Our Team

Ed Fallon, Agitator in Chief

Ed Fallon served as a state legislator for fourteen years before running unsuccessfully for Governor in 2006 and U.S. Congress in 2008. Since 2009, he has hosted a talk show called the Fallon Forum. Ed contributes to a sustainable world by walking and biking as his primary means of transportation, and by growing a lot of his own food and raising laying hens. In 1995 he was identified by Cityview as “Iowa’s No. 1 Hellraiser: Ed Fallon has made a name for himself as the Legislator’s premier street politician and agent provocateur.” He is not ready to relinquish the title.

Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

 

Shari Hrdina, Principle Cat Herder

Shari Hrdina was born and raised on a century-old dairy farm in northeast Iowa. Growing up with farming put her in tune with the Earth, and “being green” was simply the way of life, such as recycling, composting and sustenance gardening. Timing of summer vacations was aligned more with the weather than any other factor. Her father taught her the appreciation of expansive sunsets and starry nights, particularly on hayrides. Her employment since 2010 has focused on climate action, being a jack-of-all-trades from event organizing to bookkeeping to form filling and other duties as assigned.

Favorite quote: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” ~ Edward Everett Hale

Heather Pearson, Director of Rabble Rousing

Heather Pearson started her career of public service by speaking out against the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska. Things turned personal when the Dakota Access pipeline was proposed to cut 346 miles across Iowa. Early in the fight, Heather took on a key leadership role, her booming voice a regular feature at marches, rallies and protests. When all other avenues of resistance were exhausted, Heather joined in the campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience. She risked arrest multiple times and found herself in cuffs on three occasions. She continues her work for climate justice through many channels, including speaking at the Women’s March in Des Moines, the People’s Summit in Chicago and the Calhoun County, Iowa, courthouse where she used a Climate Emergency justification in defense of a trespassing charge on a Dakota Access construction site. Case is in the appeal process.

Favorite quote: “Action is the antidote to despair.” ~ Joan Baez, via Miriam Kashia in the Boone County jail

Emma Schmit, Queen of Cyberspace

Emma Schmit has few talents, but she knows how to run her mouth. She uses this skill to speak up against injustice, to give a voice to the individuals with developmental disabilities that she has spent that past six years working with, and to whine about pretty much everything. Emma is the mother to 4-year-old Lillian Grace. They both love a good protest and won’t ever turn down cheesecake. Emma is currently enrolled at Iowa State University working on a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies. It’s unlikely this degree will ever be useful, but at least her father isn’t yelling at her for wasting potential. When not working, mothering, volunteering, or learning, Emma likes napping and yeah, napping, that’s pretty much it.

Favorite quote: “The only thing that ultimately matters is to eat an ice-cream cone, play a slide trombone, plant a small tree, good God, now you’re free.” ~ Ray Manzarek

Lyssa Wade, Photographer Phenom

Lyssa Wade attended Grand View University with a plan, graduating with a B.A. in mass communications and a photography emphasis. She ended up happily not using her degree, instead creating organic skin care and deodorants. In addition, she’s a food-bus driving Veggie Thumper who prompts smiles through organic vegetarian and vegan cuisine–and perhaps a funny chicken and garden story too. Lyssa has made a way with her photography, including shooting images for Bold Iowa and the good fight, while at the same time encouraging others to consider health, wellness and Earth through conscious cuisine and her other passion Veggie Thumper.

Favorite quote: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” ~ Mexican proverb

Kathy Byrnes, Director of Fun

Kathy Byrnes, a writer and editor, boasts a background in project coordination and event planning – projects that promote causes, and events that embrace fun. Growing up during the Energy Crisis of the 70s, she learned to turn out lights, hang up laundry, and generally use fewer of our Earth’s precious resources. Her inclinations turned into activism in 2014, when the Dakota Access Pipeline threatened her family home at the time. Now a Des Moines resident, Kathy walks and bikes a lot, hangs out with her kids and grandkids as often as possible, enjoys feeding people, eats ice cream – sometimes twice a day – and can still turn a mean cartwheel. She also believes that people are good, love is powerful, and you should always be prepared to be surprised by yourself and others in very positive ways.

Favorite quote: “Always leave a place better than you found it.” ~ Rosa Lee Byrnes

Forrest Determann, Wizard of All Matters Technical

Forrest Determann began his pursuit of technical wisdom at an early age, while still rattling the cage of his crib and sucking down high-quality formula. He is active with several local organizations doing good work and fighting for planetary survival. Says friend and co-worker, Ed Fallon, “For a geek, Forrest is very approachable, almost human.”

“It’s fun to eat something slimy once in awhile.” – Forrest Determann