Working Groups Preparing for the COBALT Bioregional Workshop

Since January 2023, six working groups have formed to prepare for the international Bioregional Workshop “A Deeper Sense of Place” as part of Transformations 2023 Conference. They are currently busy preparing material, briefings, products that will be shared with all participants who assemble in July 17-19 to focus on how we see, connect and amplify transformation at a bioregional scale. On the 19th of July, the leaders of the six working groups and others will meet and reflect the information that was learned from the Workshop and plan ahead.

Working Group #1: Bioregional Systems Storytelling


Participants will be immersed in and contribute to the story of the Casco Bay Bioregion including interconnections (policy, social, ecological, economic etc.) across of food systems ~ both terrestrial and aquatic. 


This will include linkages to food waste and wastewater, gender issues, food justice and the implications of ecological health with a focus on seagrass meadows and associated coastal ecosystems in Casco Bay.


Participants will learn how to see, connect and amplify transformations systems through storytelling and how to apply lessons learned to bioregions across the globe.

Team Preparing for Working Group #1

This WG will be facilitated by Nicole Negowetti – Creative Expert in Transforming Food Systems

Nicole Negowetti

I am an expert on the future of food, an internationally recognized food law and policy scholar, advocate, attorney, and former Harvard Law School educator. My superpower is asking questions that inspire people to see the world differently.

Master Storyteller

Anna Connathan

Anna Conathan is a writer, storyteller, and personal coach. An enthusiastic lifelong student of human behavior and lover of humans in general, Anna is passionate about helping her clients discover their inner superpowers and tell their stories. Her mission is to help build connection, foster understanding, and strengthen communication in communities. 

Northeastern University Capstone Student Economics and Environmental Studies, Urban Studies Minor

Belkis Montas

Hello! My name is Belkis, I am a 5th Year Economics and Environmental Studies major, Urban Studies minor at Northeastern. I’ve done work in renewable energy, investment research, climate modeling, ESG and community engagement. I’ve been playing squash since I was 12 and am learning to surf. I am also an avid user of the Libby app.

Northeastern University Capstone Student Environmental Science with Conservation Science Concentration, Writing and Film Production Minors

Kate Mason

Having grown up hiking, snorkeling, and rock climbing with friends and family, I have a deep, enduring love of nature and all the creatures that inhabit the wild places on our planet. I am an explorer at heart, of both the physical world and of those in fiction.

Northeastern University Capstone Student Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Earth, Oceans, and Environmental Change Concentration

Phoebe Brown

Growing up in San Francisco created a powerful foundation for my passion, excitement, curiosity, and stewardship for my local environment. Serving as the “ocean defender” intern gave me insight into one, of the many, non-traditional avenues that one can take in supporting environmental initiatives and inspiring action. 

Northeastern University Capstone Student

Fatema Alkhalifa

Hello! I’m a 3rd year Environmental and Sustainability Science major at Northeastern University with a concentration in sustainable planning and development.

Mark Bomster

I’m a lifelong journalist with experience as a daily news reporter and editor and a collaborative, team orientation. I’ve specialized in public education policy, national and local politics, and other issues of public interest. Superpowers: synthesizing and focusing the varied themes of a project, identifying key story lines, and bringing a generalist’s enthusiasm to something I know little about.

Kathi Hendrick

I’m an artist, engineer, designer, poet, facilitator, embodiment guide. I am dynamic and constantly evolving into deeper wholeness through curiosity and playful exploration of the “and.” I alchemize living systems principles, regenerative design, and strategy methods with art, psychology, embodiment and mindfulness practices to co-create wellbeing and positive transformation at the level of self, community and world.

Ellen Harasimowicz

I create visual stories that celebrate the strength and resilience of individuals and the places they inhabit. In an ever-growing disconnected world, I’m drawn to people who are rooted in a place and nourished by the bonds of community. Many have deep connections to the natural world and a desire to protect it. I have been a visual storyteller since 2004 when I started freelancing for the Boston Globe.

Working Group #2: Art and Science of a Bioregional Fibershed


Participants will contribute to the documentation of the Casco Bay Fibershed in relation to the New England Fibershed including past, present and emerging future dimensions.  


Examples of activities include finalizing a draft timeline of textiles, trends in key variables, social and economic implications and useful case examples of the Casco Bay Fibershed. 


This WG will also have a major focus on the emerging potential for fiber/textile art as a transformations system to inspire bioregional stewardship with a focus on a potential Seagrass Art exhibit.

Team Preparing for Working Group #2

This WG will be facilitated by Martha Kellerhals – Creative Expert in Fiber, Textiles and Transforming Production.


