Episode 133: How Can YOU Help with Biodiversity?

Meet the Experts:  Kasey Gaylord- Opalewski,  Programs Manager for Earth Echo International and Youth Leader David Yoon


Kasey Gaylord- Opalewski

Kasey Gaylord-Opalewski has been designing, developing and coordinating innovative digital programming for non-profit organizations since 2002. She has over 20 years of “on-air” experience as an educator and moderator for virtual interactive lessons. Over the years, Kasey has received innumerable accolades for her lively and engaging marine science and conservation presentations. She specializes in teen programs as well as public programming for adults, such as Science Cafes and professional development for educators and lifelong learners. Most recently, Kasey co-authored “Defining Interactive Virtual Learning in Museum Education: A Shared Perspective” (2019) in the Journal of Museum Education, Vol. 44, No. 3, 229–241.

Kasey specializes in the interpretation and translation of scientific research concepts and utilizes strategic framing techniques to lead complex conversations, such as those focused on climate change. She is an Alumni member of the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation, a year-long study circle that helps to bring climate change resources and training to communities of staff, volunteers and professionals. Kasey is a Certified Interpretive Guide for the National Association of Interpretation and has been a Certified Instructor for the Florida Master Naturalist Program. She is an active member of the National Marine Science Educators Association and the Florida Marine Science Educators Association.

David Yoon


Born in 2005, David Yoon has spent his whole life interested in the environment. As the older he grew, his passion only grew stronger which led him to take initiative and become a youth-leader. Living in Greenville, NC, home of the Tar and Neuse River, he was able to experience first-hand the effects of plastic pollution in our environment, so he understood the need for change – and quickly became that change.

Starting in the summer of 2019, David led, engaged, and mentored over 2,500 underserved youth in outdoor STEM-focused environmental activities. As the founder and Executive Director of Plastic Free NC (PFNC), an umbrella organization dedicated to uniting and empowering youth leaders to increase global efforts tackling environmental and social issues. Over the course of a year (2019-2020), he designed and coordinated sticker-campaign promoting sustainable practices led by local businesses, social-media campaign (e.g., #SkipTheStraw); led educational outreach via community reusable bag and bottle giveaway events, public presentations at local city council meetings, environmental rallies, and participated in university sustainability film showings. Recently, David has engaged in local greenway cleanups and helped remove hundreds of pounds. of litter. He has also assisted with teaching thousands of at-risk youth how to ride bikes to maintain active lifestyles and contributed to revitalizing vacant lots into community gardens which utilize sustainable agricultural practices; donating 30,000+ lbs. of produce to 400+ at-risk families.

Along with his impact, the skills, benefits, and growth that he gained in leading PFNC has inspired him to continue directing it. He has vastly improved his public speaking skills, learned how to lead a team, and— most of all— found his method of giving back to his community and beautiful environment.

Earth Echo Challenge
What is the Earth Echo OURECHO Challenge?
The OurEcho Challenge is a STEM competition that empowers students to take a closer look at biodiversity in their communities. Students will first identify threats to local ecosystems and then propose solutions to help preserve, protect, or repair those natural resources.
To learn more and participate, click HERE




Consider doing the Our Echo challenge. Or, if not, look around the places you live and notice the biodiversity around you. See if there is anything you can do to help with conservation in your area.

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Footprints Across the Planet book

Featured book for this episode!


Footprints Across the Planet by Jennifer Swanson 

Every footprint―from the physical to the digital and the permanent to the fleeting―leaves a mark on Earth telling a story of the past, the present, or the future. What type of imprint will YOU leave?




Book List: 

Save the Ocean (Save the Earth) by Bethany Stahl

Environmental Activist Wangari Maathai (STEM Trailblazer Bios) by Jennifer Swanson

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