Sierra Club SWMG Executive Committee and Leaders

SWMG Executive Committee

Membership in our Executive Committee (ExCom) is usually an elected position, but the ExCom can also appoint additional SWMG members to the ExCom. Any Sierra Club member who lives in our nine-county area is eligible to vote in each year’s Executive Committee election, and is also eligible for nomination as a candidate for election to the ExCom and for appointment to the ExCom.

Roz Linsea, Executive Committee Chair, Fundraising Committee Chair, Job Descriptions Committee Chair, Bylaws Committee member, Programs & Events Committee member, HELEN/CORE Administrator

Roz Linsea

I am an activist and organizer with a passion for reducing activities that contribute to climate change. My travels and activities revolve around attending in- and out-of-state environmental focus groups, events, and marches to draw attention to dismal situations like the Keystone Pipeline, fracking, and climate change.

For over 30 years, husband and business partner, Mike, and I have shared a solar powered home in the forest. As VP of Solar Winds Power Systems, Sierra Club’s solar partner, I have been active in working on renewable energy legislation in Michigan and happily able to enjoy opportunities to demonstrate the aspects of becoming energy independent.

Kristi Lloyd, Executive Committee Vice Chair, Conservation Committee Chair, Communications Committee member

The focus of my environmental activism has been on wildlife since 2010, primarily advocating for wolves, and I’ve been Southwest Michigan Group’s Conservation Chair for the past year. I’ve also been active in political issues from the local to federal level. I’ve lived in the Kalamazoo area for 33 years. I make frequent trips to the UP and Yellowstone National Park to watch wolves and wildlife and to network with other advocates.

Wildlife is negatively affected by climate change, air and water pollution, and loss of habitat. Being involved with the Sierra Club is the best way to make positive changes for wildlife and for us.

Becky Mandrell, Executive Committee Secretary, Newsletter Editor, Delegate to Michigan Chapter’s Nuclear Free Michigan Committee, Bylaws Committee member, HELEN/CORE Administrator

Becky Mandrell

I have lived in Richland 42 years. My occupation for the past 19 is Licensed Massage Therapist. I’ve been a member of Sierra Club for several years with 2 years serving on Michigan Chapter’s Retreat Committee.

I’ve served on many committees both in my community and for environmental groups. The horror of the Kalamazoo River oil spill deepened my commitment to our children and our future generations. I’ve been in Washington DC twice since then, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline with First Nations folks as well as lobbying for nuclear disarmament and against nuclear power.

For balance, I camp, kayak, bike and walk with friends and family.

Mark E. Miller, Bylaws Committee Chair, Programs & Events Committee member

Mark E. Miller, ExCom ballot candidateI gave my first environmental talk to my church on The Limits to Growth in 1975, when I was still an undergraduate. From that day to this, I have been an environmental activist. I am a Climate Reality Presenter and a member of, Kalamazoo Environmental Council, Citizens Climate Lobby, and the WMU Climate Change Working Group. I will be teaching “Energy and Environment” in the Physics Department at WMU this spring.

With the Sierra Club being one of the oldest and strongest environmental groups in the world, I hope that the Southwest Michigan Group can continue to take leadership on a broad array of local issues, as well as supporting groups which have a tighter focus on the climate issue, the greatest threat we face. I see the need for an ongoing platform for communication between the various environmental groups in SW Michigan, so the membership of each group is aware of all relevant events. I hope Sierra Club can be part of that.

Raymond Mickus, Political Committee member

Raymond Mickus, ExCom ballot candidateI live in Marshall and work as a probate attorney in Calhoun County. I became active with SWMG because of my strong commitment toward environmental issues. I believe I could contribute even more to the Group as a member of the Executive Committee.

As a University of Southern California law student, I absorbed every class offered in Environmental Law/Ethics. Thus inspired, I spent a summer working with activists from the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth. We forced the state to impose wastewater treatment protocols for any discharges into the Pacific Ocean at or near Santa Monica Bay. Our organization, Heal The Bay, is still active in the Santa Monica area.

After moving to Chicago and now Michigan, I have a rekindled passion for working on behalf of the environment. My strengths are in the legal and legislative areas, but I’m also anxious to expand my knowledge of how to effectively spread awareness of the Sierra Club’s concerns.

