Tag Archives | Blue Mind

On Emotion: The Green & Healthy Schools Academy

In November, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols (“J”) traveled to Pittsburgh from California’s slow coast to present at GBA’s monthly Inspire Speakers Series. The following day, he joined participants of our School Sustainability Culture Program (a program of the Green & Healthy Schools Academy) to discuss how K-12 educators, administrators, and facility managers could use his research to […]

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What I Learned at the Inspire Speakers Series

How many of us have experienced peacefulness and relaxation, or maybe even a spiritual connection when we are near water? I am a scientist by training, but my passion is water…  I’m inspired by its beauty, stimulated by its playfulness and energy, and calmed and soothed by its healing forces.  So I was captivated by […]

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Inspire Speakers Series Presents: Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, Lisa Schroeder, and Dr. Molly Mehling

Register Now Check Out the Book Club

Online registration closes at 2:00 p.m. on November 13. General admission is available when doors open at 5:00 p.m.


J NicholsDr. Wallace “J” Nichols came to fame when he tagged a sea turtle (affectionately called Adelita by his research team) with a GPS transponder and published her coordinates online as she made the long journey across the Pacific Ocean to Japan.  Compared to Adelita’s journey, Nichols’ professional career has been anything but direct, but one constant for Nichols is his love of the outdoors; specifically, his love of water.  Nichols became enthralled by nature at an early age, and he earned his PhD in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources.  Yet Nichols’ recent work has made him a pioneer in the green world, combining environmental activism with neuroscience in a field he calls “neuroconservation,” which explores the effect of nature on the human mind.  Central to neuroconservation is Nichols’ belief that environmental activism would be most effective if people could draw connections between two great forces: the ocean and the human mind.

Nichols is a gripping speaker (see his TEDtalk here) and a New York Times best-selling author.

Schroeder bio photo

Photo credit: Ray Miles

Lisa Millspaugh Schroeder is President and Chief Executive Officer of Riverlife: a non-profit organization with the mission to reclaim, restore, and promote Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.  Schroeder has been a featured speaker at international conferences in Lisbon, Naples, and Toronto, advocating for the power of sustainable waterfront development to transform cities.  She was awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 2012 and was recognized as an Outstanding Woman in Business by the Pittsburgh Business Times (2011).  Growing up in Baltimore, Lisa developed a deep love for cities and has worked throughout her career to improve the quality of life through urban planning, preservation and environmental conservation, holding positions at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York City Landmarks Commission, the Real Estate Services Group, and Maine Preservation.


Our emcee for the evening will be Dr. Molly Mehling from Chatham University.  She will provide an overview of water in our region, introduce the speakers, and facilitate Q&A.

Mehling - Bio PhotoDr. Molly Mehling grew up on Ohio River just downstream from Pittsburgh. As child of the Appalachian hills, she witnessed the natural beauty of the region and its struggle to transform beyond an industrial identity. Mehling is now an aquatic and landscape research ecologist working to develop and implement well-designed, community-engaged projects that improve the ecosystem of our city for all of its inhabitants. She merges scientific research with visual arts to improve our intertwined land and water systems. Mehling is a professor in the Falk School of Sustainability at Chatham University. She serves on many community organizations and offers workshops for using the visual arts in science and sustainability.

More about Dr. Wallace J Nichols:

  • Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences, where he collaborates with and advises graduate and undergraduate students in environmental studies and marine biology programs around the country.
  • Crowdsources his work as an independent scientist through the LiVBLUE Angels initiative.
  • Started the Blue Marbles Project, which encourages people to give an environmental activist or nature lover a blue marble as a token of thanks for “loving our little blue planet”.
  • Co-founded Billion Baby Turtles, which supports sea turtle conservation efforts in Latin America by paying local workers to patrol beaches and protect endangered turtle nests.

Awards & Recognitions

  • Recipient, University of Arizona’s 2014 Global Achievement Award
  • Recipient, honorary doctorate in science, DePauw University (watch his 2010 commencement address here)
  • Marshall Fellowship and Fulbright Fellowship from the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources


GBCI CMP AIA logo This event is approved for 2.0 GBCI CEUs and 2.0 AIA HSW hours. Partnering with USGBC and AIA, GBA makes it easy for our members to report continuing education credits. Please provide your GBCI and/or AIA number so we can auto-report your credits (for applicable events).  Non-members can still earn continuing education credits but will need to self-report their GBCI CEUs.


We’d like to thank our Inspire Speakers Series Co-Presenting Partners:

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Thanks also to our Inspire Speakers Series Media Partners:

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Is this event out of your price range? We want this incredibly inspiring evening with Dr. Nichols to be accessible to everyone in our community.  If you find the $20 rate to be prohibitive, please email Jenna Cramer to discuss your options.

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The Inspire Speakers Series Book Club: Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols

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The registration gets you your very own copy of the book Blue Mind and admission into the Book Club!  Don’t forget to register for the Inspire Speakers Series event on November 13th!

Looking for some extra insight and inspiration?  Wish you could learn more about our incredible Inspire Speakers Series national guests before each lecture?  Eager for another opportunity to connect with GBA’s staff and partners?  Here’s your chance!  GBA’s Anna Siefken and Leslie Montgomery will host this edition of our Inspire Speakers Series Book Club where we can all take a deep dive into the theories, perspectives, and expertise of Dr. Wallace J. Nichols.

We’ll read Wallace J. Nichols’ book: Blue Mind: The Surprising Science that Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

Here’s how the Book Club works:

  • When you register for this event, it includes the purchase of your very own book.
  • Pick up your book either at GBA’s offices or at the October 9th edition of our Inspire Speakers Series event (there will be a table with books on display).
  • Read the book!  GBA will provide a reading guide for all participants.
  • Come to the book club on November 6th, where we’ll enjoy inspiring conversation and pot-luck style fare and drinks.  We’ll have some extra wine on hand (it is a book club after all!).  As a special treat, we’ll also get to Skype with the author himself!!
  • Finally, join us at the Inspire Speakers Series event on November 13th where we’ll all hear first-hand from Wallace J. Nichols.  You can even get your copy of the book signed after the lecture!

This book club is hosted at Anna Siefken’s house, which was recently featured in Mt. Lebanon Magazine and on the Mt. Lebanon Kitchen Tour.  You will get to see her sustainably-designed kitchen first-hand!

If you cannot make the November 6th gathering, join the Book Club gathering on Monday, October 27th from 4:30 – 6:30 at Waldorf School of Pittsburgh in the Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh.  This event will include a LIVE Skype session with the author.  Participants are encouraged to read the first three chapters of the book before the event.  Learn more and register.

More About this Book:

  • Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? In Blue Mind, Nichols revolutionizes how we think about these questions, revealing the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water.
  • Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, Nichols shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.
  • Blue Mind not only illustrates the crucial importance of our connection to water-it provides a paradigm shifting “blueprint” for a better life.
  • Check out Wallace J. Nichols’ online book club for Blue Mind here.
  • Read this book review in the Washington Post and learn more about the book here.

Click here to learn more about Wallace J. Nichols and his upcoming lecture on November 13th. 

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