Monday Morning Plenary
September 20 | Ballroom West, Bayfront Convention Center
Breakfast opens at 8:30AM, Plenary begins at 9AM
Kick-off | Cindy Adams Dunn, PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary
Welcome | Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive
Keynote Address | Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper
‘A Journey of Activism, Environmental Justice, Diversity and Sustainability’
Fred Tutman came to Water keeping after 25 years of chasing news and film production assignments all over the Globe as freelancer. But a midlife career change resulted in a reconnection to his own unique ties to nature and to the local river that ran through his neighborhood. As an African American activist and environmentalist, he embarked on an 18-year (so far) journey to change the fate of his river, reconnect to his own origins, and to mobilize a proportional movement to salvage the activist soul of one of Maryland most geopolitically significant rivers. Fred will share some of the lessons learned via his personal journey of activism, environmental justice, community organizing, diversity, and sustainability.
Fred was born and raised along the Patuxent River as were seven generations of his ancestors before him. As the Patuxent Riverkeeper, an organization he founded in 2004, Fred is a grassroots community advocate for clean water in Maryland’s longest and deepest intrastate waterway. He is among the longest serving Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake region and the only African American Waterkeeper in the nation.
He lives on an active farm located near the Patuxent that has been his family’s ancestral home for nearly a century. Prior to founding Patuxent Riverkeeper in 2004, Fred operated a business that provided professional media and mass communication services internationally, including a long stint working with and advising traditional healers in West Africa and coverage of the Falkands conflict in Argentina on assignment by the BBC. Fred also worked as a volunteer activist on the Patuxent for over 20 years until the momentum of the volunteer environmental work overcame his media career and the challenge of Riverkeeping beckoned.
Fred is a recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for his work on behalf of environmental causes and issues in Maryland. He also serves on a variety of Boards, Task Forces and Commissions related to the work of protecting the Patuxent and the natural environment. Among them, Fred serves on the Board of the Environmental Integrity Project, as a Governor appointed Commissioner on the State’s Patuxent River Commission and on the Board of Waterkeeper Alliance, the international group that licenses Waterkeepers. After a late life sojourn into law school, Fred is now an adjunct instructor at historic St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he teaches an upper-level course in Environmental Law and Policy.
He is an avid kayaker, backpacker, and adventurer. In his spare time, he does trail maintenance on the Appalachian Trail, explores the Patuxent River by kayak, blacksmiths, writes and works on his farm.
Cindy Adams Dunn
Cindy Adams Dunn became sixth secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in June 2015. As secretary, Dunn has helped position Pennsylvania as a leader in land conservation, outdoor recreation, green practices, and public land management. During her tenure, the department created the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps to connect youth and young adults with job opportunities relating to the outdoors and the environment. She also has directed the agency to provide leadership on planting forest buffers along streams to improve water quality. Under her direction, Pennsylvania continues efforts to address the impacts of climate change, including helping the commonwealth adapt and implement a plan to reduce its impacts on state forests and parks.
Prior to becoming secretary, Dunn had served as the president and chief executive officer of PennFuture, a statewide environmental advocacy. Dunn also served as DCNR’s Deputy Secretary of Conservation and Technical Services from 2007-2013, where she led DCNR’s conservation landscape program and oversaw the community conservation partnerships grant program, which provides $30-$60 million annually for conservation and recreation throughout the commonwealth. Other leadership posts at DCNR included director of the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation as well as director of the Office of Education, Communications and Partnerships.
Over the years Dunn has been recognized with numerous awards for her leadership in conservation including: the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Frances E. Flanigan Environmental Leadership Award; Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and Pennsylvania Wildlife Federation Conservationist of the Year; Cumberland County Conservation District Conservationist of the Year; the PA Recreation and Park Society Local Government Award; and the PA Association of Environmental Professionals Karl Mason Award.
Kathy Dahlkemper took office as Erie County Executive on Jan. 7, 2014. She previously represented Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving from 2009 to 2011. As County Executive, Dahlkemper has served on the National Association of Counties-National League of Cities taskforce on the opioid epidemic. She has been appointed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to serve on the Great Lakes Commission, as well as on the state’s Redistricting Reform Commission. She currently serves as second vice president for the County Executives of America and is on the National Association of Counties International Economic Development Task Force and Community, Economic and Workforce Development Steering Committee. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics advisory board. Since early 2020, she has partnered with the Erie County Department of Health to guide the community through the multiple and monumental challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. As Erie County Executive, she continues to work with public and private partners to build a more vibrant community, to create opportunities for all residents, and to move Erie County forward.