2022 Speakers

Session 1: 10am-1pm


Literary Artist

Ashley Vargas, also known by her stage name Ms.AyeVee, is an award-winning Afro-Latina Literary Artist from Las Vegas, NV. She is a woman of many hats with a passion for Poetry. Her work has been featured by the legendary All Def Poetry, Write About Now & Button Poetry. She has been published by Bookleaf Publishing, The Red Rock Review, Zeitgeist-Press, Hardy Publications, Tolsun Books & Nevada State College. In 2020, Ms.AyeVee was recognized by NPR’s, Desert Companion Magazine for their annual “Ones to Watch” issue. Also in 2020, she founded an online poetry competition called, Beyond The Neon Poetry Slam, which has since grown into a poetry anthology series & poetry festival. In 2021 she was nominated for The Crystal Bookmark Award from the Las Vegas Book Festival for advancing the cause of literacy and extraordinary literary achievement. That same year, she received Special Congressional Recognition from NV Rep. Susie Lee for Outstanding Poetry. In 2022 Ms.AyeVee released her new collection of poetry entitled, Broken Silence.

Dr. Melissa Giovanni

Professor of Environmental Science and College of Southern Nevada 

Dr. Melissa Giovanni is a tenured professor of environmental science at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. She is also a guide for the Grand Canyon Conservancy Field Institute where she leads backpacking and whitewater rafting trips in Grand Canyon National Park, indulging in her passion for conservation education. She earned her Ph.D. from UCLA and her B.S. from the University of Arizona, both in geology. Over the first decade of her career, Melissa discovered that teaching in the field was the best part of her job. Immersing her geology students in world-class locales around the Southwest was not only the most engaging but also the most fun. Taking those skills to the Grand Canyon, she was thrilled to learn that guiding is teaching at its best. It is in sharing the natural and human stories of her favorite place with her guests that Melissa has found her purpose. She serves on the board of directors for the Southern Nevada Conservancy and has given invited lectures to a wide range of audiences around the Southwest. She is the faculty advisor for the environmental student club at CSN and enjoys volunteering with her students on public lands around Las Vegas.

A. Hemmers - Photo 2022

Ashley Hemmers

Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, Tribal Administrator

Ashley is an enrolled member of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe, whose reservation spans the states of California, Arizona, & Nevada. She is the Tribal Administrator for her Nation with specialization in multi-state cross-jurisdictional development & management of Tribal economies and government. She holds over 15 years of experience in Tribal enterprising & operational development, with emphasis in sovereign fiscal & capital wealth strategies, Nevada gaming, and public service operations. Ashley holds a B.A. from Yale University, and a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management & Masters of Public Administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She enjoys creating dialogue with Tribal Nations & federal/state partners, as well as sharing content that amplifies indigenous voices in the areas of business management, social policy, and climate action. Follow her on Instagram @tribalreclamation.

Jennifer Inaba

Conscious Communicator 

Jennifer is an award-winning communicator who has worked in the environmental conservation and advocacy space for over 15 years. She has a driven focus on sustainability and environmental justice to protect the future of the planet and people—with a specific interest in the fashion industry. As a PhD candidate in Sustainability Education at Prescott College, Jennifer’s research centers on sustainable fashion and the environmental and social impact of consumerism with a focus on consumer education and consumption habits. Jennifer received her master’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and her bachelor’s degree at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in Communication Studies, specializing in Leadership and Social Influence. Jennifer is a Climate Reality Leader and mentor and serves as the Communications Advisor for the Las Vegas chapter of the Climate Reality Project. She is also an Ambassador for Remake, a global advocacy organization fighting for fair pay and climate justice in the clothing industry, as well as a member of the International Environmental Communication Association. A mother and wife, staying active and healthy is a priority for Jennifer to help ground and center her mind, body and spirit and allow her to share her energy with others in the many roles she balances.

Ciara Byrne

Founder, Green Our Planet 

In March, 2013 Ciara Byrne and Kim MacQuarrie co-founded a non-profit called Green Our Planet based in Las Vegas that runs the largest and most comprehensive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) school garden and hydroponics programs in the United States. The mission is to increase student academic performance in STEM through project-based education, which includes nutrition, financial literacy, and conservation education in PreK-12 schools. Green Our Planet has built more than 200 outdoor gardens and over 400 hydroponics laboratories in 31 states impacting more than 250,000 students across the United States. Green Our Planet has trained more than 7,000 teachers, helped organize over 800 student-run farmers markets and more than 600 chef demos. Before running Green Our Planet, Ciara ran a film production company called Lion Television with offices in New York and LA and made films all over the world for channels including PBS, BBC, TLC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic and more. Ciara was selected along with 19 other nonprofit leaders from around the world, from 5,000 applications to be a 2019 Obama Fellow.