Martha Kellerhals

I grew up New England (MA, RI, NH & ME) and moved to NYC to study fashion design and work in the industry. Every place I have lived (including San Francisco, Paris, WI, Mexico, and now, Bern, Switzerland) has shaped me and broadened and enriched my frame of reference and world view.

University of Southern Maine Honors Intern

Sarah Benes

I am Sarah Benes, a sophomore at USM majoring in Biochemistry with minors in Holistic and Integrative Health, Biology and Honors. My superpower in my compassion in hearing the perspectives of others and using those to grow!

University of Southern Maine Honors Intern

Michael Brown

I am from Fairfield, Maine, and I am currently studying political science. I am a first-year student but will be a junior in credit standing next semester. My superpower is my determination to complete whatever tasks I work on.

Peter Mellgard, Senior Editor Noema Magazine

Peter Mellgard

Peter Mellgard is a senior editor of Noema Magazine. He was an Arthur F. Burns Fellow on the foreign desk at Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest newspaper, in 2014. Before that, Mellgard was a staff writer at The American Interest and a research associate for Walter Russell Mead. He has also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Student in fiber art and design in Scotland

Catriona Ball

Hello! My name is Catriona (cat-tree-na). I’m from Scotland and I’m currently living and studying art and sustainable fashion in Glasgow. In my course the subject of slow fashion and sustainability comes up a lot and has interested my greatly. I’m excited to get started and meet new people.

University of Southern Maine Honors Intern

Garreth Austin

I am a junior at the University of Southern Maine, studying biotechnology. One of my superpowers is adaptability. I love science and believe it can be useful in making our planet a more sustainable place to live.

Working Group #3: Place-Based Regeneration


Participants will contribute to a detailed documentation of place-based regenerative projects within a nested system, including why and how tourism can more fully support people, place and prosperity .  


This WG will explore concepts for bioregional sea kayaking, hiking, and biking that inspire stewardship action as a transformations system within the bioregion with case stories, principles, and indicators of progress.


To be regenerative is to be dedicated to listening and learning together with people and place. With this in mind, the core importance of this WG is to spark reflection, conversation and shared discovery for the Casco bay Bioregion.

Team Preparing for Working Group #3

This WG will be facilitated by Bill Reed – Creative Expert in Regenerative Development and Regenerative Approaches to Tourism.

Group Facilitator

Bill Reed

I’m a system integrator and regenerative practitioner. My superpower is to orchestrate and conduct large teams in ‘surfing emergence.’ (managing complexity). My background: an architect, planner, engineer, and developer. I’ve been involved in the green building and ecological design space for 40 years plus.

Jim Newman

I live and work in Cambridge, MA. I am a father, grandfather, and husband, as well as a thinker and doer. One of my superpowers is communication. Not in the sense of being a communications professional, but in the sense of being able to listen and hear and communicate in ways that work for lots of people and other animals.

Yale University School of Architecture

Signe Ferguson

I’m Signe (pronounced cig-knee). I’ve got a background in art and am currently finishing a masters in architecture. I center my work around living memorials and regenerative spaces and am interested in living with our natural spaces as an extension of my own skin.

Katherine Warren

My name is Katie. I am from Maine and am currently based out of Portland. I love the sea! I have spent most of my life exploring and researching aquatic environments. My superpower is my endless curiosity which allows me to gather large amounts of information and form deep connections with people and the world around me.

Peter Mellgard

Peter Mellgard is a senior editor of Noema Magazine. He was an Arthur F. Burns Fellow on the foreign desk at Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany’s largest newspaper, in 2014. Before that, Mellgard was a staff writer at The American Interest and a research associate for Walter Russell Mead. He has also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Molly Brown

I’m deeply interested in the visual communication of geographic information, especially of complex and dynamic systems – including expressing human attachment to place. My work centers on reimagining place and carefully attending to the selection of specific narratives, handling uncertainty, and manifesting a visceral, evocative, ‘human-touch’ feeling to current data dense geographic information.

Working Group #4: Traditional Ecological Knowledge/Wisdom


Participants will contribute to a process of language and culture preservation and how native legends communicated through song and dance can become transformations systems.  


The WG will contribute to the documentation of place names in Casco Bay and contribute to a dual language of glossary of terms associated with seagrass meadows in Algonquian/Wabanaki language.


This WG will also have a major focus on the transformations systems associated with traditional ecological knowledge & wisdom inspiring justice, reconciliation and stewardship across a bioregion. 

Team Preparing for Working Group #4

This WG will be facilitated by Dwayne Tomah – Language Keeper for the Passamaquoddy People.

Group Facilitator

Dwayne Tomah

I am the Language Keeper, and teacher of the Passamaquoddy language and culture and youngest fluent speaker of the Passamaquoddy Tribe. My life has been dedicated to working on the language and culture preservation, he has edited the Passamaquoddy dictionary and worked to help create the Apple ~ Passamaquoddy Language App. He shares Native legends through song and dance.

