May 30, 2020
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Thoreau Gathering Launches with Roundtable on Environmental Communications

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College of the Atlantic | BDN
College of the Atlantic | BDN

A panel on communications opportunities and challenges within environmental and social justice activism will launch College of the Atlantic’s first Thoreau Gathering.
The gathering is one of three to be held as part of the school’s new Thoreau Environmental Leaders Initiative.The roundtable discussion, with environmental media professionals Jane Kochersperger and Anjali Appadurai ’13, will be moderated by COA professor of educational studies Dr. Bonnie Tai.

The theme of the talk will be “working in the field,” with discussion about panelists’ path to a career in communications, what background and experiences they’ve found helpful, how communications professional can help address environmental issues, and the challenges, rewards, and lessons learned as a media professionals communicating issues of environmental and social justice. In addition, the panelists will offer advice for COA students and other young people who might want to choose a similar career path.

Kochersperger has worked as a campaign and public relations strategist on issues of environmental and social justice for over twenty years, including work on climate and energy issues with the Citizens Coal Council, the Clean Air Task Force, and Greenpeace. She currently works as a communications consultant with her own firm, Bodhi Tree Communications.

Anjali is a 2013 graduate of COA, currently working as communications and engagement specialist with West Coast Environmental Law in Vancouver, BC. The panel will be followed by a one-day Thoreau Gathering workshop for students at COA and other Maine colleges to learn and practice basic communications skills of framing, messaging, and narrative building.

The Thoreau Environmental Leaders Initiative is a new project at COA that will cultivate effective advocates for renewable energy and climate change issues. The initiative combines academic preparation, experiential learning and action in international and local settings, and peer-to- peer learning and mentoring.

A total of three workshops, each on a different topic, are planned for the year ahead as part of the Thoreau Environmental Leaders project. Each workshop will include a public panel discussion with environmental leaders in which they share their experiences and offer advice to those wishing to enter the field. The next panel will occur in early 2017 and will focus on lobbying and political action at the local, state, and national levels. The Thoreau Environmental Leaders Initiative is funded by a grant from the Henry David Thoreau Foundation.