Cassandra P. Hage
Cassandra P. Hage joined St. Louis Earth Day in May of 2008 and became the Executive Director in January 2010. Prior to working with St. Louis Earth Day, she completed undergraduate and graduate degrees at Truman State University. While there, she was an active leader in environmental programming. As a graduate teaching assistant, she designed and implemented a service-learning component for an Introduction to Environmental Studies course she taught, while enriching the curriculum for the unique, team-taught class.
As a student activist, she founded the Kirksville Bike Co-op, an organization that secured space on campus for a student-run community bike shop and subsequently won administrative support for its cooperative vision. She was also a leader in coordinating Truman’s annual Earth Week events, which include a community festival, workshops, an environmental studies conference, keynote speaker, group bike ride, film viewing and more. She has spoken at several events, including the 2008 Focus the Nation conference and at a Leadership Recognition Ceremony about leadership and collaboration. She has published her creative nonfiction thesis, Roots of a Nomad, which served as the culmination of her English graduate studies.
Hage is a St. Louis native, happy to be working toward positive change in her community. She grew up in University City (attended U. City High School) and now lives with her husband, Tim, and dog, Samson in South City. She likes bike riding, gardening, and (sort of) likes working on home improvement projects.
Communications & Marketing Manager
Having earned her Masters of Science in Sustainability in May 2014 from Saint Louis University, Jen is happy to contribute to the SLED staff as Communications & Marketing Manager. Prior to this she enjoyed a diverse career in sales (from fine wine to children’s books). During her studies at SLU, Jen frequently asked herself how to help individuals understand the connection that personal choices have on the environment. In her work, she aims to facilitate communication that will affect change in the way we live our lives so that future generations have the same opportunity to enjoy our planet as we do today.
Jen grew up in Northwest Indiana and moved to St. Louis 23 years ago to attend Washington University. She fell in love with St. Louis and her now husband, Kyle, and they settled in South City – growing their family by 2 daughters and 2 dogs. She has been very active in her community, serving on several boards, coaching Girls on the Run at her daughter’s school, and founding (and now leading) her neighborhood’s community garden and orchard.
Currently, Jen serves as Board President of the Garden District Commission, focusing on the redevelopment efforts that have been happening in the Botanical Heights Neighborhood. She loves to read, work in the garden, and cook what she grows (including canning for winter).
Recycling On the Go Program Manager
Bob Henkel comes to St. Louis Earth Day with over 20 years of experience in service-oriented non-profits. Bob has a passion and enthusiasm for sustainability, recycling, land stewardship, and developing human potential. Bob has shared his love of nature with youth and adults, facilitating wilderness adventure and team building experiences in a variety of programs throughout the country including Outward Bound in Maine, the Wyman Center in St. Louis and the Girl Scouts in Knik, Alaska.
Bob and his partner, Kelly, moved to northern California in 2006 where Bob worked as the site and facilities manager for the di Rosa art and nature preserve in Napa while pursuing his interest in sustainable land management strategies. He is certified in Permaculture Design and as a Sustainable Building Advisor, which is recognized as a mastery level course by the USGBC. Bringing these areas of expertise to St. Louis, he has consulted on edible forest design and habitat restoration.
Probably the most significant learning experience has been through Bob’s connection with Jon Young and the Wilderness Awareness School. By learning to sit still in one spot as a daily routine and engage his senses, especially listening to bird language, Bob has been able to develop a deeper connection with nature, hope in these challenging times, and the skills to make positive change.
In 2012, Bob and Kelly returned to St. Louis to be closer to family. They love Missouri and find that it has ecological reminders of all of the places they’ve been, well, except sharks. But Bob is really a freshwater river person anyway.
Laura Allers-Lowry first met the St. Louis Earth Day team in 2008 when she was a member of the Ameren Missouri Pure Power group. Laura has 14 years of experience as an event coordinator/planner for companies and organizations such as: Novus International, Art & Air Fair in Webster Groves, Pure Power, Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream, STL250 and 4 class reunions. Laura is honored to be a member of such a dedicated group of sustainability professionals at St. Louis Earth Day.
As a member of our team, Laura will be leading the coordination of the St. Louis Earth Day Festival, and will play a critical role in carrying on the 26-year-old tradition of Earth Day in St. Louis. In addition, she will be coordinating the St. Louis Earth Day Symposium (in June) and supporting the events that participate in the Recycling On the Go program.
In addition to her passion for making things happen, Laura’s main driving force is her dedication to sustainability, especially recycling. She regularly provides information about sustainability through her quarterly column, Green(er) Events 101, in Missouri Meetings and Events Magazine. Social media marketing, human resources and team motivation through humor and enthusiasm are also some of Laura’s strengths.
As a devoted animal rights activist, Laura supports the important work of local organizations such as: Humane Society of Missouri, APA of Missouri and the Endangered Wolf Center, as well as several national organizations, through event community education and social media communication.