Tyanne Bennalie

Originally, from the State of New Mexico and a high desert ecosystem. I have always been drawn to the water; interestingly enough my clan is Tó’áhani translates as “Edge of the Water” therefore, I am drawn to the water. I very interested in how TEK & policy intersects. I have worked directly on tribal reservations, including The Navajo Nation, New Mexican Pueblo Villages, and Rural Alaskan Villages.

Northeastern University master’s Intern

Sydney Hay

I’m a master’s student of Marine Biology at Northeastern University with a passion for food and environmental justice. I have a basic understanding of American food systems and have experience assisting communities in combatting the aspects of food injustice that affect them. However, my academic expertise is more rooted in marine science.

Northeastern University Capstone Student Environmental Science
American Sign Language minor

Christina Lau

Hello everyone! I’m Christina Lau (she/her), originally from upstate New York near Albany/Schenectady. My environmental passions include sustainability and creating connections both between people and between people and the environment. On campus, I lead tours for prospective students, and I sing/dance/conduct musicians/play violin/generally have a blast in Northeastern’s musical theater club (NU Stage). Outside of school, I love to cook, bake, play tennis, swim, and do crossword puzzles with friends.

Northeastern University Capstone Student
Environmental Studies and International Affairs

Arielle Lee

Hi! My name is Arielle Lee. I’m from Lexington, MA, but I spent three years living in Hong Kong. Through my co-ops, I have gained experience in climate justice and wastewater compliance. I have also had the opportunity to learn ArcGIS and QGIS through some of my courses. I look forward to applying my knowledge and skills throughout this project, and to what I will learn from this! In my spare time, I enjoy baking, going to the gym, and spending time with my friends.

Northeastern University
Environmental & Sustainability Science; Conservation, Restoration, & Management concentration

Catherine Hayden

I’m Catherine Hayden (she/her) and I’m thrilled to be working with Team Zostera and can’t wait to learn about and work with the Indigenous communities of the area. Outside of the environmental realm, I love to do West Coast Swing dancing and join my friends at Philosophy Club. On the weekends, you can find me watching a 90s movie or working away at my ever-growing To Be Read list.

Working Group #5: Strategy For Seagrass Conservation


Participants will learn why conservation of seagrass meadows are an ideal bioregional focus as they contribute to the development of Team Zostera, a new community-based seagrass conservation and stewardship effort across the Casco Bay Bioregion.  


The WG will contribute to shaping strategy for outreach, brand identity, and transformative products and experiences that both engage and inspire stewardship action. 


This WG will also have a major focus on the transformations systems associated with seagrass conservation in coastal bioregions and why this work is essential in the Anthropocene.

Team Preparing for Working Group #5

 This WG will be facilitated by Jon Betz – Creative Expert in Costal Stewardship Including Documentary, Commercial, Political and Branded Cinematography.

Group Facilitator

Jon Betz

I am a marine conservation documentary film director and cinematographer, avid year-round Maine diver and citizen scientist. I have filmed wildlife and documentary sequences both topside and underwater for National Geographic and others in 26 countries since 2010. I specialize in mission-driven work that has a social, environmental or political message.

Duke University Masters Student in Environmental Management

Rachel Pike

I’m originally from Los Angeles, California. My superpower is bringing energy and life to the groups I am in. I love to laugh and sharing laughter with others is one of my favorite things in this world. I also love to be outside and spend my summers leading backpacking trips with NOLS.

Duke University Masters Student in Environmental Management

Adrienne Rodriguez

I am a VERY GOOD listener. I’m also very good at making nuanced connections regarding how everything is synergistically interconnected (that may not be obvious to all off hand). I’m good at understanding the “bigger picture” and WHY all of this matters. I have superior people skills and work very well on teams.

Northeastern University Capstone Chemistry and Environmental Science, Sustainable Business Practices minor

Mia Hedengren

My name is Mia Hedengren, I am 21 years old, originally from New Jersey. I studied abroad at the American College of Thessaloniki in Greece in the Fall of 2019 and will be studying abroad again this summer in Denmark. I’ve completed two co-ops thus far: the first as a Research Assistant in the Stubbins Environmental Chemistry Lab on Northeastern’s campus where I researched Black Carbon in aquatic ecosystems. For my second co-op, I worked in R&D on the Arthroscopic Equipment team at the medical devices company of Johnson & Johnson.

Northeastern University Capstone Environmental Science and Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering minor

Alina Moreno

Hi everyone! I’m originally from Chicago and have been living in Boston for the past five years. I’ve previously had two amazing co-op experiences at BlueWave Solar which is a Boston based company specializing in solar project development. I’m interested in pursuing a career that involves sustainable urban planning, planting design, or regenerative agriculture.