Ben Brown, Drive Electric Week Organizing Committee Chair, Programs & Events Committee member, Bylaws Committee member

Ben Brown, ExCom ballot candidateI’m a graduate of Spring Arbor College with a BA in philosophy/religion, focused on ecology, world cultures, and social psychology. I’m the last of a four-generation southwest Michigan African-American farming legacy. In the 1980’s, after a disabling environmental poisoning, I made a life choice to learn and speak about natural remediation, sustainability, and renewable practices

My vision for the Southwest Michigan Group is reconnection and empowerment of the public to care for nature’s health and for our neighbors’ health – personally, socially and politically. Short term this means connecting with activities that promote clean and safe energy, transportation, and environmental stewardship. Even more critical and more fundamental: to get people outside their homes, truly seeing and learning to appreciate nature.

Bette Pierman, Communications Committee Chair, Nominating Committee member, Programs & Events Committee member

I’m a retired educator, project manager, and technical writer. My activism began with the fight to protect Benton Harbor’s Jean Klock Park.

Seeing a need to help educate folks about clean, safe energy and our Palisades threat, I co-founded Michigan Safe Energy Future. I chair MSEF’s Shoreline Chapter. I’m a member of: Two Rivers Coalition (Vice-President), Bangor/South Haven Heritage Water Trail Association, Friends of the St. Joseph River, the advisory board for Southwest Michigan Planning Commission’s Ox Creek project, and Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. I collect signatures for the Michigan fracking ban, I volunteer with Van Buren Conservation District’s Paw Paw River Water Trail project, and I go kayaking whenever I can.

Nancy Appel

Nancy Appel

I’ve always loved our Earth. Even as a young child I got outdoors as often as I could to embrace the breeze and the beauty. In the 1980s I got all my friends and roommates to recycle with me. After practicing as a registered dietitian for 23 years (BS cum laude, MSU) I’m shifting my focus to climate change and how I can help.

I’ve canvassed for Clean Water Action and political candidates, served on the Board at church, initiated journal clubs, led seminars, and facilitated an EarthCare Team. As an experienced teacher, speaker, salesperson, and health professional, I believe I will contribute productively to the SWMG.

Linda Digby

Linda told us, “I love the natural world and I have devoted my life in protecting and preserving it. I served on ExCom during the Kalamazoo River spill days bringing in speakers on river  recovery and oil soaked animals. I have lead hikes to bat caves, frozen waterfalls, and bald eagle watches. I organized conservation projects like tree plantings, lobbied for the Endangered Species Act, restored prairies and wetlands, started a Sierra group due to urban sprawl, and serve on Chapter. As a former journalist my graduate studies focused on environmental law, communications, and outdoor education.”

Other volunteer leaders and committee heads

Gary Klooster, TreasurerGary Klooster is Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group volunteer Treasurer. He is a 20-plus-year Sierra Club member and the owner of Klooster Landscaping in Richland.

Pam Dalitz, our new Outings Chair, recently retired from a health care career. For several years she’s led hiking, backpacking, and lodge trips for Sierra Club National Outings and for Northern Michigan University. She’s also been involved with Sierra Club’s Growing for Change Workshop. We’re counting on Pam to get our outings program going.

Kim GabrieleKim Gabriele, a past Executive Committee Co-Chair, is our Programs & Events Committee Chair and Elections Committee Chair. Many years ago, she became deeply disturbed at the changes in our environment and joined the Sierra Club because she believes in the Club’s commitment to protecting and preserving the Earth’s natural treasures.

Tim Tesar is our Climate Change Chair. He’s also a very active member of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, an expert photographer, avid bird lover, and Audubon Society member.

Bill StrongWilliam Strong is a long-time Sierra Club member and our Arbor Day Project Coordinator. This year will mark the fourth straight year Bill has organized large tree planting projects in conjunction with schools, agencies, and Scout troops in Allegan, Van Buren, and Barry Counties. He will be working with the Kalamazoo Conservation District for his 2018 project in Gourdneck State Game Area.

Roger TaylorRoger Taylor is our Redistricting Campaign Coordinator. He’s committed to doing his part to return American Democracy to a time when voters chose their representatives rather than politicians choosing their voters.

Mary ColbornMary Colborn is our Environmental Education Chair. She’s been an environmental activist, educator, and author all of her adult life. She honors the past, heals the present, and nurtures the future at her Allegan Historic Farm and Learning Center. On top of all this, Mary is also a Communications Committee member.

Group leader Craig BrainardCraig Brainard is a Bylaws Committee member. He was recently re-elected to serve through 2019 as a member of the Michigan Chapter Executive Committee. He’s also Michigan Education Coordinator for Beyond Natural Gas. Craig has presented his “Don’t Frack Up Our Future” presentation all over Michigan and is preparing a new presentation, “Embracing Our Clean Energy Future.” His Fracking Linkletter©, currently on hiatus, appears here as a blog.

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