The Team

Science Advisor for the Kansas Riverkeeper

Dr. Cynthia Annett

Cynthia Annett, PhD
holds a doctorate in zoology from U.C. Berkeley. She has been the Science Advisor for the Kansas Riverkeeper since 2003, and has worked with Friends of the Kaw for more than 15 years. Her responsibilities include researching, writing, and developing online resources for the website, and she has overseen curriculum development for the Kids 4 the Kaw, Teens 4 the Kaw, and River Science, the FOK high school initiative. Dr. Annett is currently working with Wyandotte Public School District middle school and high school students at the Saturday Science and Math Academy at the Kansas City Kansas Community College (a project of the Office of Cultural Enhancement and Diversity, KU School of Medicine), and will act as a trainer in the fall to enhance the use of computer resources at the Academy. For her work she was awarded the Kansas Excellence in Conservation and Environmental Education Pre K-16 Education Award in 2011, presented by the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Educators (KACEE). Dr. Annett is also the technology advisor for the Native American Science Curriculum project, funded by the National Science Foundation, online at  She has experience as a federal fisheries research biologist, university professor, and environmental educator in both the U.S. and Russia, and has over 25 peer reviewed publications..

You can read her profile and find out more about her work at this link.

Kansas Riverkeeper

Laura Calwell

Laura Calwell, Kansas Riverkeeper for Friends of the Kaw (FOK), has a degree in Education from Kansas State University. Laura was hired as Riverkeeper for the organization because of her exceptional organizational and communication skills. She effectively uses the expertise of the FOK’s Board of Directors to maximize the organizations accomplishments toward short and long term goals. She organizes and safely carries out over twelve canoe trips on the Kaw River for groups of 16 to 24 every year and presents over twelve community presentations concerning FOK and its mission. Laura presents approximately six educational programs and attends approximately ten watershed festivals per year, distributing material to both children and adults concerning the health of the Kaw.

More about Laura's background at this link.

Spokane Riverkeeper

Bart Milhailovich

Bart Mihailovich, the Spokane Riverkeeper since August of 2010, started his career in environmental stewardship, activism and outreach as a blogger.  In February of 2007, having just wrapped up a journalism degree at Eastern Washington University and trying to decide whether or not to move home to Butte, Montana to begin a newspaper career, Bart and college classmate Paul Dillon walked through the doors of Spokane's daily newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, with an idea to pitch to then online editor Ken Sands who Bart and Paul had a prior relationship with.  Bart was surprised by the lack of environmental news coverage in Spokane and the Inland Northwest, and maybe even more surprised by The Spokesman-Review's perceived capacity and ingenuity with online content.  What Bart and Paul pitched was a rough idea for an environmental issues blog to cover local, state and national issues, and an idea to use social media and networking to spread the word.  Down To Earth was born in May of 2007.  A simple WordPress blog at first, Bart and Paul, with the assistance and guidance of The Spokesman-Review grew Down To Earth in to what it is now - a one-stop shop for all things environmental news, entertainment and organizing in Spokane.  Down To Earth is currently an online content clearinghouse with four blogs, dedicated news pieces, people and business profiles, syndicated columns, a calendar of events, radio podcast, "green games" and more.  Pieces of it also appear in a monthly newspaper insert, quarterly magazine and Twitter guide.  Down To Earth is a revolutionary blog turned outreach and communication hub with almost all of its content coming from contract or freelance writers significantly reducing the stress put on mainstream media's always shrinking budgets.  Upon becoming the Spokane Riverkeeper, Bart started a blog for his work called The Living River where he instills much of the knowledge and skills he picked up from his time at Down To Earth.  In addition, Bart has contributed to several national blogs including, WattHead, It's Getting Hot In Here, and Four Green Steps.

More about Bart's background at this link.

Web/GIS Technologist

Ron Hall

Ron Hall, MS, MBA is currently an online GIS instructor at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. He is also a free lance web technologist and a “Certified Partner” with Google’s Nonprofit group (certified by Google for his ability with a wide variety of their offerings, including Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Apps, Google Sites  and SketchUp). He has been recognized by Google for his online map work with many nonprofits - including the Spokane Riverkeeper. Ron is a member of Google SketchUp’s international “Super Modeler” group - a designation conferred for producing high quality real world building models for display in Google Earth. His background includes degrees from Princeton (BA - History), Wharton Business School (MBA), Penn State (Turf Science), and Eastern Washington University (MS - Computer Science/Planning - GIS Certification). He has extensive field experience in data collection, large project management, and working with government bodies and regulatory agencies from his years (over 20) working as a general contractor in the field of golf course construction. In addition to his online course work, Ron is helping educators/organizations produce internet content for public awareness and classroom use.
Ron has an unusual skill set and background. You can read more about him and see a sample of his other work at this link.

ToRon's Website.

Legal Advisors

Michail Chappell

Michael is the Director of the Gonzaga Environmental Law Clinic. Prior to Gonzaga he helped represent each of the California Waterkeepers in Clean Water Act citizen suit enforcement actions.

More about Mike's work at this link.

Rick Eichstaedt

Rick is an avid whitewater rafter, hiker and backpacker. Prior to his work at the Center for Justice, Rick represented the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho on a variety of environmental, natural resource, and cultural resource cases.

You can read more about Rick's background at this link.

Communications Advisor
Tim Connor

The son of a science teacher, Tim has testified before both houses of Congress and presented before the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. 

More about Tim's background at this link