Skip to main content
Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change

Our Team

We are climate resilience practitioners, facilitators, and process innovators who believe that addressing the global climate crisis requires us to focus on our strengths and work collaboratively to meet the scale of the problem.

The Geos Institute team consists of the Board of Directors, Core Staff as well as a network of Collaborators & Partners. Our Core Staff are responsible for maintaining the legal, financial, operational, and programmatic work of the organization. Our Collaborators & Partners provide additional expertise and capacity when needed and help advance the work of the Geos Institute.

Core Staff

Collaborators & Partners

All our Collaborators & Partners are committed to our approach and organizational values.
Kristen West Fisher, MPA
Kristen has over thirty years working for state agencies and nonprofit organizations. She has a solid track record of quickly starting new nonprofits and programs, grant writing and financial development and building long lasting collaboratives.
Pam Emerson
Pam Emerson is an urban ecological designer, community builder, and cultural creative with technical expertise in nature-based water resilience infrastructure. Her work focuses on the next-system economic, organizational, and governance cultures and structures needed to support transformative, community-led just transition solutions at scale. Pam has worked for over 25 years inside Federal and local government institutions, at the nexus of environmental policy and program design, racial equity and economic justice, and emergent leadership. On a year-long sabbatical in 2018, she studied how the dynamics of adult development map onto our large collective efforts for human and ecological flourishing. Pam now integrates a range of practices into her organizational coaching and group facilitation that support individuals and teams to source their work from presence, connection, and love. She has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1998 and over that time has also served in a range of community roles within the immigrant rights, women’s rights, and racial justice movements, including guiding antiracism work with white people. Pam holds a BS in Biology/Genetics and a MA in Science Education from Cornell University as well as a MLA in Urban Ecological Design from the University of Washington and a post-graduate certificate in Integral Theory from Pacific Integral. In her spare time, Pam enjoys hiking in the mountains and making poems, good mischief, and ceramic pots.
Darla Palmer-Ellingson
When not outdoors exploring the Pacific Northwest, Darla spent her early career working in network and community television, from producer and director roles to station manager. Landing on Maui as a young adult, she extended her passion for the outdoor environment by learning to sail and scuba dive, studying and publishing articles about the area’s history and culture. Darla has held notable business roles, including consulting on and managing several significant startups, providing change management services and company revitalization projects in Hawaii and U.S. mainland. She often serves as the communications lead in the private and nonprofit sectors, with a strong drive to build collaboration between communities, business and government. With a passion to support climate change solutions, she completed an intensive Climate Reality Leadership Training with former Vice President Al Gore; coordinated communications for the County of Maui’s draft Climate Action and Resiliency plan; and produced a statewide public affairs radio program on environmental topics for 5 years. Darla holds degrees in media production and engineering, has B.A. in Professional Communications with an Environmental Studies emphasis, and is currently seeking an M.A. in Environmental Sustainability. She is an experienced federal, state and local grant writer. Darla also owns a digital marketing company, designing websites and providing social media content and strategy. She lives with her husband and Labrador retriever on a small farm on the edge of the rainforest in Haiku, Maui, Hawaii.
Climate Ready America – National Strategy Team

The National Strategy Team guides the development of the Climate Ready America system by making decisions and solving problems within the system that are national or system-wide in nature. It is growing and will be made up of experts in climate adaptation, mitigation, and environmental justice. These members will share a commitment to the 10 guiding principles for a nationwide system of climate services and the Living System organizational management model. Team members work closely with the Geos Institute board and staff to support the ongoing evolution of the Climate Ready America system.

  • Lola Schoenrich, Vice President, Great Plains Institute
  • Nikki Cooley, Co-Manager of Tribal Climate Change Program, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
  • Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist & Executive Director, EcoAdapt
  • Glynis Lough – Director, Science for Climate Action Network, Aspen Global Change Institute
  • Linda Langston, Former Lynn County Commissioner, Former President of National Association of Counties, and Chair of the Geos Institute Board of Directors
  • Andrea Webster, Resilience Policy Advisor, North Carolina Office of Recovery & Resiliency, Dept of Public Safety and Geos Institute Board of Directors
  • Micah Hahn, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor Environmental Health, Institute of Circumpolar Health Studies, University of Alaska-Anchorage and Geos Institute Board of Directors

Learn more about Climate Ready America

Climate Ready America – Pilot State Partners

We have selected five states or statewide organizations to pilot Climate Innovation Centers and are developing a single, nationwide Support Team to assist those pilots. This first pilot phase will show proof of concept and provide the learning necessary to determine how states with different circumstances can be served by the same system. We are testing five viable pathways to building a Climate Innovation Center, based on five different hosting bodies:

  • State government
  • Academic entity
  • Cooperative extension
  • Statewide nonprofit
  • Operational structure involving a nonprofit partnering with regional planning commissions

These pathways will show us how Climate Innovation Centers can be built and operated under widely varying state circumstances.

Learn more about Climate Ready America