Patricia Siemen, OP, Esq., MPA, MA
Patricia Siemen is a Dominican Sister from Adrian, Michigan, and an attorney. She currently serves as the honored Director Emeritus of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and as the Prioress (President) of the Adrian Dominican Congregation in Adrian, Michigan.
Previous positions Sister Pat has held include director of the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College, engaging students and staff in programs and workshops in Earth Literacy; staff attorney for the Voting Section of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; and legal services attorney for migrant farm workers in South Florida.
Sister Pat has also served in community organizing with the African-American community in rural Tennessee, in parish ministry with the Latino community and elementary education. She served on the Adrian Dominican Sisters Congregational leadership team from 1988-98.
Sister Pat holds a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law, Boston; a Master in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin; and a Master in Culture and Spirituality from Holy Names University, Oakland, California. Her B.A. is in History and Political Science from Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan.
Sister Pat is a member of the Michigan and Florida Bars.
Judith Koons, Esq.
Advisory Board Chair
With a law degree from the University of Florida and a degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, Judy serves as a Professor at Barry University School of Law. She embraced Earth Jurisprudence in 2003 during a faculty workshop presented by Sr. Pat. Since then, Judy has assisted in the development of Earth Jurisprudence, both organizationally and academically.
Judy participated in the early days of organizing the Center for Earth Jurisprudence and served as the co-chair of the governing committee for the Center. On the academic front, she published the first law review article on Earth Jurisprudence, The Moral Value of Nature, in Pace Environmental Law Review, and has published three additional articles on Earth Jurisprudence, listed below.
Judy teaches Earth Jurisprudence and Environmental Justice as well as Professional Responsibility, Torts, Remedies, Florida Constitutional Law, International Legal Ethics, Jurisprudence, and Feminist Jurisprudence. Her publications include: Earth Jurisprudence: The Moral Value of Nature, 25 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 263 (2008); At the Tipping Point: Defining an Earth Jurisprudence for Social and Ecological Justice, 58 Loy. L. Rev. 349-90(2012); Earth Jurisprudence and the Story of Oil: Intergenerational Justice for the Post-Petroleum Period, 46 U.S.F. L. Rev. 93-138 (2011);What is Earth Jurisprudence?: Key Principles to Transform Law for the Health of the Planet, 18 Penn State Envtl. L. Rev. 47 (2009), excerpts reprinted in Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Peter Burdon ed., 2011).
Clay Henderson, Esq.
Clay Henderson fell in love with the St. Johns River and Florida’s springs as a freshman at Stetson in the 1970s, and over a long career as an environmental lawyer has been a zealous defender of Florida’s special places. Now, as the Executive Director of Stetson Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience, he continues to be one of Florida’s leading voices in environmental policy.
He sponsored or co-authored most of the natural resource protection provisions in the Florida Constitution, including Amendment - the largest voter-approved conservation funding initiative in our nation’s history - and the creation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He led development of nationally-recognized land conservation programs, including Volusia Forever (1986 and 2000), Florida Communities Trust (1990), Preservation 2000 (1991) and Florida Forever (1999), and has negotiated more than 300,000 acres of lands now part of national and state parks, forests, and wildlife refuges.
He was elected to two terms and served as Chair of the Volusia County Council. His work at the Institute focuses on land and water conservation and restoration research and policy development. Stetson has recognized his body of work with a Distinguished Alumni Award, and the George and Mary Hood Award for his commitment to Stetson University’s core values.
Jane Durocher, Esq.
A lawyer and Florida native, Jane’s interest lies in combining the humanities, the sciences, and the value of direct experience to encourage appreciation and protection of the natural world. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida, and a law degree at Barry University School of Law, Orlando, Florida, graduating as the valedictorian in May, 2008. A member of the Florida Bar, she served the Center for Earth Jurisprudence for eight years in various capacities, including Interim Director during Sister Patricia Siemen’s sabbatical.
Jane currently teaches Earth Jurisprudence and Environmental Ethics as an adjunct faculty member at the Barry Law School. Her interests include conservation issues affecting Florida waters and wildlife, particularly black bears.
She is one of a handful of people who have kayaked the entire 310 miles of the St. Johns River, and the only woman to complete the journey by through-paddle, from the headwaters near Vero Beach to the Atlantic Ocean at Mayport, east of Jacksonville, Florida.
Jim Draper grew up in Kosciusko, Mississippi, the geographical center of the state. His work, which includes drawing, painting, photography, video and writing, is informed by journeys into the wilds of Florida and Georgia. Draper earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Mississippi in 1974 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia at Athens in 1978. Based in Jacksonville, he is currently the Galleries Coordinator for the University of North Florida. His duties include curatorial responsibilities for the campus-based Gallery of Art and the UNF Gallery at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville. He is also responsible for the University’s permanent collection.
Draper’s work includes Full Immersion, a serial program that critically explores ways in which the natural order affects the structures and behaviors of the human experience. He is developing a site-specific installation and body of work entitled The Ditch, a visual reconciliation of the disturbed landscape. His latest exhibitions include his seminal work Feast of Flowers at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville, FL and Image Gathering + Disseminating the Natural Experience at Florida School of the Arts in Palatka, FL. Draper has taught drawing, painting and curatorial practices at University of North Florida, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Flagler College in St. Augustine. His work appears in hundreds of corporate and private collections.
Lucinda Faulkner Merritt is a writer, publicist and water advocate who grew up swimming in Florida's waters, where she developed a deep love of our freshwater springs. She has an academic background in anthropology (B.A., University of South Florida) and public administration (M.P.A., California State University-East Bay). Her professional experience includes work as a grant writer/manager for UC Berkeley, the Florida Park Service and Florida's Eden, and as a communications specialist for Santa Fe College. She serves as secretary of the Ichetucknee Alliance in North Florida, where she organizes the popular "Water Voices" free public educational programs. She also serves on the steering committee of the Floridians' Clean Water Declaration Campaign, a statewide effort, and writes press releases for the Fine Arts Department and Office for Advancement at Santa Fe College.