Anand Nandakumar

Founder & CEO, Halo.car

Driven by his dedication to solving climate change, Anand Nandakumar has become a noteworthy figure in the electric vehicle space. In 2019, Nandakumar launched Halo.car with one goal: to help reduce the carbon emissions caused by gas vehicles, the most significant contributor to global warming. In the next three years, the driverless electric carsharing program is projected to keep over 20 million tons of emissions out of the air and remove over 4 million gas cars from the road. Prior to becoming the founder and CEO of Halo.car, Nandakumar led trailblazing technology divisions at some of the best-known companies in the world, including Uber, Disney, and Sony. Nandakumar grew up in Chennai, India, and holds degrees from the University of Madras and the University of Sheffield. He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mauricia Baca

State Director, Nevada Chapter of the Nature Conservancy

Mauricia M.M. Baca’s (She/Her/Hers) first outdoor experiences were with her dad, who hiked with her on his back in the mountains of Mexico. Ms. Baca has 30 years of experience working across a wide range of environmental issues.  She took over the helm as State Director for the Nevada Chapter of The Nature Conservancy in November, 2020. Prior to her current role, Ms. Baca served as Executive Director of Get Outdoors Nevada for 10 years. Ms. Baca moved to Nevada in 2005 to work with TNC, serving first as the Truckee River Project Manager and then leading the southern Nevada office. Ms. Baca served as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) from 2000 through 2004 in the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division.  Ms. Baca’s non-profit and community outreach experience includes serving as a summer associate for the Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund while in law school and working as an organizer for the New York Public Interest Research Group’s Straphanger’s Campaign. Her first non-profit experience was in high school when she canvassed for Greenpeace.

Vanessa Latrice Williams

Literary Artist

Vanessa Latrice Williams is a Las Vegas Poet, teacher, spoken word artist and author. Her most recent published work is in the Young, Gifted & Black Anthology by Spotlight Poetry; Beyond the Neon anthology with Zeitgeist Press, and her own poetry book entitled “Poetically Affirmed,” available on Amazon.  Vanessa is a Regional Slam champion, 2X Beyond the Neon Slam champion and has been teaching and performing for over 10 years. Her voice was silenced for many years due to the sudden death of her mother. Through the support of family, friends, prayers and inner healing Vanessa desires to inspire all who hear her; proclaiming through poetry, “there is life after loss.”  

Alex Harper


Alex Harper is a bird biologist and science communicator for a conservation organization based in southern Nevada. His past experiences include biological field monitoring on renewable energy sites, documenting Peregrine Falcon migration in important habitats, and conducting integrated bird population surveys across the western United States. More recently, he has become interested in connecting people to the natural world in urban areas, especially influenced by the wellness effects that come with increased exposure to nature. Inspired by recent research, authors and his family of social workers, he believes that nature is more than space in the natural world, but a place where curiosity, creativity and resilience can be expressed through practices like mindfulness. Now more than ever, he believes that valuing nature is more than a conservation initiative; it’s an investment in ourselves. In addition to his work in environmental education and communications, Alex is an occasional writer, wildlife photographer, and naturalist for an expedition travel company.

Session 2: 3pm-6pm

Carmen Gonzales

Water Specialist and Permaculture Designer, Navajo

Carmen Gonzales is an environmental specialist, water maiden, permaculture designer, poet, and musician who has been dedicated to helping communities develop resilience by remembering our sacred relationship with water. Carmen has worked in the Environmental Science field for over 20 years serving Tribes and rural communities and is inspired by the hope of watershed restoration through the lens of indigenous wisdom. Always an “edge walker,” Carmen has been working to find the balance between good science, traditional ecological knowledge, personal healing, and cultural evolution. Carmen is driven by the vision of supporting the work of revitalizing watersheds and communities through strengthening relationships that nourish land and life to serve as a model for change that can ripple out and benefit all beings everywhere.

Tanna Marie

Literary Artist & Singer

Tanna Marie is a literary artist born and raised in Las Vegas, NV. Through her music and poetry, Tanna Marie aims to use her artistic lens and voice to highlight the magic that is Las Vegas as well as the areas in need of growth. Her passion and compassion are key components to her art and she hopes to continue to shine a light on the beauty that is her home state of NV.

Sarah Park

Youth Climate Activist, Sunrise Movement Vegas Hub Coordinator

Sarah Park is a senior at Clark High School who is passionate about youth representation in the fight for climate justice. She is a climate activist, Hub Coordinator of the Sunrise Movement Las Vegas Hub, and President/Founder of Gen Z for Green, a 501c4 nonprofit focused on climate education and encouraging more sustainable alternatives. As a politically involved young person, she feels that it is imperative to educate the youth and other individuals about the climate crisis. In her school and outside community, she strives to include varying perspectives to ensure that the fight for climate justice is inclusive and equitable. 

