The Montana Faith and Environment Coalition (MFEC)
Citizen Climate Education
Drs. Lori and Rob Byron
Melting icecaps. Powerful storms. A gridlocked congress. Sometimes it can seem like ordinary people can’t make any difference. Citizens’ Climate Education believes that we can. At Citizens’ Climate Education (CCE), we give ordinary citizens the power to educate political leaders, the media, and the general public about climate change solutions. Together, we can build the political will to take on the world’s most pressing environmental problem. Together, we can build a better world.
Lori Byron is a medical doctor with 27 years of experience as a pediatrician on the Crow Indian Reservation and a past hospital chaplain. A Master’s candidate in Energy Policy at John Hopkins University, Lori is the current climate advocate and co-chair of the Health Team for Citizens Climate Education, an international climate advocacy and education group. Lori is a past president of the Montana Academy of Pediatrics. Rob Byron is an internal medicine physician who retired from the Indian Health Service and Veterans Affairs and currently serves as the CIO on the Bighorn Valley Health Clinic at St. Vincent’s Hospital. He is a committed climate advocate and serves as the co-chair of the Health Team for Citizens Climate Education. Rob is a past-governor of the Montana College of Physicians and past member of Montana’s Board of Environmental Review. Rob and Lori Byron are Co-chairs of the Citizens Climate Health Team.
The Montana Wilderness Society
Dr. Anne Carlson
The Wilderness Society is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the protection, stewardship and restoration of our country’s public lands. Founded on the belief that public lands have the power to connect us as individuals and as a nation, our staff have worked to preserve our country’s rich natural legacy of wildlands for current and future generations since our founding in 1935. Today, 150 staff across 12 regional offices use the best available science, collaborative relationships, national policy, and a commitment to building local solutions from the ground up as the basis for protecting and extending our country’s system of public lands.
Anne works on climate change related issues in the Northern Rockies through a combination of collaborative, landscape-level adaptation projects and an intensive regional outreach campaign on the impacts of climate change — what it means for Montanans in their everyday lives — and the role of large landscape conservation and restoration in supporting ecosystem resilience. Both programs seek to identify the destructive impacts of climate change in the Northern Rockies and focus additional scientific analysis on TWS’ priority landscape in Montana, the Crown of the Continent. Prior to joining The Wilderness Society in 2009, Anne developed and carried out research and conservation projects on large carnivores, ungulates, primates, and elephants throughout Africa and Asia after completing her Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2000. She is a member of the Working Dogs for Conservation’s Board of Directors, lives in Bozeman, and spends much of her spare time hiking, camping, and skiing throughout Montana with her husband Ron and their two dogs.
The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson
The Episcopal Church advocates on behalf of the climate worldwide. We encourage robust climate mitigation policies that will limit global temperature rise and contribute to the Green Climate Fund to help benefit developing nations. We understand from the scripture that the Earth is a gift and we are inextricably part of this creation. Our excellent stewardship of the earth is a moral obligation and part of the work we are to accomplish.
The Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson is an ordained deacon with the Episcopal church. She is working as the facilitator/admin for the Faith, Science and Climate Action Conference. She is newly retired after thirteen years working as the Executive Director for the non-profit, Community Mediation Center in Bozeman. She serves now full time at St. James Episcopal Church in Bozeman and Gethsemane in Manhattan, both in Montana. She has her own LLC that focuses on database consulting and is involved in several major projects in the community, including this FSCA Conference and a Housing First Village Concept for the homeless. Her real involvement in the care of creation began two years ago when she attended a Roundtable for the Crown of the Continent. She had a complete paradigm shift in her understanding about our relationship to the earth and has been working since that time to raise awareness about climate action.
Center for Large Landscapes
The Center for Large Landscape Conservation works in partnership with local people and communities to connect lands, urban areas and wild lands into whole, healthy landscapes that allow nature to flourish. This means we are interested in enhancing the conservation value of all lands, helping conserve key connections between landscapes, implementing climate adaptations initiatives and developing strategies to help nature remain resilient on a grand scale.
Sue Higgins has a long background in natural resources management and policy in Montana and internationally. She was water planner for the State of Montana and most recently finished eight years of program management with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC) and The Tributary Fund where she facilitated research activities, leadership exchanges, and species protection planning in Mongolia, Bhutan, and Montana. Previously, she was director for water research communications at Montana State University Water Center and a founding member of the Montana Watercourse water education program. A trained facilitator, Sue has authored guides for practitioners, educators, and landowners on topics such as wetlands management, streambank stabilization, and river basin protection. Recently, for CLLC, Sue was consultant for the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent, the Faith and Climate Change Initiative, and the Montana National Drought Resiliency Project. She is a board member of the Society for Conservation Biology’s Working Group on Religion and Conservation Biology where she and a colleague recently issued a paper on best practices for research scientists working in faith and indigenous communities. She now works with the Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity and INBRE at Montana State University.
Faith and Climate Action Montana
Abby Huseth, M.S.
Over the last three years, Faith and Climate Action Montana has grown into an interfaith network of more than 150 individuals from over fifteen faith communities. We have planted trees for Earth Day, started Green Teams at several churches, held educational forums and dialogues, and supported clean energy policy, among other activities. It turns out that this group fills an important niche. Those who come to our meetings and events are relieved to find a space where their spirituality or religious tradition and their concern for the environment — two dimensions of their identity that are often seen as separate, or worse, at odds — are joined in a sense of deep purpose. We work to educate individuals and faith communities about climate science and impacts, create space for spiritual reflection on climate-related social and environmental issues, and facilitate action to address the climate crisis via advocacy and local organizing.