Josephine Balzac, Esq.
Josephine is admitted to the Florida Bar and the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida. She is a visiting Assistant Professor at Rollins College in the Department of Business and Social Entrepreneurship. She serves her community as the Chief Environmental Officer of the EarthWeb Foundation. Ms. Balzac previously worked as an Associate Attorney at an AV rated trial litigation firm and also worked for a food safety regulatory consulting group. Ms. Balzac graduated from Florida A&M University, College of Law as Valedictorian of her law school class.
After law school, she went on to earn her International Environmental LL.M. at The George Washington University Law School. While attending GWU Law she served as a Randolph C. Shaw Research Fellow for the Associate Dean of Environmental Studies and interned at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery in the International Transportation Branch.
William Ward, Esq.
A Master Captain, licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a Merchant Marine Officer in 1991, William Ward has been the President and CEO of Captains Finest Seafood since 1994. Mr. Ward also is the owner and manager of Ward Consulting Partners, LLC, a consulting and government relations firm, and the William Ward Law Group, PLLC. William is an appointed member of the Gulf Fisherman's Association board of directors, and has been their Director of Government Relations for over a decade. Additionally, William is currently the Vice President of Seafood Harvesters of America, a national Washington D.C. based organization that promotes plentiful and long lasting seafood harvest, through stewardship and accountability in our nation’s fisheries.
William is a member Director of Fish For America, USA, dedicated to sustainably harvested wild caught seafood, and educating American seafood consumers about the importance healthy eco-systems play in sustainable seafood production. William has worked on numerous International Fishing Treaties passed in the U.S. Senate, and ratified by the United Nations, federal and state natural resource management and law, and human trafficking and drug interdiction legislation. William is a two time Gubernatorial Appointee, appointed to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission 1999-2003, to represent the state of Florida’s interest working with all of the Gulf States natural resource State Directors, and Gulf State Legislature members. Further, William has served on numerous state and federal natural resources advisory panels, as well as two NOAA federal appointments serving on the advisory committees of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council. William has consulted with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Washington D.C., NOAA Southeast Headquarters, NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Institute of Oceanography, University of South Florida-Collage of Marine Science, University of Miami-Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in New Orleans, Miami, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater assisting in training the U.S. Coast Guard members boarding officers at sea. He has also worked at numerous regional U.S. Coast Guard stations in the Gulf coast to help with fishery identification, at sea boarding protocols and industry relations between the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. seafood industry.
Francheska Markus, Esq.
After graduating from the University of Central Florida, attorney Francheska Markus attended Florida A&M College of Law for her law degree from where she graduated cum laude. Her passion for environmental justice and advocacy led her to pursue her LL.M in Environmental Law from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. During her time in Washington, she interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. Currently, she is a practicing attorney in Orlando, Florida specializing in environmental and land use issues. Ms. Markus is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico and is fluent in Spanish.
Kevin Leske, Esq.
Kevin Leske is a Professor of Law at the Barry University School of Law. He previously held academic positions as a Visiting Scholar at Vermont Law School and as a Fellow at Harvard Law School. His principal expertise is in environmental law (including air and water pollution, climate change, and land use), administrative law, constitutional law, civil procedure, and appellate advocacy. His published works and presentations cover areas such as the Clean Air Act, climate change regulation and litigation, agency deference, preemption, federalism, and U.S. Supreme Court practice.
Prior to entering academia, Kevin served as an Assistant Attorney General of Vermont, where he focused primarily on national air pollution and global warming cases. His work also included arguing Vermont Supreme Court appeals in land-use cases and environmental enforcement actions. In addition, he served as a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow for the National Association of Attorneys General in Washington, D.C., where he helped prepare state attorneys for their upcoming oral arguments, edited Supreme Court briefs, and prepared an Amicus Brief in a pending case. Before joining the Vermont Attorney General’s Office, Kevin worked in Washington, D.C., for a small environmental law office where he litigated Clean Water Act citizen suits for environmental groups, such as Friends of the Earth and Sierra Club. He also represented the Province of Ontario, Canada, in Clean Air Act cases in federal courts of appeals and before the U.S. Supreme Court. Kevin is admitted to practice law in the State of Vermont (inactive), as well as before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits.
Denise C. May, Esq.
Denise serves currently as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of St. Augustine, a position she’s held since September 2014. Previously, Denise was as an Assistant State Attorney with the Office of the State Attorney 7th Circuit. Denise earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee and completed her law degree at Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law cum laude in 2013.
While at Barry, Denise pursued her passion for environmental and earth jurisprudence issues serving as the Managing Editor of the law school’s Environmental & Earth Law Journal in 2011-2012 and its Editor-In-Chief in 2012-2013. Denise is a member of the Florida Bar and the St. Johns County Bar Associations. She is also a member of the Environmental and Land-Use Law Section, the Young Lawyers Division, and the City, County & Local Government Law Section of the Florida Bar Association.
Pamela RathBone, Esq.
Pamela Rathbone earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Geosciences and minored in Business at the University of Rhode Island. She completed her law degree at Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law and received the Environmental and Earth Law Honors Certificate. In law school, Pamela was the President of the Environmental Law Society and focused on Florida’s fracking controversy in the Environmental and Earth Law Clinic.
Pamela has made it her goal to explore every spring in Florida. She enjoys kayaking and camping, especially after a long week at work.
She is a member of the Florida Bar and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.