Energy and Class Justice - Intergenerational Panel

Thursday, January 21, 2021
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Zoom, Link Provided Later, After Registration

Cost: Free

In January, we are focusing on the intersection between energy and class justice. Come hear a group of powerful intergenerational leaders share their work and the ways they think about systems change. This event is open for all ages to attend! High schoolers, middle schoolers and younger students that are passionate about this topic are very welcome to register and participate. Oh, and we guess adults are ok too. :)

Can't attend the live event but want to submit a question for the panelists and then watch the recording? Submit your question here:

Panelists: (stay tuned for more speakers to be added to this panel)

Ashley Funk
Executive Director, Mountain Watershed Association

Ashley is the Executive Director, and former Community Organizer, at Mountain Watershed Association. In her role, she supports predominantly rural communities in and near the Youghiogheny River Watershed in defending and restoring their access to clean air, pure water, and a healthy environment. She has worked on a range of campaigns, such as efforts to slow or stop the development of new coal mines, fracking waste impoundments, and gas-fired power plants. Her experiences growing up and currently living in communities impacted by fossil fuel extraction motivate her work. Before her time with MWA, she earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies from Wellesley College and a B.S. in Design Engineering from Olin College of Engineering. She also worked with Our Children’s Trust as the lead plaintiff on legal action against the state of Pennsylvania for not taking adequate means to address climate change. Her work has always been dedicated to uplifting and investing in rural communities, especially those in Southwestern Pennsylvania and the greater Appalachian region.

Michael Bagdes-Canning
Marcellus Outreach Butler, Planning Group
Cherry Valley Borough Council, Vice President
Better Path Coalition, Co-founder
PA Poor People’s Campaign, Coordinating Committee
Beyond Extreme Energy

Michael Bagdes-Canning is, first and foremost, husband (Karen, 42 years), father, and grandfather. He is a retired teacher; he spent 36 years in the classroom. He was President, Vice President, and building representative of his union local. He has held elective office since 1989, serving on the Cherry Valley Borough Council. He is currently Vice President. For the past 10 years, he has been involved as a frontline organizer in the climate and anti-fracking fight. He serves on the Planning Group of Marcellus Outreach Butler (a local anti-fracking group) and the Better Path Coalition (he is one of the founders). He has also served on the Coordinating Committee of the PA Poor People’s Campaign (statewide) and works with Beyond Extreme Energy (national). Michael has planned and organized direct action campaigns locally, state-wide, and nationally – including multi-day marches and bike rides, blockades, disruptions.

Masoud Sayles
Grounded Strategies, Project Manager

Masoud is a lifelong resident of the Pittsburgh Area. A graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Geobiology, Masoud passionately pursues his interest in permaculture design. Prior to joining Grounded, Masoud worked joyfully alongside gardeners at his local community garden, as well as finding employment propagating plants for a local neighborhood nursery. During this time, he worked alongside members of his community in creating various gardens and on trash cleanups, engendering within him an interest in both social and environmental justice. At Grounded Strategies, he is thrilled to be a part of a group that proliferates green spaces throughout Allegheny County. While on staff at Grounded, Masoud also obtained Sustainable Landcare Accreditation.

Henry McKay
PA Program Director, Solar United Neighbors

Henry’s passion is to build a movement of empowered – and solar-powered – advocates across Pennsylvania to fight for a cleaner and fairer energy system. Through earlier positions at the Institute for Sustainable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, he has spent the better part of a decade working to make American communities more sustainable, more resilient, and more equitable by supporting local leaders and elevating good ideas. Henry is a NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate™? and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from Oberlin College. Henry lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Sarah, and sons, Jesse and Robin.

NaTisha Washington
Environmental Justice Organizer, OnePA

NaTisha Washington is currently the Environmental Justice Organizer at One Pennsylvania where she hopes to assist more communities with their environmental injustices and needs. Being a Pittsburgh native she’s always had the goal of improving the environment of her city and cities like it through planning and hands on work. After graduating from Wilkinsburg High school, she went to study Landscape Contracting Design at the Pennsylvania State University where she received her bachelors in Horticulture. Afterwards she then went on to become a certified Master Gardener through the Penn State Extension in Pittsburgh. Her community non-profit work started at Operation Better Block (OBB) where she put all her efforts into planning out and improving the green spaces in Homewood with OBB’s Junior Green Corp.

Lois Bower-Bjornson
Frackland Tours
SW PA field organizer, Clean Air Council

Lois Bower- Bjornson is the mother of 4 children: 3 boys and a girl. She grew up in coal county along the Monongahela river. She returned to southwestern Pennsylvania to raise her children. Lois began her work in front line communities as she noticed the wrongs that communities like her were expected to endure. Lois and her family live in Washington County, the most heavily fracked county in Pennsylvania. She is the southwestern Pennsylvania field organizer with Clean Air Council and a board member with the Center for Coalfield Justice. Lois implemented Frackland tours to give people a first hand account of what it is like to live and grow up with oil and gas in your backyard. Lois has held tours for numerous elected officials both on the state and local level, schools, the Unitarian universal church, the United Methodist women, and numerous reporters from local, state, national and international levels. In addition, Lois owns and operates 2 micro buisnes’s B&B Performing Arts center and Bower Services a residential cleaning service.

Kylan Bjornson
11th grader, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School

The Bjornson children live 40 minutes south of Pittsburgh in the most heavily fracked county in Pennsylvania. Washington County. All of them have experienced health impacts from fracking and the infrastructure near their home.

Kylan is 16 and a junior and attends Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland Pennsylvania where he studies media. Kylan is an avid musician and enjoys all things technology. Kylan is a survivalist and is learning how to survive in the woods with only and ax and the ability to make his own shelter, fire and food. Kylan recently purchased his first car and passing his drivers test he can now drive his crown victorian detectives car.

Odessa Bjornson
9th grader, Cannon McMillion High School

The Bjornson children live 40 minutes south of Pittsburgh in the most heavily fracked county in Pennsylvania. Washington County. All of them have experienced health impacts from fracking and the infrastructure near their home.

Odessa is a 6th grader in the Cannon McMillion school district. She is 11 years old. Odessa is a talented dancer, dancing 3 days a week with B&B Performing Arts Cener and Moschetta’s. Odessa has recently added gymnastics to her list of accomplishments. She also enjoys the piano and playing games with her brother and cousins.

Gunnar Bjornson
6th grader, Cannon McMillion School District

The Bjornson children live 40 minutes south of Pittsburgh in the most heavily fracked county in Pennsylvania. Washington County. All of them have experienced health impacts from fracking and the infrastructure near their home.

Gunnar is 14 years old and a freshman at Cannon McMillion high school. Gunnar enjoys playing video games mainly fort night, and the legend of Zelda. Gunnar enjoys working with his dad at HEAR corp. He helps build, repair and work shows. Gunnar also likes to spend time with his sister and cousins.


Fee : Free

Registration has closed. Please contact Kelly Henderson at for additional information.


Zoom, Link Provided Later, After Registration

Contact Information

Kelly Henderson