Abby Huseth coordinates Faith and Climate Action Montana, a multi-faith coalition educating and facilitating conversation on the intersections between climate change and social and theological issues. She works with Climate Smart Missoula, a community-based organization working to engage citizens on local climate change issues. Abby has a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and a B.A. in religion from St. Olaf College.
MSU Extension Community Development
Dr. Paul Lachapelle
The MSU Extension Community Development Program is committed to providing unbiased research-based climate science education and information. We sponsored the 2017 Climate Science Outreach and Education Forum, reaching out to scientists and educators. We want to continue to highlight the role of MSU Extension in climate science outreach, address vulnerable populations, and engage citizens in discussions about prospective policy changes.
Paul Lachapelle is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Montana State University-Bozeman and serves as the Extension Community Development Specialist. Paul earned his Ph.D. at the University of Montana’s College of Forestry and Conservation in 2006 with a focus on natural resource policy and governance. He has conducted research and taught in both Montana and internationally with applied research, development work, and language training in Nepal as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar. Other research and training includes work with Inuit in several arctic national parks with Parks Canada in the Canadian Territory of Nunavut, review and consultation of forest management and community development projects in Guinea, West Africa through the U.S. Forest Service International Programs.
Montana Interfaith Network
Pastor John Lund
The Montana Interfaith Network (MIN) hopes to strengthen the relationship between science and religion as it pertains to ecology and climate justice. Our members follow the rigorous scientific consensus that climate change is real, serious, and caused largely by voluntary human activities; and we follow our partners in Faith and Climate Action Montana to “work to educate individuals and faith communities about climate science and impacts.”
Rev. John Lund is an ELCA pastor who has served as the campus pastor and director for Emmaus Campus Ministry at the University of Montana in Missoula for the past 13 years. His formal education includes a BA in physics, MA in sociology, and an MDiv degree. Rev. Lund helps bring people together from the intersections of campus, faith, and community around pressing issues of the day. He has been on the founding leadership teams of the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative, SALAM (Standing Alongside America’s Muslims), Montana Faith and Climate Action, and the Missoula Anti-racism Coalition (still emerging). Lund is an avid outdoor enthusiast who can be found on the mountains, lakes, and rivers all seasons of the year.
Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association
Pastor Jody McDevitt
The Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association was formed in 2001 to include all faith traditions in the valley. Over the years, we have worked to support social justice issues regarding the poor, the needy, the vulnerable, and the homeless in our community. We believe that we can accomplish more by working together than by working separately. We support a more just, peaceful, and healthy community.
The Rev. Jody McDevitt is co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman, immediate past president of the Gallatin Valley Interfaith Association (GVIA), and a member of both the Montana Association of Christians(MAC) and Montana Interfaith Network(MIN). Prior to ministry, she was a middle school science teacher whose goal was getting kids outside to appreciate the amazing world in which we live. At the 2015 Parliament of World Religions, she heard a call to integrate her concern for the environment with concern for the poor and less powerful, taking care of the earth for future generations by working with people of all faiths and diverse areas of expertise. Jody is married to the Rev. Dan Krebill, a past president of MAC and the other co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church, and they have two grown daughters and a son-in-law.
Montana Association of Christians
Pastor Valerie Webster
The Montana Association for Christians (MAC) seeks to protect both the human community and the natural ecology based on our shared scriptural values which call us to protect human dignity, respect creation, ensure a safe environment, promote just and sustainable economic development and protect ecosystems. As such, we advocate with our legislators when the need arises, for legislation that will protect our precious state using biblical principles, scientific data and American Indian traditions that teach us to respect and care for the Earth.
The Rev. Valerie Webster, Ecumenical and Inter-religious Officer of the Diocese of Montana, facilitates Ecumenical and inter-religious ministry through education, advocacy, and community building at multiple levels. An Associate Priest at All Saints in Big Sky, a shared ministry of the Episcopal and ELCA Lutheran churches, she is a part of a diverse worshipping community and facilitates group studies and retreats. On the state level, as a part of the leadership team of MAC, the Montana Association of Christians, she advocates for “the least of these” — Montana’s needy children, elderly, and differently-abled, who are most severely impacted by climate change. Nationally (the National Workshop on Christian Unity) and globally (the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women), she works across faith-based and non-governmental organizations to integrate spiritual insights and inspirations to address community needs from Creation Care to Policies & Programs impacting those on the margins.
Creation Care Ministry
Resurrection University Catholic Parish’s Creation Care Ministry is actively involved in educating people of faith to develop policies that help us reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gasses. We explore solar energy for the church and present forums on the economic, environmental, and moral aspects of utilizing renewable energy resources. Our projects are related to parish sustainability, environmental justice, and public education/advocacy. Recent work includes getting commercial recycle services for parishioners to use and establishing a gardening/composting area on the church grounds.
Will Wright is a parishioner at Resurrection University Catholic Church in Bozeman and organizer of its Creation Care ministry. He is also a doctoral student in environmental history at Montana State University working on a dissertation about large landscape conservation. Will brings experience in working in national parks, faith-based green groups, and public education, as well as showing the connections between social and environmental issues. He lives in Belgrade with his wife Carly and their happy feral boy.