Ray Delahanty

 Content Creator, CityNerd

Ray Delahanty is the creator behind CityNerd, a YouTube channel that explores urbanism, transportation, and all the things that make cities unique. Every Wednesday, Ray takes viewers on a guided tour of cities at their best and worst when it comes to walking, biking, transit, livability, and sustainability, with a deadpan approach that StrongTowns.org describes as, “a hint of non-venomous, non-judgmental snark. It’s your favorite, funny, smart colleague you might Slack with a couple times a week, if you’re in the business.” The channel’s point of view is strongly influenced by Ray’s professional background in urban planning and traffic analysis. Prior to starting CityNerd in 2021, Ray’s career spanned 15 years as a planner and project manager for consulting firms and public agencies in Portland, Oregon, leading planning and design work for a diverse portfolio of projects including bus rapid transit lines, light rail station areas, central city protected bike networks, and congestion pricing studies.

Cheyenne Kyle

Food Justice Activist, Founder of The Obodo Collective 

Growing up cooking in her grandmother’s kitchens Cheyenne soon realized that food was her passion and wanted to pursue it. After graduating with a degree in Culinary Arts, Kyle has held senior positions ranging from healthcare to fine dining, resulting in over 10 years of experience in the field. Kyle has also been devoted to food justice work and activism within Southern Nevada participating as a member of the Southern Nevada Food Council and consulting on municipal food sovereignty projects. Kyle has developed food justice programs such as teaching cooking classes, preparing large community meals, stewarding a 5-acre community garden, and operating Southern Nevada’s first mobile farmer’s market. Working alongside other local organizations Cheyenne has led a live cooking show focused on food justice and education. Currently, Cheyenne is focusing on developing programs that will increase food security in marginalized communities including building an urban farm within the Historic Westside.


Literary Artist

Jesus is a Las Vegas-based dancer, singer, poet, and writer whose work focuses on the queer immigrant experience as well as social and environmental issues. As a former recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Jesus touches on issues that mottle identity for those taught to hide in plain sight. Informed by the added complexities of queerness, culture, and social paradigms, Jesus makes it a point to highlight and underline the nuance in various aspects of life which continue to suppress individuals taught to hide in plain sight. In doing so, Jesus’ work asks questions regarding solutions often overlooked by those stagnant in theory.


Peter Gower

Strategy Director for Energy, Infrastructure, and Land Use / Nevada Chapter of The Nature Conservancy

Peter Gower grew up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where he enjoyed nature daily. He also learned at a young age to appreciate and respect it. Peter has spent the better part of two decades working with smart and passionate people to address climate change and protect the environment. He works at The Nature Conservancy in Nevada as the Strategy Director for Energy, Infrastructure, and Land Use. The title is a long way of saying he helps advance smart-from-the-start renewable energy, infrastructure, and land use plans that also conserve land, water, wildlife, and communities in Nevada. Peter is serving in his eighth year as a Reno City Planning Commissioner where he ensures projects and plans address environmental sustainability. He has a master’s degree in land use planning from the University of Nevada, Reno and is a certified environmental planner. He lives in Reno and enjoys playing in the Sierras with his family.

Alexa Aispuro-Laoiza

Digital Campaign Manager, Chispa Nevada – League of Conservation Voters

Alexa Aispuro-Loaiza (She/Her/Ella) – Alexa was born in Los Angeles, and has roots in Sinaloa, Mexico, and Las Vegas, Nevada. These were key environments where she grew up and learned more about herself, who she wanted to be, and who she wanted to fight for—nuestra gente.  Alexa is passionate about music, food, hiking, and Madre Tierra. Her first civic engagement action was in 2016, during her senior year in high school, when she canvassed for the presidential election to ensure her community had the information they needed to go out to vote. Since then, she deepened her involvement and became a canvasser for Mi Familia Vota, where she ensured our people exercised their right to vote by taking the first step:registering. Following this, she started her environmental justice work with Chispa Nevada, where she worked on mobilizing youth to ensure everyone has access to  clean air, clean water, clean energy, and the right to live in an equitable and just society where our Latinx community and communities of color can thrive.  Alongside other projects, Alexa continues to be a leader in her community  by engaging through volunteer opportunities and actions.  Earlier this year, Alexa graduated from the 2022 Emerge class, where women and women of color are trained and equipped to run for office and represent our amazing community in Las Vegas.

Dana Kay

Community Architect, Medicine Woman & Ceremonialist / Rooted Lounge & ReWyld Collective

Dana is a woman of passion, poetry, plants, and people. She has traveled extensively, immersing herself in many cultures, studying various ancient and indigenous wisdom practices, and working deeply with plant and earth medicines. This education has inspired Dana’s work in many fields as she weaves together storytelling, movement, music, art, and ritual to harness our collective human potential and reestablish a connection to ourselves, each other, and our planet. As the founder of Rooted Lounge & the ReWyld Collective, Dana is dedicated to creating spaces of education, connection and co-creation that ignite the power within local communities. She believes that by integrating ancient and modern wisdom and returning to our roots in community, we can activate the best potentials of both nature and culture and usher in a new way of thriving together on this earth.

