Keynote Speaker 2017

2017 Conference Speakers and Events


Mark Morey

Founder, Institute for Natural Learning
Putney, Vermont

Mark is dedicated to leaving the world better than he found it. He fosters regenerative leadership values, practices and learning systems for communities and workplaces. His approach is visionary and he designs experiences from potential. For the last 30 years, Mark has been a leader in the international nature connection movement to reconnect humanity to the natural world. He has done this through several organizations that he has founded as well as facilitating 100 Art of Mentoring workshops in five countries. Mark has facilitated life-changing retreats for adults and youth of all ages with the intention to empower the individual to be a leader in cultural change. His work has ranged from 200 person, week-long events with families of all ages, to adolescent rites of passages, adult leadership immersions, business consulting, public speaking, and organizational network leadership on an international scale. Mark’s passion for environmental healing and cultural consciousness has gained wide recognition as a leader in earth-centered leadership development. He is a risk taker, full of life, loves to laugh and will be the first to admit he doesn’t know how this is all going to turn out. One thing he knows is that there is only one life to live. He can be contacted at


Betty and the Baby Boomers

Betty and the Baby Boomers (Betty Boomer, Jean Valla McAvoy, Paul Rubeo, Robert Bard, and Steve Stanne) have earned acclaim regionally – they “sing and play old-school folk like it was brand spanking new” (Kingston’s Daily Freeman); nationally – “a refreshing reminder of the halcyon days of American folk music” (Sing Out!); and internationally, with many bookings since 1993 at Clifden Arts Week, a well-known festival in Ireland. Pete Seeger regularly performed one of McAvoy’s original songs, “Down By the River,” included on his Grammy-winning album Tomorrow’s Children with the Rivertown Kids. However, NYSOEA members may know the Boomers better as educators. Steve has coordinated river education programs at Clearwater and DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program for 37 years. Betty taught at the Mohonk Preserve for many years and is still affectionately known as the “bug lady.” Jean led environmental education programs at Bowdoin Park and the Norrie Point Environmental Center. Paul – a social studies teacher by training – now teaches teachers to use technology in the classroom and has helped river educators establish distance learning programs. Their passion for the environment and especially the Hudson inspires much of the Boomers’ music, which in turn strengthens their education efforts. Recognizing this, the Hudson River Environmental Society presented Betty and the Baby Boomers with its Outstanding Environmental Communicator award in 2016. The group looks forward to singing for, and with, NYSOEA friends, colleagues and peers who share their commitment to saving this island – Earth.



Bill Torrey 


Bill Torrey is a woodsman, author, and storyteller whose family moved to
Vermont in 1767. He spent his childhood roaming the ?elds and forests of his
family’s farmstead, which led him to a forty-year career of working in the woods.
By the time he was 19, he was working as a lumberjack earning eighty cents a
tree and all the sawdust he could eat. In the fall of 2013, Bill retired from logging
with most of his sanity and darn near all his ?ngers and toes. Bill has
written for Northern Woodlands Magazine, the Burlington Free Press Writers
Group, and Outdoors Magazine. His ?rst book was released by Green Writers
Press in the fall of 2016. Endorsed by Tom Bodett, Willem Lange and Bill
Schubart, The Ta Ta Weenie Club is a collection of 21 stories of a kid growing
up in rural Vermont during the sixties. Bill has won four NPR Moth
StorySLAMS and has performed on The Moth Main Stage in Boston as well
as the Vermont Folk Life Center, Middlebury College and the Vermont State
House. He recently won the North Country Public Radio Black Fly Story Slam and
was thus awarded the coveted Golden Fly Swatter.