Based in New Orleans, LA, Maria Brodine is the Water Program Specialist at Groundwork USA and co-coordinator of the Urban Waters Learning Network in partnership with River Network. Originally from the Southwest, she earned her B.A. in English and Anthropology from San Diego State University, then went on to obtain her M.A. in Anthropology and Education at Columbia University. After moving to New Orleans to study the history of water management practices, she became involved in doing applied work through Groundwork New Orleans, where she led and supported program and staff development, designed and implemented an interdisciplinary research program, and secured a variety of funding sources to expand organizational capacity. As Water Program Specialist and UWLN co-coordinator, she conducts research and analysis, writes and edits Impact Stories and Network Blog posts, provides direct technical assistance, connects urban waters practitioners, and supports environmental justice programs and discussions. Email email@example.com.
Renée Mazurek is a geologist, educator and writer, with a BS in geology from the University of Pittsburgh and a MS in geology from East Carolina University. She lives in Asheville, NC. For the Urban Waters Learning Network, she performs project research and communicates with project leaders to write impact stories, blogs, member highlights, story maps, and to coordinate webinars. She also supports the UWLN Equitable Development Collaborative and helps manage the Urban Waters online community and member map. In addition, Renée has a background teaching geology and environmental geology at the college-level. With over 10 years’ experience teaching about the earth, Renée is committed to educating the public about the environment and environmental solutions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Valinch joined Groundwork USA in 2021 as the Manager of Equity and Resilience Programs. In this role, John is advancing equity-centered strategies within the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership, Equitable Development and Environmental Justice Technical Assistance program, and Urban Waters Program. John will also be working to advance the network capacity building practice of Groundwork USA. John’s journey in the environmental justice movement began at the age of 15, when he joined GreenRoots to stop a diesel power plant from being built in his hometown of Chelsea, Massachusetts. He is guided by a principled commitment to justice, equity, and building people-power through intersectional community organizing and public policy. Prior to joining Groundwork USA, John worked as an Analyst for UNITE HERE, an international union representing over 270,000 hotel, gaming, airport, and food service employees. Here, John conducted private equity research to support organizing campaigns. He also played a pivotal role in the creation and management of Hospitality Employees Advancement and Training (HEAT), Inc., a joint labor-management culinary training academy in Miami, Florida, which provides hospitality workers the training and skills needed to earn sustainable living wages, benefits, and jobs with dignity in South Florida. John holds both a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Business Administration from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. John previously graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2014, where he received a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in Public Policy. In his spare time, John enjoys spending time with loved ones, outdoor explorations, and building up the power of communities to secure a healthy, equitable, and affirming future for all. Email email@example.com.
As Leadership Development Director for River Network, Diana Toledo serves as a co-coordinator of the EPA Urban Waters Learning Network, along with partner organization, Groundwork USA, and co-founded the UWLN with Ann-Marie Mitroff. At River Network, Diana is responsible for developing and delivering training and consulting services so that leaders, organizations and coalitions working for freshwater protection are strong, effective and results-oriented. In that role, she provides support in the areas of strategic and campaign planning, project development, fundraising, board and staff development, and coalition building. Diana has over 20 years’ experience in river conservation and community organizing. Prior to joining River Network in 2006, Diana helped build one of the strongest networks of local watershed groups in the country through her work with the River Alliance of Wisconsin, and led various Great Lakes policy and funding initiatives while at the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. Diana has a MS in Water Resources Management from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies (University of Wisconsin – Madison) and a BS from Indiana University – Bloomington. She is based out of Asheville, NC. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-founder and UWLN Alum
Now an Alum of Groundwork USA and the Urban Waters Learning Network, Ann-Marie Mitroff served as a co-coordinator of the UWLN with partner organization, River Network. Using her 20+ years of on-the-ground experience in managing conservation and river projects in urban areas, she still provides guidance and program perspectives to urban waters practitioners across the country including local Groundwork Trusts through the Urban Waters Learning Network. For over a decade, she’s been responsible for implementing river restoration efforts including tree planting and invasives management, water quality and fish studies, wetland reviews, municipal stormwater/green infrastructure projects, and river clean-ups. She coordinated the City of Yonkers’ habitat plan and community engagement process on the 8-year Saw Mill River Daylighting project, completed in 2012. Prior to joining Groundwork, she developed and managed water and energy conservation programs for public and private utilities in Santa Cruz and San Jose California; Washington, DC; and Seattle. Ann-Marie has an MPA from Seattle University and a BA from the University of Washington. She is based in Yonkers, NY.