Laura is a St. Louis native, recently moving to the beautiful DeMun neighborhood with her husband Denny, daughter Kelli, and two miniature dachshunds, Anni and Dotti. When she is not event planning, Laura enjoys traveling to destinations that are surrounded by our planet’s natural beauty for kayaking, hiking, and wildlife observance.
Green Dining Alliance Program Coordinator
Olivia Engel grew up in the woodlands of Jefferson County, and found herself completely and hopelessly in love with nature and the arts from a very young age. She also found herself drawn to biological and environmental sciences, cultural anthropology, and history. This led her to Knox College, a study abroad program in India, and a lot of confusion as to exactly which career path could bring all of these passions together.
Having lived, worked, and studied in the Midwest, Olivia felt it was time to learn more about the rest of America upon her graduation in 2009. Seattle, with its hybrid public transportation on every other block and city-wide recycling and composting, was an excellent place for Olivia to see tangible examples of how cities can be more intentional toward – and kinder to – the environment.
Olivia has worked a variety of non-profit jobs before joining SLED in the summer of 2013, but one field in which she garnered a lot of professional experience was the restaurant industry. Olivia has worked for seven different restaurants in the St. Louis region and several farmers markets in Seattle. When she returned home to Missouri near the end of 2010, Olivia’s love for St. Louis paired up with her desire to set things right between people and the planet, and she saw the restaurant industry as the perfect place to start. She can’t wait to show St. Louis just how affordable and rewarding it is to do the forward-thinking thing and move toward a healthy planet. Her larger, long-term goal is to put St. Louis on the map as a national leader in sustainability.
Green Dining Alliance Program Manager
Jenn DeRose began working for Saint Louis Earth Day in late Spring of 2015 as a staff member of Recycling On the Go, and subsequently joined the Green Dining Alliance in September of 2015. A current student of Sustainability at University College at Washington University, Jenn is an evangelist for the environment with a special interest in environmental justice.
The Green Dining Alliance is excited to welcome Jenn as the new Program Manager. With over ten years in the restaurant industry, holding positions that spanned both the front and back of the house, Jenn loves good food and the people who make good food possible at every stage of its production and disposal.
Strongly convicted, Jenn believes that stewardship of the environment can bring financial, emotional, and ecological benefits for all participating parties. Saint Louis is in a unique position to become a national leader in Sustainability, and she hopes to help make that dream a reality through her work with The Green Dining Alliance.
Jenn is a freelance writer for Feast and the Riverfront Times, a cycling enthusiast, an avid forager, a novice birdwatcher and a lover of Saint Louis, the city she has called home for nearly twenty years. A vegetarian who tends towards vegan-ism, Jenn cultivates a container garden made from re-purposed materials in order to grow the kale and collard greens that fill her daily burritos. Prior to joining the GDA she worked at Vintage Vinyl for seven years and volunteered as a DJ on KDHX for nearly two; for Jenn, local music is as important as local food, and she spends much of her free time attending concerts. She is fond of Henry Catsinger, her cat, Peach, her housemate’s dog, hiking, camping, most flavors of sparking water, and the veggie tortas on Cherokee Street.
Office & Programs Assistant
Kathy Dolson first became involved with St. Louis Earth Day through volunteering at the St. Louis Earth Day Festival in 2010. Staff remember being impressed by Kathy’s energy, dedication to completing tasks quickly and with a high degree of quality, and her fun-loving attitude. It was only natural that when the organization needed support in planning the 2013 Festival that we looked to Kathy.
A life-long environmentalist, Kathy brings her passions for conservation and common sense to the many diverse projects with which she assists in the office, and within her community as a Cub Scout Leader and in her church. During the 2014 Lent season, Kathy worked with her church to institute recycling and composting at their weekly fish frys. Although she was met with many challenges along the way, St. Ann’s Catholic Church became, as far as we know, the first to institute a zero waste strategy for fish frys! Over 1,248 lbs of recyclables and 125 lbs of organic waste was kept out of area landfills through intentional sourcing of service ware, volunteer education, and signage.
ROG Events Site Supervisor
Paul Groenier has a diverse background in everything from creating educational exhibits for museums, to renovating houses, to publishing books, to creating websites, to sustainability advocacy. While earning his degree in environmental design he became a board member of an organization that sponsored renewable energy projects. This is where he started his work with solar home tours, sustainable energy exhibitions, earth day festivals, urban renewal, appropriate community technology fairs and related conferences. After creating Groenier Design, he worked with many museums across the country and all of the major museums in St. Louis. During this time he designed one of his favorite exhibitions, “Why Waste a Good Planet?” which shows what families can do to become more environmentally sustainable.
Paul first joined the St. Louis Earth Day team as a Recycling On the Go volunteer at the 2010 Taste of St. Louis event, and became a member of the ROG staff team for the 2011 season. Paul has taken the lead as a site supervisor at events since 2012, and continues to help manage site, volunteers and logistics for events large and small.