Island Green Living Association has announced the recent election of two new board members. Dawn Henry Esq., former Commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) and head environmental steward for the territory, and Donald Schnell, a committed environmentalist, accomplished educator, business owner and artist on St. John, have joined the board. Both individuals bring a wealth of experience and are deeply committed to environmental issues in the U.S. Virgin Islands and beyond.
“Dawn worked closely with us on legislation including the debris management plan to ‘Ban the Burn’ as well as bans of plastic bags, straws, etc. Her knowledge is deep and her passion is genuine. Donald is an unparalleled force for grassroots sustainability and has been pivotal in rallying like-minded community leaders and fundraising. He walks the talk, crushing glass for his artwork, composting, etc.,” said Harith Wickrema, Island Green Living president.
“Given their esteemed accomplishments, Dawn and Donald are sure to elevate Island Green Living even further as we near our 20-year milestone. But in order for us to continue to make a difference in our community and beyond, it is imperative that we have funding to support our environmental initiatives,” he said.
The U.S. Virgin Islands nonprofit, which has been a trailblazer in advancing sustainability, has announced that an anonymous board member will match up to $100K donated by Dec. 31 during a fundraising drive leading up to the organization’s 20-year anniversary. The funds are crucial as Island Green continues its Ocean-Bound Plastics Recycling Program and launches an awareness campaign to ensure visitors and those in the community understand the environmental dangers of toxic sunscreen and safe alternatives.
Programs such as aluminum recycling, the Resource Depot reuse store, food security initiatives, environmental advocacy, etc. are also vital to the community.
Born in the USVI, Dawn Henry received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma School of Law and returned home, where she practiced environmental law for over 18 years. As DPNR Commissioner, one of her primary responsibilities was serving as an environmental steward for the territory, including the Division of Environmental Protection, Coastal Zone Management, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
She championed legislation to Ban the Burn of green debris following the devastating 2017 hurricanes as well as the plastic bag ban in the territory, among other important environmental achievements. She currently serves as Senior Advisor to the nonprofit Beyond Plastics.
An artist, business owner and educator, Donald Schnell is deeply committed to preserving the environment in the USVI. He is one of the founders of Gifft Hill School and the Donald Schnell Studio has been a fixture for 48 years.
He is dedicated to providing jobs in the community and also participates in the senatorial summer youth program. He is a vocal proponent of recycling and encourages guests of his Artistic Villas to keep their stay “plastic free,” including supplying triple-filtered drinking water to discourage plastic water bottles.
Composting is promoted through the provision of bins for organic food scraps. Glass is collected from guests as well as local restaurants for Schnell’s artwork, which he crushes himself. He and his wife Deborah are environmental advocates and champion the cause through their philanthropy, sharing their intellectual capital and their day-to-day practices.
Other board members include Harith Wickrema (president), Curtis Penn (treasurer), Akhil Deshwal (secretary), Trey Goldsmith (executive committee), Brad Camrud, Rob Crane, Jim Dobrowolski, Dr. Greg Guannel and Dr. David Hall.
Established in 2004, Island Green Living Association is a registered not for profit organization on St. John dedicated to sustainability throughout the USVI. Donations can be made by visiting www.islandgreenliving.org/donate/. For more information, visit www.islandgreenliving.org.