-Experience™ Team have helped more than 100,000 people fly. trapeze-experience.com
Lois Guarino, Omega’s chief operations officer, created Omega’s People and Culture department. Her focus is on developing every aspect of the campus as a meaningful part of a learning community while exploring the concept of compassionate service at work as a spiritual development path. She is also an artist and writer and teaches classes on leadership, work/life balance, and the creative process.
Barton Kirk, MS, EIT, is an ecological engineer at SEEDS who works at the nexus of energy, water, climate, and community. For the past decade, he has been helping communities develop durable decisions about their built and natural infrastructure by applying life-cycle systems analysis. ecoSEEDS.org
Dan Kittredge, lifelong farmer and founder of The Real Food Campaign (RFC), which evolved into Bionutrient Food Association (BFA). He launched RFC to empower and educate farmers toward the production of quality food for the improvement of human health—a shift where quality food production is profitable, ecologically sustainable, tastier, and equally available to all. bionutrient.org
Erik Kiviat, PhD, is cofounder of Hudsonia, a nonprofit institute for research, education, and technical assistance in the environmental sciences. A certified wetland scientist and certified wildlife biologist, he has more than 40 years’ experience with natural history and environmental issues in the Northeast, and elsewhere in North America, and has worked extensively with policy-makers, land use planners, and environmental managers. hudsonia.org
Pete A. Muñoz, PE, LEED AP, cofounder of the eco-design organization SEEDS and senior engineer at Biohabitats, is a certified wastewater treatment plant operator. His areas of expertise include wastewater management, constructed wetlands, ecological design, and climate change solutions. biohabitats.com
Susan E. Powers, associate director for sustainability at the Institute for a Sustainable Environment, is a Spence Professor of Sustainable Environmental Systems at Clarkson University. In the wide range of classes that she has taught, Powers focuses on teaching the process of engineering problem solving in a real-world environment.
Bill Reed, AIA, LEED, is an internationally recognized architect, proponent, and practitioner of integrative systems design and regeneration. A pioneering advocate in the fields of integrative systems design and the living systems practice of regenerative development, he is also the author of many articles and, with the 7group, the book, The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability. regenesis.com
Peter Reynolds has practiced and taught sustainable design and land-use planning in the Hudson River Valley for the last 20 years, He is currently working with Omega Institute on their Campus Development Plan.
Ethan Roland, MS, is the lead designer at AppleSeed Permaculture LLC, an edible landscaping and regenerative design firm based in New York’s Hudson River Valley. He studies and practices permaculture design in all corners of the world, from the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan to the tropical monsoon ecosystems of Thailand. appleseedpermaculture.com
Bryon W. Salladin, MS, a senior environmental scientist at Biohabitats, is an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist. His areas of expertise and interest include forest and natural resource inventory and management, restoration forestry, and regenerative working landscape design. biohabitats.com
Julie Sammons, MBA, cofounder of the Bay Area Biomimicry Network, blends training in microbiology, sustainable business, and biomimicry to help organizations adapt and thrive. She advises bio-inspired startups and designs collaboration software for thriving communities as chief community officer at Hylo.
Steffen Schneider joined Hawthorne Valley Association in 1989 as the herd manager of the farm’s dairy herd. In 1994, he became farm manager and took on the role of general manager of the farm branch in 2008, serving as a key member of the team that brought the farm back from near insolvency to its present state. hawthornevalleyassociation.org
Josh Stack is an attorney and counselor at law, resilience, and biomimicry. Educated first in biology and living systems, then in law, he adapts this experience to support clients in remaking buildings, communities, and initiatives into functionally and structural renewing infrastructures of living systems.
Kevin Stack is an ecological builder, building scientist, ecoliteracy educator, Biomimicry Speakers Guild member, and LEED Faculty™ member who builds, designs and teaches in nature’s image. He first described the concept of ecological performance standards, the essence of his uniquely adaptable Building in Nature’s Image™ system.
Ned Sullivan is president of Scenic Hudson, a nonprofit that works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. He is a former commissioner of Maine's Department of Environmental Protection and deptuy commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. scenichudson.org
John Todd, PhD, is cofounder and president of Ocean Arks International, and founder and chairman of John Todd Ecological Design, Inc., an international design, engineering, and natural resource planning firm. Author of more than 200 articles and seven books, he is the inventor of Eco Machines for the treatment of wastes, production of foods, generation of fuels, and restoration of damaged aquatic environments. toddecological.com
Nancy Jack Todd, author of A Safe and Sustainable World, is cofounder of the New Alchemy Institute and Ocean Arks International. With John Todd, she has received many awards, including the Bioneers Lifetime Achievement Award, the Charles and Ann Morrow Lindbergh Award for technological innovation on behalf of the environment, and the United Nations FUNEP Award for contributions to the global environment. oceanarks.org