Workshop Leads

Vogue Robinson

Clark County Poet Laureate (2017-2019)

Vogue M. Robinson – a poet, author, mentor, and teaching artist – has an appreciation for human beings who find ways to put truth and heart into words. She served as the second poet laureate of Clark County (2017-2019) and is the first Black woman to receive the Silver Pen award from the Nevada Writers’ Hall of Fame. Her poetry has been published in Red Rock Review, Desert Companion, Double Down Blog, and All Def Digital. Vogue’s work has also been anthologized in Catching Calliope: Vol. 2, Legs of Tumbleweeds, Wings of Lace, Clark, A Change is Gonna Come, Sandstone and Silver, and The Beautiful (forthcoming). She was introduced to Spoken Word by her friend, Nicole, while in college at San Diego State University. She was apprehensive to share any of her written work to others, but soon the audience became part of the reason why she performed. Spoken Word brings a new element to her writing. She is Emeritus Poet Laureate of Clark County, Nevada, an area that includes the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip, where she currently resides. If you are interested in booking her for a performance, reading, or workshop in your city, please email voguerobinson@gmail.com   When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her nieces or experimenting with fluid art techniques.

On Instagram follow @VogueMRobinson   Visit Vogue’s website www.vogue316.com

“Imagine a Future “- Climate Poetry Workshop

Join Clark County Poet Laureate Emerita, Vogue M. Robinson, for a writing workshop that will provide an intimate space to connect with others as we discuss what we’ve observed in the world and imagine a sustainable future. Bring something to capture your thoughts with (pen/paper/cell phone/tablet/etc). There will be time at the end for each attendee to share a portion of what they write. 

1:15pm – 2:45pm located in the Backyard

Glendyll Casia

Climate Reality Leader
“Mending Matters “- Sashiko Visible Mending Workshop

Do you have clothes that you may have owned for years that are starting to show their age in rips, holes or tears? These may be items you wear more frequently than other pieces in your closet that require some attention. This workshop is designed for beginner sewers that have little-to-no experience with hand-sewing and mending. By choosing to learn how to mend, not only do we save money and extend the life of our clothes, this mindful practice also changes our perspective of the textiles that we rely on everyday. It’s a good feeling to know how to fix and spruce up what you already have. Let’s explore this new skill together. Attendees will receive the provided kits that contains all the basic tools needed to mend our clothes:

Needles, Pins, Cotton Thread, Palm Thimble, Scissors, Water Soluble Marker, Clear Ruler, Patch Fabrics, Elastic Band, Jar

During our time together we will practice Sashiko, a simple hand-stitching and mending technique. This Japanese method will help us repair our long-loved garments while simultaneously adding a new surface design that strengthens a damaged area and proudly relays the history of the textile.

Inspiration emanates from Japanese Boro tradition which are essentially textiles that have been mended or patched together.

The simple stitch we produce will blossom into our own distinctive styles as we build our mending skillsets over time.

Don’t forget to reserve your spot as there are limited spots!

Love, Glendyll


*** A donation of $15 covers your kit, this is not required but appreciated if possible***

12:30pm – 1:30pm located in the Back Alley

Dream Brower

Climate Reality Leader
“Natures Recycling” – Compost Workshop



**A  compost tumbler will be raffled off to workshop attendees**

2:00pm – 2:30pm located in the Alley


Lanette Rivera

Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

Lanette Rivera is the Director of Engagement and Communications for Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY), the most comprehensive homeless youth service provider in Southern Nevada. She has worked in the communications field for over 10 years and in the nonprofit sector for over eight years. After working in corporate communications at one of the largest trade organizations in the country, Lanette decided to pursue her passion for nonprofits and utilize her education and lived experience to assist under-served populations. 

Passionate about bringing more awareness about the issue of youth homelessness, Lanette has spent the last eight years working on corporate and community engagement, marketing/communications, special events, youth leadership, and more at NPHY. She is was a part of the leadership team that created the Southern Nevada Homelessness Summit, an annual event that brings together hundreds of community leaders to discuss systems-level change in the youth homelessness sector.

Although she has spent years volunteering and fighting for various different causes throughout Southern California and Southern Nevada, Lanette has now poured her focus in advocacy for climate change. After attending the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training, Lanette has become an active member of the Climate Reality Las Vegas chapter that is working on solutions and climate action within the region. 

Lanette has also served on various local and national boards and committees, including serving as a member of The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN) National Membership committee and Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee. She holds a degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies from Arizona State University and was recently named one of Las Vegas Weekly’s 2022 Top 40 Under 40 Most Influential Young Professionals.