Welcome to the website of Friends of Blackwater's Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts Initiative. We just completed the October 16-18, 2015 “Climate Change: Science, Impacts, Preparedness, Communication, and Solutions” Conference, at Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia.

It was a very successful event, attended by 122 people. Following this message is a list of the speakers – what a great group!

You can see more Conference pictures at this link. Feel free to download and share!

Right now we are making plans for possible further Initiative activities. Get on our e-update list if you want to be notified of future plans.

Here is a list of our speakers:

Tom Clarke is President of Kissito Healthcare in Roanoke County, Virginia, and founder of the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund, which is working to implement forest restoration as a carbon offset strategy in the Appalachian coalfields.

Jim Schaberl is the Division Chief for Natural and Cultural Resources at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and is active in planning/coordinating climate change impacts research, modeling, adaptation, and public outreach for the Park.

Dave Bassage is Chief of Staff at the Ace Adventure Resort, a leading West Virginia outdoor recreation business headquartered in Minden, WV.  He is a long-time environmental advocate and was active in climate change communication and education in West Virginia's regulatory agencies.

Sarah Forbes is a scientist at the US Department of Energy in the Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management. Sarah’s work focuses on the future of fossil energy in a carbon-constrained world.

Louis Iverson is a Landscape Ecologist at the USDA Forest Service's Northern Research Station in Delaware, Ohio, and a pioneer in GIS modeling of landscape ecology.  He helped create the on-line Climate Change Bird and Tree Atlas that models species habitat under different carbon emission scenarios.  

Jamie Van Nostrand is the Director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the West Virginia University College of Law, where has convened and led numerous programs focusing on public policy and climate change solutions.

Herman Mays is a professor in genetics in the Department of Biological Sciences at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. He has been active in efforts to assure that accurate science, including the science of climate change, is taught responsibly in public schools.

Amy Hessl is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV and a Benedum Distinguished Scholar.  She and her students study climatology on a global basis and in the West Virginia Highlands.

Lori Petrauski is a graduate student at West Virginia University in the department of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources.  She is collecting historic phenologic (calendar-related) data about West Virginia flora and fauna related to climate change.

Brian Bellew is a 2015 graduate of West Virginia University with a B.S. in Geology.  A former President of the WVU Student Sierra Coalition, Brian trained with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, the National Adaptation Forum, and PowerShift.  He is an outreach staffer with Friends of Blackwater focusing on climate change communication.

Hari Swarup Jammulamadaka is a graduate assistant at the West Virginia University Industrial Assessment Center with research interests in implementation of green energy solutions in industrial, commercial, and residential settings to control carbon emissions.

Emmett Pepper is the Executive Director of Energy Efficient West Virginia and a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law.  His work focuses on initiatives to reduce emissions through energy efficiency programs.

Joe Trimboli is a Community Planner with the Huntington District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers who works in Flood Damage Reduction, Floodplain Management Services, Planning Assistance to States, and other research.

Winston Smith is a conservation biologist and a principal research scientist at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. He is currently working with Friends of Blackwater, Purdue University, and the U.S. Forest Service on flying squirrel research in the Allegheny Highlands.

Brandi Gaertner is a doctoral fellow at West Virginia University, where she is conducting research on the effect of climate change on Mid-Atlantic surface water resources.

Emily Linn is an Environmental Protection Specialist with the U.S. EPA focusing on clean air initiatives, including the Clean Power Plan.  She has a Master's degree in Environmental and Energy Policy and Sustainable Development from the University of Delaware, and a Bachelor's in History and Geology from the College of Wooster. 

Keynote Speaker Sarah Forbes addresses the conference
Minority youth attend the conference.
Judy Rodd, Joe Trimboli, Tom Rodd, Dr. Winston Smith and Brandae Mullins.