Kristen K. Cecala, Ph. D.

Advisor, Center for Religion and Environment

Kristen is Associate Professor of Biology and Co-Director of the Island Ecology program at the University of the South. She received her B.S. from Davidson College and her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. She studies aspects of the basic and applied ecology of aquatic organisms. She is specifically interested in how environmental change alters the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles through behavioral mechanisms. She uses a combination of observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to develop information that can guide the management and conservation of aquatic ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them in the southern highlands including the Appalachian Mountains and Cumberland Plateau.


Kristen’s lab has a dynamic group of students working on a variety of environmental questions ranging from public perceptions of land management to modeling environmental effects on salamander body condition and distributions. See the lab website for more information on each of their projects.


The Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton

Advisor, Center for Religion and Environment

Rachel is an Indigenous ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and Vice-President of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies. As a Shackan First Nation person, she represents the Episcopal Church on the board of the Anglican Indigenous Network. She served on the Episcopal Church delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and also served on the Presiding Bishop's delegation to United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Rachel has 30 years of experience in cross-cultural communication, specialized ministry, social justice advocacy, and environmental advocacy. She is the founder of Circles of Color, a grassroots community of Episcopalians of color and authentic allies in the Episcopal Church of Western Washington and serves on the board of Paths to Understanding, an organization of interfaith leaders committed to mutual support on issues of social justice.


Rachel is a Board Certified Healthcare Chaplain, endorsed through the Office of the Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries. With an academic background in cultural anthropology and cross-cultural communication, Rachel specializes in assessment and care plan development for recovery processes related to incidents of community and organizational trauma. As a writer, her work has appeared in the Anglican Theological Review, God Space, Church Foundation Vital Practices, the Living Church, and more. She maintains a reflective commentary blogsite called Greening Spirit ( Rachel is currently the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett, WA.