Board of Directors
Laura Turner Seydel, Chairperson
Philanthropist & Volunteer
Delta Air Lines
Sustainability Manager, Gulfstream Aerospace
Global Director of Sustainable Packaging, The Coca-Cola Company
Director of Conservation, The Nature Conservancy of GA
On Air Host, EcoSense for Living
Co-Founder, Laurel Springs School
CEO, Ted’s Montana Grill
CEO, Pratt Industries
Founder, Captain Planet Foundation
Executive Producer, Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Executive Producer, Barbara Pyle Productions
Founder, Blue Sky Productions
Turner Enterprises, Inc.
Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center
Former Undersecretary, US Department of Agriculture’s
Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Agency
Laura Turner Seydel
With an unrelenting passion, Laura plays an integral role in Atlanta’s environmental movement and spearheads community initiatives to spread the environmental message. In 1993, she and her husband, Rutherford, co-founded the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper to secure measurable improvements in the health and future of the river. In 2004, she helped found Mothers & Others for Clean Air to raise awareness of the undeniable connection between asthma and air pollution. Laura is also chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation, chair of Atlanta’s Zero Waste Zone, an active board member of many organizations including Earth Share of Georgia, Nature Conservancy of Georgia, League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife, and serves as Trustee to the Turner Foundation and Jane Smith Turner Foundation, whose funding priorities include the arts, children’s health, and the environment.
For more information about Laura Turner Seydel, visit LauraSeydel.com.
Most recently, Leesa served as the Executive Director for the U.S. Green Building Council – Georgia Chapter, where her primary responsibility was growing the Chapter’s role as a leading educator and advocate for sustainable communities, green jobs and green building. Under her leadership, USGBC-Georgia grew to five active Branches in Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Savannah; and launched the High Performance, Healthy Schools program in partnership with the Office of the Lt. Governor and other partners.
Leesa’s other experiences include serving as the National Director of Field Marketing for Wild Oats Markets Inc., a $1 billion natural & organic retailer [bought by Whole Foods in 2007], and as an independent grant writing consultant for non-profit organizations. Carter also worked extensively with Actor’s Express in Atlanta, served on selection committees for the Atlanta Arts Festival and Bureau of Cultural Affairs, and worked on production and special events the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG).
She currently serves on the Steering Committees for Atlanta Recycles, will.i.am’s Ekocycle Project with Coca-Cola, Turner Foundation’s Green Schools Roundtable, kids vs. global warming and the iMatter Campaign, and on the Advisory Board for This American Land on PBS. She recently graduated from the 2012 Class at the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership.
Leesa graduated cum laude with a BA in Communications from Wake Forest University where she was team captain of the women’s basketball team and Academic All-American for two years.
Prior to joining CPF, Becca lived in New York City and worked in the Development Office at The Rockefeller University (RU), a world-renowned center for research and education in biomedical science, chemistry, bioinformatics and physics. While at RU, she worked with the Rockefeller University Council, an international advisory group of leaders in philanthropy, business, education, law, and finance, to coordinate Annual Fund solicitations and cultivate new Council prospects.
While in Atlanta, Becca has volunteered with Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta [to assist in planning The Enlightenment Luncheon Series], Chayil, Inc. [a non-profit providing recovery services and shelter for victims of domestic violence], and Hannah’s Heart [a non-profit providing humanitarian aid to women and children following natural disasters].
Becca graduated with a BA in International Studies and Spanish and a Certification in Peace & Justice Studies from Fordham University. While at Fordham, she attended La Universidad de Granada in Granada, Spain where she studied the life and literature of Federico García Lorca.
Programs and Grants Manager
Kathy was formerly the Education and Program Director with the U.S. Green Building Council – Georgia Chapter. She managed education events and membership for five branches in Athens, Atlanta, Savannah, Central Georgia and Augusta. Her responsibilities included website and database management. Kathy maintained the organizations event calendar, arranged educational events within USBGC-GA and in relation with other organizations including Southface and the Atlanta Better Building Challenge (Central Atlanta Progress). She also served on the Diversity Committee and the Education Committee with the USGBC-GA.
Kathy’s other experience includes serving as a Senior Auditor with UCR, Inc. and 12 years as Operations Manager for Diversified Mortgage and Realty and several other smaller corporations owned by the same entity. She also has special events experience with the King Tut, America I Am, and Princess Diana exhibits at the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center.
Kyla Van Deusen
Learning Gardens Program Manager
Kyla Van Deusen’s dedication to growing food in the city has its roots in a childhood spent in the heart of Atlanta punctuated by summers at farm camp. Since receiving a Master’s in Agriculture from U. Minnesota in 2001, Kyla has been exploring ways to bring agriculture alive in the city. From running garden-based youth programs to managing school and community gardens to raising backyard goats and chickens, Kyla is always creating opportunities for people to actively connect to their food system.
As Youth Programs Manager for the Wylde Center (formerly Oakhurst Community Garden Project), Kyla provided year-round garden-based education programming for youth ages 2-21 in the city of Decatur. With the Southeastern Horticultural Society, Kyla managed a school and community garden in the Edgewood neighborhood of Atlanta as the Community Environmental Educator. These gardens served as home base for the summer Farm Crew program, which hired neighborhood youth to manage the gardens, sell produce at the local farmers market and neighborhood restaurants, and get basic job skills training.
Kyla also directed the School Gardens Division of Sustenance Design, Atlanta’s first edible landscape design company. As a member of the Atlanta Local Food Initiative’s steering committee since 2006, Kyla has been involved in planning two ALFI summits as well as drafting the ALFI’s Plan for Atlanta’s Sustainable Food Future. Kyla has led workshops and presentations on school and youth garden topics at venues including Georgia Organic’s Farm to School Summit, the Council of Outdoor Learning’s Outdoor Learning Symposium, and the American Community Gardening Association’s annual conference.
Director of Leadership Center
As Director of the Captain Planet Foundation’s Leadership Center, Karan’s mission is empowering teachers to engage their students in the sort of outdoor learning experiences that that inspire a lifelong love of nature and motivate children to take care of the Earth. To provide the teachers with the most useful tools and strategies, she draws as much on lessons learned from inspirational educators as her own experience. Before joining CPF, Karan was Executive Director of Greater Atlanta Community Corps (GACC), which she founded and grew to a $1 million non-profit organization over ten years, with corporate contributions as well as state and federal grants. GACC gave young adults a chance to contribute a year of their lives to community service, by accomplishing highly-needed environmental stewardship projects.
Prior to starting GACC, Karan helped launch and manage the Texas Conservation Corps; acquired land and developed parks for the City of Houston, garnering and managing grants as well as bond funds; studied Natural Resource Management at University of Michigan; and taught profoundly disabled youth. Karan has collaborated with teachers to create field study kits for hands-on inquiry science; coordinated corporate and parent volunteers to build 14 outdoor learning spaces; generated community support to create a Discovery Lab, and provided technical assistance to more than 40 schools. She has also taught AP Environmental Science; edited and written exemplary k-12 environmental ed lessons for the Georgia Dept. of Education and several non-profit organizations; presented professional development workshops; and written articles on best practices in environmental education for journals, newsletters, and web sites. She currently coordinates the Council Of Outdoor Learning’s mini-grant program and reviews/edits STEM lesson submissions for an engineering education web site.