Northeastern University Capstone Environmental Science,

Lauren Smith

Hi! My name is Lauren Smith. I grew up in California, with a love of the beach, the ocean, and the “natural” world instilled in me by frequent visits to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It remains, to this day, my favorite place in the world. Experience in this field includes cephalopod husbandry and leading educational tours for the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA; penguin husbandry and giving “Penguin Talks” at the New England Aquarium; and participating in Northeastern University’s Three Seas Program.

University of New England Intern: Marine Affairs, Political Science & Climate Change Studies

Sophie Piette

My name is Sophie and I am a rising senior at the University of New England. I grew up in Rhode Island, and have spent all of my free time in or around the water, either at the beach or swimming competitively. My superpower is being able to juggle a lot of tasks and roles, as long as I am passionate about them. My goal is to attend law school and work in marine & environmental policy!

Working Group #6: Bioregional Digital Twin


As conservation science becomes more integrative, collaborative, and cross-disciplinary a transformation system is emerging as part of the digital revolution. 


The WG will explore the potential of bioregional digital twins to better see, connect and amplify transformation across a bioregion. Our work will focus on seagrass meadows in Casco Bay and how to inspire stewardship action.


The WG will be among the first in the world to explore integration of big data, user interface, cinematic ‘Triple-A’ videogame quality, rich living 3D maps where every piece of knowledge about the place and its entities is holistically embodied or accessible to the explorer. 

Team Preparing for Working Group #6

This WG will be facilitated by Glenn Page – Creative Expert of Digital Twins that Inspire Stewardship Action. 

Working Group Facilitator

Glenn Page

For over 40 years, I have been working on creating pathways to place-based transformation of our coasts/oceans/watersheds that integrate numerous social and ecological issues, working at the interface of science, policy and practice.  Learning how to “Navigate in the Anthropocene” as I’m leading a team of interdisciplinary experts who brings innovation, evaluation and systems thinking to complex, messy, cross-scale, wicked challenges of our time.

Northeastern University Capstone Student Chemistry and Environmental Science,
Political Science minor

Akshaya Venkateshwaran

Akshaya is interested in research on sustainable practices and how this can be translated into policy. Her coursework has focused on biogeochemical cycles and how humans interact with these cycles and the environment. She previously worked in Pharmacovigilance at Acceleron Pharma and in Sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety at Collins Aerospace. She is also the co-founder and COO of a non-profit called Ladki Love and works with a team to raise funds for underprivileged girls in India.

Northeastern University Capstone Student Environmental and Sustainability Studies,
Earth, Oceans, and Environmental Change Concentration

Chris Lee

My previous experience involved in the education and lab field in both indoor and outdoor environments. I have been on Co-Ops and internships ranging from the Northeastern Chemistry Labs to the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery. My superability is being able to craft and catch fish using the fly fishing method. My favorite hobbies include composting, 3D printing nick-knacks, chess, fishing, and running.

Master Student in Norway in Data science – Geoinformatics

Sigrid Knag

I love data, I’m curious about how the world functions and WHY. My main passions are animal welfare, bioregionalism and stewardship, indigenous wisdom and wisdom in general. How can we cultivate wisdom and love? My strengths: slow thinking, collaborative, positive energy and enthusiasm!

Northeastern University Capstone Student
Environmental Sustainability

Melanie Guzman

Hey, my name is Melanie Guzman. I was born in Miami, Florida, naturally I grew up learning about the beauty of our environment. Coming from a low-income community I was exposed to the duality of being low-income and middle/high income as I went to an affluent high school.

Emi Gaal

My name is Emi, I live in Portland, ME! I’m passionate about seeing a regenerative future where people and environment can co-exist symbiotically. I’m also passionate about exploring the natural world, whether that’s through hiking and biking or through a lens and a paintbrush.

Simon Divecha

My core work is around integral sustainability. That includes the perspective taking abilities and structures we can use to help ourselves generate emergent solutions and create outcomes that are not simple linear additions to our capabilities. I will be active in the on-line portion and representing a rural perspective from living in remote Scottish Island Communities.

Max Zahniser

Some “regenerates” turn reasonable cautions about technology and mechanical thinking into absolute statements that forever downgrade their importance, rather than putting these non-living (arguably) aspects of reality in their place, in service to Life, or possibly even seeing how they may reflect and/or become truly alive with our conscious effort.

Sam Matey

I’m an early career environmental scientist, climate journalist, and geospatial data analyst. I recently completed a master’s in advanced GIS Technologies from UCLA (in the first graduating class of the UCLA MAGIST program). Currently working part-time for the Maine Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future and writing The Weekly Anthropocene.