Featured Speakers

Featured Speakers

Presidio Activators and Community Co-Design at the Presidio Tunnel Tops

Monday, March 4, 5:00 - 6:30 pm 


Experience an evening of art and storytelling with members of the Presidio Activator Council — a dynamic group of Bay Area activists, artists, and community leaders developing inclusive experiences at the Presidio Tunnel Tops within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Hear their stories about how the co-design of outdoor spaces with and for communities can create a sense of belonging for all public land visitors. The opening session also will feature a discussion on program impacts and future plans with collaborators at the National Park Service, Presidio Trust, and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

This session is sponsored by: 

Syren Nagakyrie

Mory Chhom, Director of Population-Focused Prevention Early Intervention, RAMS, Inc.

Mory Chhom is a 1.5 Cambodian American born in a refugee camp in Thailand and raised in Modesto, California. She holds a Masters of Public Health and a Bachelor's in Health Sciences from San Jose State University. She dedicates her career to achieving health equity for vulnerable and marginalized community members. Since 2006, she has had the privilege and honor of working for and with low-income, underserved communities to support the improvement of their health and wellbeing. Currently, she is the Director of Population-Focused Prevention Early Intervention at RAMS, Inc., a Bay Area nonprofit that provides and advocates for mental health and wellness services that are centered in clients, community, and culture, with expertise in serving Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. She also is dedicated to the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants and its community and serves as a member of its Board of Directors. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and camping in Northern California and bicycling with her family, and she is a huge fan of cooking, dancing, and collecting vinyl records.

Syren Nagakyrie

Favianna Rodriguez, Interdisciplinary Artist & President, The Center for Cultural Power

Favianna Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural strategist, and entrepreneur based in Oakland, California. Her art and praxis address migration, reproductive justice, climate change, racial equity, and sexual freedom. Her work centers joy and healing, while challenging entrenched myths and dominant cultural practices. Favianna’s creative partnerships include institutions like Presidio National Park, Ben & Jerry's, Spotify, Old Navy, and Playboy Magazine. Through her poignant speeches, she has inspired audiences around the world, including at the United Nations Climate Summit, Sundance Film Festival, Smithsonian, and Google. As a strategy advisor to artists of all genres, Favianna is regarded as one of the leading thinkers and personalities uniting art, culture, and social impact. Through her thought leadership as President and Co-Founder of The Center for Cultural Power, an organization igniting change at the intersection of art and social justice, she has been instrumental in building a cultural strategy ecosystem that supports BIPOC artists in the U.S. She helped launch the Constellations Culture Change Fund, a philanthropic initiative that invests in BIPOC artists and grassroots art organizations. She is a recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Artist as Activist Fellowship, Atlantic Fellowship for Racial Equity, and Soros Equality Fellowship.

Syren Nagakyrie

Sharaya Souza, Co-Founder & Executive Director, American Indian Cultural District

Sharaya Souza (Taos Pueblo, Ute, Kiowa) is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the American Indian Cultural District, dedicated to recognizing, honoring, and celebrating American Indian legacy, culture, people, and contributions. Sharaya is an ambassador for promoting equitable resource distribution to American Indian communities, increasing Native visibility and political representation, and protecting and preserving American Indian cultural resources in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently serves on Board of Directors for San Francisco Heritage, Reimagining SF, and the Aquatic Park Pier Planning Committee. Previously, she has served on several groups in San Francisco including the Presidio Activators Council, Environmental Justice Working Group, SFAC Monuments Memorials Advisory Committee, Climate Council, Housing Policy Committee, and the HRC Racial Equity in the Arts Working Group. She was awarded a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by Speaker Pelosi for community service and has received two Commendations of Honor from San Francisco Board of Supervisors for dedication to local community and outstanding service. She was also recognized on the San Francisco YBCA 100 List, honoring artists, activists, and leaders who are committed to building regenerative and equitable communities.

Syren Nagakyrie

Fogo Na Roupa & Artistic Co-Director Metzi Henriquez

Fogo Na Roupa, founded in 1989, is a Bay Area, award-winning, Grupo Carnavalesco and performing company, which combines the community's raw spirit with the technical expertise of its illustrious Founding Director, the late Mestre Carlos Aceituno. The name, which means "Clothes On Fire", is symbolic of the hot energy generated by the innovative rhythms and infectious dance moves that has created dedicated students and Canavalescos in the greater Bay Area. Under the artistic direction of Jose Rivera and Metzi Henriquez, Fogo continues to fire up the crowds, winning multiple San Francisco Carnaval Grand Championships, Best of the Bay 2011, and a 2012 "Corazon Del Barrio Award" from Mission Cultural Center. Fogo Na Roupa’s performance highlights include Bay Area opener for Brazil’s popular Olodum, opening for Carlos Santana, internationally acclaimed Brazilian recording artist Carlinhos Brown, SF Ethnic Dance Festivals, SF Symphony 100th Anniversary, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers halftime shows.

Nature is Not Only Healing. It's Transformative.

Tuesday, March 5, 10:30 am - 12:00 pm


Connecting to nature is critical for both physical and mental health well-being. Public land partners now offer a wide array of programming to improve health and healing — from forest bathing to park prescriptions. How can we go beyond individual programs to collectively improve community health? This panel discussion will feature expert perspectives on how the public lands community can partner to promote the therapeutic power of nature. We will discuss ways to break down barriers for access to public lands, use the latest data and research to create health-oriented programs that maximize impact, and encourage self-care among public lands staff.

This session is sponsored by:

Syren Nagakyrie

Dr. Paul Espinas, Pediatrician, Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Dr. Paul Espinas is a General Pediatrician who serves in the Pediatric Clinic at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hayward, CA. He also is the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Director for Primary Care-Social Health Impact, Initiatives & Programs. Paul grew up in the Bay Area and received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, Riverside with a minor in creative writing, followed by a medical degree from Tufts University. After completing his training in pediatrics at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, he served as Chief Resident there. He has collaborated with the Primary School East Bay team to design integrated programming of care for early childhood ages and is dedicated to the design of more equitable and effective healthcare systems.

Syren Nagakyrie

Pitt Grewe, Head of Public Land Partnerships, AllTrails

Pitt Grewe has been working in the outdoor industry for 20 years. From resort operations to public service, he has always focused on helping people get outside and find a connection with our public lands. In this role, he is helping land managers reach AllTrails users with critical information and get access to important trail user data trends to keep people safe and protect our public lands. Before joining AllTrails, Pitt served as the Director of the Division of Outdoor Recreation in the state of Utah. He loves working with the many outdoor recreation stakeholders to increase funding, harbor collaboration and educate communities on the benefits of getting outside. He is always up for an adventure on a trail, a river, a cliff face, or in the snow.

Syren Nagakyrie

Craig Kenkel, Superintendent, Point Reyes National Seashore, National Park Service

Craig Kenkel is superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, a 71,000-acre park on the Pacific coast an hour north of San Francisco. A 40-year NPS employee, Craig has extensive experience caring for park historic and cultural resources as well as managing parks in urban areas. Before moving back to the Bay Area in 2021, Craig was superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, First Ladies National Historic Site, and James A. Garfield National Historic Site, all in northeast Ohio. Prior to that time, he was superintendent of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (2010-2014) and worked at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (2005-2010), first as Chief of Cultural Resources and then as Deputy Superintendent. Prior to being a park-based employee, Craig worked in the Midwest Regional Office, Omaha, as the Regional Chief of Cultural Resources (1997-2005), and Regional Historical Architect (1992-1997). He began his Park Service career in 1983 at the Denver Service Center while pursuing an architecture degree from Iowa State University. During his early career years, Craig worked as a historical architect and traveled to national parks in Alaska; the Pacific Islands; and continental Northwest, West, and Southwest; assisting with the preservation of park historic structures. One of those projects, the restoration of the Point Reyes Lighthouse, brought him to the national seashore for the first time in 1987. Since then, Point Reyes has been one of his favorite national parks.

Syren Nagakyrie

Johanna van Waveren, Executive Director, Colorado National Monument Association

Johanna embarked in her public lands profession in 2015 as a seasonal park guide at Colorado National Monument, subsequently broadening her experience to include the National Forest, before finding her niche in the nonprofit sector. Currently serving as the Executive Director of the Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA), Johanna plays a pivotal role in supporting her National Park partner. Her professional focus extends beyond traditional responsibilities, as Johanna actively cultivates community engagement and resilience programming in the natural environment. In her leadership position at CNMA, she has elevated the free educational series by incorporating mental health programs. Committed to holistic well-being for those around her, she is currently undergoing certification to become a forest therapy guide and will soon assist both staff and community partners in recognizing the therapeutic benefits of immersion in nature. Johanna has also spearheaded initiatives that prioritize inclusivity, from helping to start the first local Latino Conservation Week Celebration to offering Spanish-language programming. Her impact is tangible, manifesting in on-the-ground efforts that resonate with individuals who share her dedication to equity, mental health and preserving and enjoying the natural wonders that surround us. Johanna stands as a testament to the transformative power of dedicated individuals in the fields of public lands and environmental stewardship.

A New Narrative - Rue Mapp 

Award-Winning Founder & CEO of Outdoor Afro

Thursday, March 7, 4:00 - 5:15 pm


Rue Mapp will share through personal stories the motivation behind her organization Outdoor Afro; its evolution and social impact to date. She will also outline the urgency for why more diverse audiences need to build a local and relevant relationship with the outdoors as a pathway toward greater community health and environmental sustainability.

Rue Mapp candidly documents her personal experiences while pioneering and shifting a new visual representation of Black people in the outdoors. The outdoorswoman transformed her kitchen table blog into a national nature-inspired enterprise and movement. Today, Mapp is the founder and CEO of where Black people and nature meet: Outdoor Afro. For more than a decade, the not-for-profit organization has continued to celebrate and inspire Black connections and leadership in nature across the United States. Mapp’s work in nature and outdoor-related fields started in her hometown of Oakland, California, and has since grown to inspire international headlines.

Mapp is an awarded and inspirational leader, speaker, public lands champion, outdoor gear designer, and published author. She established for-profit enterprise Outdoor Afro, Inc. in 2021 and subsequently launched a 22-piece hike collection with outdoor retailer REI Co-op. Her first national book titled “Nature Swagger: Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors” released with American publisher Chronicle Books on Nov. 1, 2022.

For more than a decade, Mapp has been recognized with many awards and distinctions. She won the 2023 international Bessie Awards in the Journey Woman category by global lifestyle and travel brand Wanderful. She was recognized as a 2021 AFAR Travel Vanguard Award recipient, 2019 National Geographic Fellow, Heinz Awards Honoree, and National Wildlife Federation Communication Award recipient (received alongside President Bill Clinton).

The White House also invited Mapp to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference, which led to her participation in the launch of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. Mapp’s career and community impact through Outdoor Afro aims to lift up the natural world and those who connect with it. Her advocacy for conservation continues to earn international media attention, including The New York Times, Good Morning America, NPR, NBC’s TODAY, Forbes, Oprah Winfrey, and “MeatEater” with Steven Rinella.

This session is co-sponsored by: