Mike Tidwell is founder and director of the CCAN Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Under Tidwell’s leadership, CCAN has helped pass landmark clean-energy legislation in Maryland and the District of Columbia; blocked coal and oil development plans in Virginia; and worked with groups nationwide to push for a fair and effective carbon cap policy on Capitol Hill.
Tidwell is also an author and filmmaker whose books include The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Race to Save America’s Coastal Cities. Tidwell’s documentary film – “We Are All Smith Islanders” – vividly depicts the dangers of global warming in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. Tidwell has received numerous awards for his advocacy work, including the Audubon Naturalist Society’s prestigious “Conservation Award.” A long-time resident of Maryland, he lives in Takoma Park with his wife Beth and son Sasha. Read more about Mike here.
Contact: mtidwell [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org, 240-460-5838
Kirsten Collings joined the CCAN team in 2008, first as Campaign Director and later moving into her current position of Deputy Director. With expertise in campaign, staff and organizational management, Kirsten oversees CCAN’s senior campaign team, manages the organization’s finances, and guides the strategic direction of CCAN’s campaigns throughout the region. In her time at CCAN, Kirsten has directed dozens of campaigns including CCAN’s work to expand Maryland’s clean electricity standard, to stop the nation’s biggest proposed coal plant in Surry County, Virginia, and to expose our region’s biggest climate foes, including Dominion Resources.
Kirsten has been fighting for environmental and climate victories for over 15 years, starting as a student at North Carolina State University and continuing with her tenure in Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing. Kirsten served as a Green Corps trainee and subsequently as a trainer and supervisor for dozens of the program’s recent college graduates wanting to launch their careers in environmental grassroots organizing.
Contact: kirsten [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Anne Havemann is CCAN Action Fund’s General Counsel and Foundation Grants Manager. She has a decade of experience working on environmental issues at the regional and national scale. At CCAN, she works to fight climate change and promote clean energy through litigation and policy development, while also providing general legal support and foundation grants management. Prior to CCAN, she worked at a think tank, the Center for Progressive Reform, on its Chesapeake Bay program area. She focused on enforcing the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to clean up the Bay, with a particular emphasis on industrial chicken farms. Anne has clerked for U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the American Wind Energy Association. She served as CCAN’s first communication director before leaving in 2010 to further her education in environmental law. Anne received her law degree with a certificate in environmental law from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was editor in chief of the Maryland Law Review. Anne received a B.A. in environmental science from Colorado College.
Contact: anne [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Jamie DeMarco, Federal Policy Director
Jamie leads CCAN’s Capitol Hill lobbying and Maryland advocacy. Before joining CCAN, Jamie led state-level lobbying for the Citizens Climate Lobby, was a campaign manager for the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, and worked as a legislative assistant at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. He got his start as an advocate interning at the CCAN years ago. Jamie graduated from Warren Wilson College where he led a successful divestment campaign, and helped close the Asheville coal plant. Jamie grew up in Baltimore and now lives in College Park with his girlfriend and their dog Mila. As a child and young adult Jamie spent his summers being a camp counselor in Shenandoah. Now he enjoys morning runs around lake Artemesia, laughing with friends on the back porch, and going to bed early.
Contact: jamie [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Victoria Venable, Maryland Director
Victoria (she/her/hers) is the Maryland Director at Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Victoria joins CCAN after earning a Master’s in Public Policy degree at Oregon State University, where she studied environmental policy and researched the social equity considerations of climate resilience planning. Prior to her move to the West Coast, Victoria worked as the Legislative Director for Delegate Benjamin Brooks in the Maryland General Assembly. Victoria has been involved in several electoral and issue advocacy campaigns including Maryland’s ban on fracking, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and local candidate races throughout Maryland. Victoria grew up in Frederick County, Maryland and received her undergraduate degree at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.
After a couple of years exploring the Pacific Northwest and witnessing firsthand how rapidly climate change is threatening our survival, Victoria returns to Maryland ready to advocate for progressive and equitable climate action. In her free time, Victoria enjoys hiking, baking, and exploring the world with her partner and her dog.
Contact: victoria [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Victoria Higgins, Virginia Director
Victoria Higgins (she/her) is the Virginia Director for Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Victoria grew up in Hoboken, New Jersey and studied psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University. Her career in environmental advocacy began with Green Corps, a rigorous training program for environmental organizers. She worked on campaigns with Mighty Earth, Conservation Colorado, and Environment Virginia to hold corporate polluters accountable, pass state climate policy, and limit plastic pollution in Virginia’s waterways. After falling in love with Virginia, she moved to Richmond to work with Virginia Conservation Network as their Civic Engagement and Grassroots Campaigns Manager.
Now, she is finishing up a Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate at Johns Hopkins University. In her free time, she plays Ultimate frisbee, issues unsolicited opinions about pizza, and carries around a deck of cards in hopes that someone will play spades with her.
Contact: vhiggins [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
KC Chartrand, Communications Director
KC Chartrand is the Communications Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Prior to joining CCAN, KC spent over 25 years promoting innovative solutions for sustainability and risk management – including environmental (e.g., carbon management), health, safety, disaster response/recovery, and more. He headed up communications teams for leading providers such as the EHS & Sustainability practice at IHS Markit, Environmental Support Solutions Inc. (ESS), and Marsh Crisis Consulting. In each of these roles, he showed corporate and government decision makers how the latest technologies and best practices dedicated to regulatory compliance or operational excellence could help them better serve their respective stakeholders, as well as the public and planet.
Recently, KC has served as an Advisory Board member to SABER Institute, the Single Automated Business Exchange for Reporting. SABER is a nonprofit partnership that supports disaster relief operations for hurricanes and other natural disasters that are increasing in frequency and severity due to global climate change. Now KC is proud to join the CCAN team and fight for the kind of proactive, scalable public policy change that the world needs. KC lives in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife Jennifer. He enjoys biking, hiking, drawing, and occasionally still rides his unicycle.
Contact: kc [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Quentin Scott, Federal Campaigns Director
Quentin Scott (he/him) joined CCAN in January 2021 as part of the newly created CCAN Federal Team. He moved from Chicago specifically to build political will for groundbreaking national climate and climate justice policies. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, he got a first-hand look at the two Americas and sought to bring the two Americas closer together through advocacy. Quentin’s passion for math and science landed him at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Instead of using his skills for engineering, he uses his knowledge to build data-informed campaigns. Before joining CCAN, Quentin was chief of staff for an Illinois State Representative and a legislative correspondent in the US House of Representatives, and has led numerous issue and candidate campaigns across the Midwest and East Coast. In his roles, he has stood with neighborhood groups to hold industrial polluters accountable in communities of color and looks forward to bringing that fight to the federal level.
Quentin enjoys exploring new places and has been to 37 states. When he is not traveling you can find him engaging in some form of competition, whether that’s video games, board games, or on the basketball court.
Contact: quentin [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Mustafa Abdullah, Field Director
Mustafa Abdullah (he/him) is the Field Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network where he will help lead the organization’s efforts to build grassroots power and infrastructure to help our communities in DC, MD, and VA to tackle the biggest threats and take on the biggest opportunities to achieve climate stability. Mustafa’s commitment to organizing work is driven by sharing moments with people when they realize their own power and have a clear sense of hope and what is possible.
Mustafa has been organizing professionally since 2010 and has significant experience building volunteer programs and organizing on a wide range of civil rights and liberties issues at a municipal and state level. He also has experience leveraging elections to get candidates to adopt critical policy positions. Among his proudest achievements are setting up a legal support infrastructure for movement work, which led to volunteers and activists being trained on how to work with lawyers to file effective litigation in courts to protect their rights. Additionally, Mustafa is particularly proud of working with activists on the ground in St. Louis to get the top two vote getting Mayoral candidates in 2021 and a majority of the members of the Board of Aldermen to adopt the ACLU of Missouri’s civil liberties platform to mitigate police surveillance, reduce arrests for low level offenses, closing a local jail, and increasing police transparency.
Contact: mustafa [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Courtney Dyson, Fundraising Director
Courtney grew up on the family farm in Southern Maryland and is CCAN’s Fundraising Director. Courtney first delved into nature in the 1st grade when completing a science project on squirrel nesting habits. This fascination led her to complete her undergraduate degree in Conservation and Wildlife Management from Delaware Valley University. After working as a naturalist and on wildlife management surveys, Courtney chose to pursue a master degree in International Cooperation and Development from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy, where she focused on climate change adaptation in vulnerable communities and food security.
Prior to joining the team Courtney was a Communications Fellow with CCAN and completed an internship with the United Nations Climate Change secretariat. In her spare time Courtney enjoys birding, board games, and spending time on her family’s farm.
Contact: courtney [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Mari Schimmer, Director of Staff Support and Operations
Mari Schimmer (she/her) is the Director of Staff Support and Operations at CCAN, managing recruitment, hiring, and onboarding processes and executing the internal equity and culture plan and day-to-day operations. She brings over a decade of experience in staff management and organizational leadership. Before joining the CCAN team, Mari specialized in designing and managing field organizing programs for national nonprofits. She led issue advocacy, leadership development, and electoral programs at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, Democracy for America, and NARAL Pro-Choice America. Earlier in her career, Mari organized for clean cars and other environmental protections and managed voter contact canvassing projects in Colorado. She has also directed national recruitment for a political consulting firm.
A native of Northern California, Mari’s first organizing experience was campaigning in defense of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at UC Santa Cruz. She lives in Takoma Park with her partner and an ever-growing crew of rescue pets. She enjoys exploring state parks in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, kayaking, reading on the beach, and knitting.
Contact: mari [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Charlene Castillo, Director of Finance
Charlene Castillo (she/her) grew up in Maryland, and enjoys being close to both Baltimore and DC. During her early 20s she spent two years doing mission work in the Marshall Islands. There, she saw firsthand the effects of not treating our world kindly due to the still-present results of nuclear testing on the Bikini Atoll. Prior to joining CCAN she was a contractor specializing in nonprofit accounting. She enjoys working with mission oriented organizations. In her spare time Charlene likes to spend time with family and friends, at the beach, eating out, making bread, and watching her backyard birds eat the treats she puts out for them.
Contact: charlene [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Holly Bradley, West Virginia Organizer
Holly joined CCAN in April of 2021 as the West Virginia Organizer. She obtained a BS at West Virginia University in Design Studies with a minor in Horticulture. While in college she worked for Clean Vibes LLC. an event waste management company that focuses on waste diversion efforts such as recycling and large-scale composting. Upon graduating from WVU she began to focus on growing and preserving food working on farms in Colorado and California before making her way back to her home state in 2014. Becoming a farmer allowed Holly to learn first-hand the devastating effects climate change has had on our food systems. This led her to begin volunteering for Mom’s Clean Air Force which connected her with folks active in the climate world. As a ninth generation West Virginian she wants to make sure WV doesn’t get left behind as the nation transitions to cleaner energy.
She now lives at the Gesundheit Institute with her partner and their two sons where they focus on regenerative agriculture and host educational workshops based around the importance of community, activism and alternative healing. In her free time Holly can be found dancing to old time string music, dabbling in herbal folk medicine and foraging for wild foods.
Contact: holly [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Charles Brown, Hampton Roads Organizer
Charles Brown II is CCAN’s Hampton Roads Organizer. A Hampton, Virginia native, he is a proud veteran who served in the United States Navy. After returning home from service, he interned for Defjam and Atlantic Records before becoming Virginia’s Defjam Promotions Representative for five years. He then served as Area Director for the Virginia League of Conservation Voters for three years. Following his time with VA LCV, he became a county lead for a vaccination outreach program. He then briefly served as the Hip Hop Caucus’s National Respect My Vote Organizer. He brings to his role with CCAN a sense of community, creativity, and passion for the region’s environment.
Contact: charlesb [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Jesse Buff, Volunteer Program Coordinator
Jesse leads CCAN’s Invasive Vine Removal Program. Before coming to CCAN, Jesse led volunteer programs at Rock Creek Conservancy. Prior to that, Jesse worked at the intersection of international conservation and development for much of his career. He has worked for international development companies, NGOs, and the federal government. His passion is working with communities to protect their natural resources. He has an MS in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment and a BA from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. In his spare time, he enjoys birdwatching, cooking, and hiking with his dog and family.
Contact: jesseb [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Elle De La Cancela, Central Virginia Campaign Coordinator
After living everywhere from NYC to Chicago and rural Maine to rural California, Elle (she/they) now calls Richmond home as CCAN’s Central Virginia Campaign Coordinator. Elle got her start in student organizing with the Student Action Network, and is dedicated to continuing to cultivate the next generation of climate activists. They have experience working for the National Park Service (building trail), the National Forest Service (fighting fire), and the Bernie campaign (electoral organizing). While fervently working to stop polluting industries, they also love the world building and creativity that fighting for a future necessitates (just ask her about public transit and walkable cities). When not staffing an action or public meeting, you can find Elle on the rugby pitch or playing guitar with pals.
Contact: elle [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Anthony Field, Maryland Campaign Coordinator
Anthony Field joined CCAN in the summer of 2019 as the Maryland Campaign Coordinator working to protect Maryland communities and ecosystems from the risks posed by fossil fuels. His passion for social justice and environmental advocacy took root during his freshman year at the University of North Texas where he pursued a major in Political Science and a minor in Peace Studies and Diplomacy. It was during this time that Anthony joined the local effort to institute a citywide fracking ban. He and dozens of activists were able to take on the big oil interests and successfully saw Denton become the first city in Texas to ban fracking. While this ban was eventually overturned by Governor Abbott in May of 2015, Anthony is proud to have been a part of the movement.
His impassioned dedication to championing progressive values and fighting for traditionally under-represented communities did not end there. He served as a 2015 White House Intern for former President Obama and after began managing the ground efforts for ballot initiatives and State and Federal races in Texas, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Virginia. His compassion and drive to help positively impact his community also saw him assist in managing disaster relief efforts for FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria. When he is not trying to save the world he can be found spending time with friends, enjoying the company of his two dogs, and playing video games both for fun and competitively.
Contact: anthony [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Monica O’Connor, Content Writer and Special projects Assistant
Monica joined CCAN in the Fall of 2019 as a content writer and special projects assistant. Monica began her work in grassroots advocacy in 2016 by co-founding the Maryland WISE Women where she worked to promote environmental legislation on the state and local level. In 2018 Monica worked as a coalition partner with CCAN in her position as the Clean Energy Jobs Act Organizer for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. Currently she is a Legislative Liaison for the Maryland Legislative Coalition and a member of the March On Maryland Board.
Monica is a long time proponent of sustainable farming and has supported and promoted local farmers and CSAs for 20 years. She considers the 8 years spent in upstate New York producing food for her family as a point of pride. Monica spends her weekend hiking with her family.
Contact: monica [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Zander Pellegrino, Northern Virginia Organizer
Zander (he/him/his) spent the first two decades of his life in Virginia. Born in Harrisonburg, he studied biology and environmental policy at William & Mary. Zander went on to work in and research international sustainable development projects, focusing on participatory planning and just climate adaptation in Egypt. During and after earning a master’s degree from Yale School of the Environment he joined local and regional fights for climate justice and against green gentrification in the US.
At CCAN, Zander works with action members throughout Northern Virginia to advance climate justice and build local leadership teams.
Contact: zander [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Riley Pfaff, Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator
Riley (he/him) grew up in Maryland and serves as CCAN’s Executive Assistant and Special Projects Coordinator. He attended Duke University and interned with the League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife as an undergraduate. After graduation, he worked as a field organizer in North Carolina during the 2020 election before interning for Rep. Don Beyer (VA) in the House of Representatives.
Outside of climate work, Riley is a huge Washington Nationals fan and hopes to one day visit all 30 MLB stadiums. He also enjoys biking around D.C. and crabbing and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.
