Plenary Speakers

Loren SpearsLoren Spears, Executive Director, Tomaquag Museum

Loren Spears is executive director of the Tomaquag Museum, an educator, activist, author, Indigenous artist, and Narragansett Tribal Elder. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island and master’s degree from the University of New England with a focus on elementary education. She founded the Nuweetooun School affiliated with the Tomaquag Museum and taught in Newport public schools for 12 years. A 2017 winner of the Tom Roberts Prize for Creative Achievement in the Humanities from the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities, Loren was honored for her “compelling work as an advocate of Indigenous People’s history and cultural heritage in preservation, the arts, and education”.

Lisa BrooksLisa Brooks, Professor of English and American Studies, Amherst College

Lisa Brooks is an Abenaki writer and scholar who lives and works in the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley. She is Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College and is active in the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Program. Her first book, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast received the Media Ecology Association's Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture in 2011. Her second book, Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War has received numerous awards, including the Bancroft Prize for American History and Diplomacy and the New England Society Book Award for Historical Nonfiction in 2019. She has also published articles on Indigenous environmental history in Northeastern Naturalist and the International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies.
Kathy Abusow

Kathy Abusow, President and CEO, SFI Inc.

Kathy Abusow is President and CEO of SFI Inc., a sustainability leader that stands for future forests. She has held this role since 2007, when Sustainable Forestry Initiative® became a fully independent, non-profit organization. Since joining SFI, Kathy has greatly expanded SFI’s network to include the forest sector, brand owners, conservation groups, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous peoples, governments, and universities. Since Kathy joined SFI, forests certified to the SFI® Forest Management Standard have grown from 140 million acres/56 million hectares to more than a 370 million acres/150 million hectares across public and private lands from Canada’s Boreal to the US South.

Terry BakerTerry Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Society of American Foresters

Terry Baker is Chief Executive Officer of the Society of American Foresters.

Jasmine BrownJasmine Brown, Graduate Student, Michigan State University Department of Forestry

Jasmine K. Brown is an interdisciplinary social scientist whose research focuses on racial and gender diversity in natural resources. She is currently a PhD Student at Michigan State University in the Department of Forestry and an officer in SAF’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.

Renita MarshallRenita Marshall, Vice Chancellor and Associate Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment, and Human Science, Southern University and A&M College

Dr. Renita Marshall is a native of Louisiana. She attended Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, LA and received a BS degree in Animal Science in 1999. Dr. Marshall received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 2003 from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine and went on to complete a residency and Post-Doc in Comparative Animal Medicine and a MS degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2006. In her capacity at Southern University, Dr. Renita Marshall serves as Vice Chancellor for Academics and Student Support as well as Associate Dean for the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences. She is also the Director of the Southern University Institute for One Health, One Medicine.

Greg InaGreg Ina, Vice President and General Manager, Davey Institute, Davey Tree Company

Greg Ina was elected Executive Vice President, the Davey Institute and Employee Development in July 2017. Since joining The Davey Tree Expert Company in 1995, Mr. Ina has held various managerial and operational positions within the Davey Institute and Davey Resource Group. In 2013, Greg received the “Best of Davey” leadership award from the Company. Greg has made significant contributions to our community of practice through leadership positions with several professional affiliates. He served on the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC), and as chair of the Educational Goods and Services Committee for the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Greg has also been a board member for DC’s finest tree protection non-profit, The Casey Foundation.

Zhu Hua NingDr. Zhu Hua Ning, Working Group, Chair, Department of Urban Forestry and Natural Resources, Southern University and A&M College

Dr. Zhu Hua Ning is the Chair of the Urban Forestry and Natural Resources Department at Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA. She is the Chair of the SAF Diversity and Inclusion Working Group. Dr. Ning is any award winning professor, including USDA – Association of Public and Land-Grant University Excellence in Teaching Award, International Society of Arboriculture’s Alex L. Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education, Society of American Foresters Working Group Merit Awards, Chancellor’s Awards for Teaching Excellence, Most Outstanding Researcher Award, among others. She served as a Board member of the International Society of Arboriculture, was the President of the ISA Arboricultural Research and Education Academy and is the Associate Editor of Journal of Arboriculture and Urban Forestry. She is also a board member of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Board on Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate.