On February 24, 2016, WMEAC is hosting  a one-day symposium, “Women and the Environment” that explores the intersection between women and gender issues and environmental concerns.

This year the focus of the event is women in leadership, with presentations on faith and environment and diversity and inclusion efforts in the environmental movement in Michigan, featuring networking opportunities and two panel discussions.

The event is a valuable opportunity for professionals and students alike to learn about the issues, their history and current success stories.  The symposium is the first large-scale meeting between local leaders and stakeholders in the academic, business and activism communities focused on gender and the environment.

The symposium will again honor women for their accomplishments on behalf of West Michigan’s natural resources.  Women environmental leader nominees will be announced in mid-January.


Jacqueline Patterson, NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Director

Jacqueline Patterson is deeply involved in national and international climate action and has traveled the country speaking, writing, and advocating for environmental justice in the U.S.

Diverse and Inclusive leadership in the Environmental Movement

  • Lee Ann Walters – Mother and resident from Flint Michigan whose children were exposed to high lead levels.  Walters has worked to publicize the problem and even petitioned the EPA to take emergency measures
  • Dr. Kyle Whyte – Timnick Chair in the Humanities and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at MSU. He is also affiliated faculty in Environmental Science & Policy.
  • Rhonda Anderson – Organizer at the National Sierra Club
  • Moderator: Cle Jackson – Grand Rapids district NAACP President

Climate leadership in Communities of Faith

  • Fred Stella – Pracharak (Outreach Minister) for the West Michigan Hindu Temple. He is also president of Interfaith Dialogue Association.
  • Margarita Solis-Deal – Director of Dominican Center at Marywood (A ministry of Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids)
  • Nichea Ver Veer Guy – Director of Children and Family Ministries, Chair of Finance, United Methodist Women Nation Board of Directors, Board Member of Directors of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
  • Suseon Kathryn Doran-Fisher – student in the Dharma Teacher Program at the Grand Rapids Buddhist Temple & Zen Center.
  • Moderator: Dr. Gail Heffner – Director of Community Engagement/Provost Office at Calvin College; founder and director of Plaster Creek Stewards

Participants in this symposium will leave with:

  • Increased knowledge and more information about environmental justice and related issues
  • Better developed connections with other women who care about the environment
  • Tools that will empower them to take action to influence and change environmental policy

Scholarships are available!


Date: February 24, 2016
Time: 2:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: 401 Fulton St W Grand Rapids, MI 49504 United States
Organizer: WMEAC

join the movement

Women and girls around the world are demanding and creating systemic change and a sustainable future for all. We need collective power to attain a just future – we need you.