Contact: riley [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Jess Rampulla, Major Gifts and Events Officer
Jess (she/her) has recently joined CCAN as the Major Gifts and Events Officer. Originally from Pennsylvania, Jess grew up dancing and performing on stage and later obtained her BS in Theatre Arts Management from Ithaca College with minors in Marketing and Business Administration. Her background in the arts led to her involvement with non-profits and has been a driving force in her desire to make a difference in her community.
Jess previously worked as the Advancement Associate and Alumnae Relations Coordinator at an all-girls boarding school in Lititz, PA. In her free time, Jess enjoys going for hikes, reading, and spending time with her cat, Cannoli.
Contact: jessica [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Nicole Schroyer, Communications Manager
Nicole Schroyer (she/her/hers) is the Communications Manager at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Prior to joining CCAN, Nicole earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and International Studies from Washington College, in Chestertown, MD. After completing her degree in 2019, Nicole joined CCAN as a Social Media and Communications Intern and then transitioned into a Temporary CRM Associate role before moving on to take on the role of Communications Coordinator at MOM’s Organic Market. In May of 2022, Nicole returned to CCAN to take on the role of Communications Manager. Nicole currently lives in DC and enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, and spending time with her pets, Camellia (dog), and Clover (Cat).
Contact: nicole [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Doug Siglin, D.C. Coordinator
Doug Siglin has been an environmental policy creator, advocate, nonprofit leader, and business owner internationally, nationally, and regionally for more than four decades. He began as a clean water and aquaculture Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and has lived and/or worked in the District since 1983. Doug has chaired or co-chaired several boards, including the National Peace Corps Association, the America’s Great Waters Coalition, the Choose Clean Water Coalition, and the Low Impact Development Center.
Doug is thrilled to be able to work with CCAN on the most important environmental issue of our time.
Contact: doug [at] chesapeakeclimate [dot] org
Sat Jiwan Khalsa, President
Sat Jiwan has been an environmental advocate and activist since 2000, working and volunteering in non-profit environmental consumer advocacy and energy efficiency consulting. He recently completed an intensive green renovation of his family’s home. Sat Jiwan works closely with a team of green architects, designers, builders and energy consultants (Helicon Works) to make green homes. Sat Jiwan is a green-building and environmental consultant, current president of the Save Our Sky Home Heating Cooperative (aka “Corn Coop”), and the monthly “Going Green” columnist for the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Voice.
Sat Jiwan previously worked at Whole Foods Market and Center for a New American Dream. He graduated from Brandeis University with BAs in linguistics and cognitive science, and psychology. He joined the CCAN board in 2007.
Keith Thirion, Secretary
Keith joins the CCAN Action Fund board after previously leading the Virginia field team for it and affiliate Chesapeake Climate Action Network. A seasoned campaigner, advocate, and organizer, he is currently the Vice President of Strategy at Alliance for Justice, a national advocacy organization that fights for a fair and independent justice system, and empowers nonprofits to advocate for their causes. He joined AFJ after serving as the Director of Advocacy & Programs and then Acting Director of Equality Maryland, where he played a lead role in passing the state transgender anti-discrimination law and developed public education initiatives to reduce anti-LGBTQ prejudice and discrimination. Previously as the Virginia Field Director at CCAN, he managed the organizing team to defeat the largest proposed coal plant in Virginia, expose corporate greenwashing by the state’s most powerful utility, develop legislative champions, and build networks of climate activists and coalition partners across the state.
Keith began organizing on LGBTQ ballot initiative campaigns and as an Organizing Fellow with the National LGBTQ Task Force. He lives in Washington, DC.
Amanda Tandy, Member
Amanda is an activist in Loudoun County, VA. She focuses on local environmental protection, equity and politics. Currently, she is the committee chair for both the NAACP Loudoun Environmental and Preservation Justice Committee and the Political Action Committee, one of NAACP Loudoun’s Vice Presidents, and co-treasurer for both the Virginia Justice Democrats and People Power Virginia. Her favorite things about activism are meeting and interacting with all of the other amazing, hopeful activists and holding people in power accountable to do better. Amanda joined CCAN Action Fund’s Board of Directors in 2021.