Executive Committee Ballot

Please select no more than 6 candidates to serve a 2 Year term beginning January 1st of 2023. The executive committee meets monthly to consider and approve of the use of funds, formation and responsibilities of committees, positions on issues, and endorsements of candidates for public office. The meetings are open to the public and occur at a location and time established by the committee. Currently the NEO Sierra Club conservation and executive committee meetings occur on the first Wednesday of each month alternating between the east side Fairhill Partners building and the west side Brooklyn branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Due to the Covid -19 situation our office is closed and all meetings are conducted using zoom.

If you are able to contribute financially you can use the menu on our web page and select “Help Out”, “Donate to NEO Sierra Club”.

The deadline for voting is Dec 31, 2022. Thank you for electing the leaders for our organization.

Vote Here…

Candidate Statements

Grace Ciptak

I have been a member of the Sierra Club and a volunteer with the Northeast Ohio Group for close to 30 years. For the last eleven years I have also served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer of the Northeast Ohio Group. I would like to renew my term as Treasurer, so that I may continue using my financial management skills to help the Northeast Ohio Group in their conservation efforts. My qualifications include: CPA/MBA, 30+ years experience, both in industry and the non-profit sectors, and a deep commitment to preserving and protecting our environment.

Jane Halbedel

As an NEO Board member since ’06, I represented our group at the Ohio Chapter for about four years. Areas of interest and concentration continue to be hazardous toxins, climate change causes and impacts and environmental threats affecting Lake Erie.

I have attended many lectures, seminars and conferences over the years, until the onset of COVID that sorely restricted public gatherings.

I am fortunate that organizations and agencies have adopted Zoom calls to elevate the public awareness on research data and findings on whatever related endeavors to which they have a known vested interest and/or direct involvement. Participation in these calls allowed me access to critical information that often included important opportunities for a question and answer period. Life circumstances are such that I rely on the Internet to obtain updated information but Google searches tend to extend even beyond the topics listed above. Consequently, I have been able to regularly support fellow Sierrans with information that I have obtained over the years. This fulfilled a personal mission that began nearly the moment NEO voted for me to become its group rep; a responsibility I took very seriously. Having studied climate change and related science for nearly fourteen years and given the extent of y personal concern and knowledge regarding the status of Lake Erie; I will continue to bring forward insights on these critically important issues.

The breadth of my knowledge ranges from information gleaned from Sierra Club retreats and Midwest conferences; water seminars held in Toledo, and in various collegiate settings in Cleveland and surrounding areas.

In conclusion, when approval of the NEO Executive Board is sought and/or an endorsement or fee is requested, I will continue to represent you in the best way I am able.

Dennis Michael Plank

Please vote for me for Sierra Club Northeast Ohio Group Executive Committee Member. I have been a Sierra Club member since 1988. I have done a lot of work on the Wetlands, Human Rights, Population, Political, and Outings Committees. For example, I have done a lot of outings this year where I have cleaned up a beach, walked for environmental health, and walked for women’s rights. I will continue to work on the goals of the Sierra Club. 1.To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the Earth. 2. To practice and promote the responsible use of the Earth’s ecosystems and resources. 3. To educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment. 4. Use all lawful means to carry out these goals.

Gabriella Kaplan

I will share my passion for human and the environment’s health as in the past.

In the last 25 years, I learned how a diet based on whole plant non-processed food will make us healthy and decrease environmental destruction, something medical schools don’t teach! As a Sierra Club Member since 2002, I enjoyed hosting our club for lectures and outings. I also advocate for preserving natural shorelines to avoid environmental and water degradation. By changing our old ways, we and future generations will inherit a sustainable planet. My poem shows us how:

Michael Melampy

I have been a member of Sierra Club since the mid-eighties and have served the NEO group in various capacities since the early 90’s. I have been chair or co-chair of the NEO Rainforest Committee since its inception way back in the nineties. That committee continues to meet regularly and has been responsible for organizing local conferences and lectures on a variety of rainforest-related topics. I represented NEO Sierra Club on the 2016 organizing committee for the People’s Justice and Peace Convention. More recent Club activities with which I have assisted include Ready for 100, serving on the Political Committee and interviewing political candidates for endorsement, and testifying at hearings in support of such issues as the LEEDCO wind turbine project and the ban on plastic bags in Cuyahoga County. Currently, I am a member of the NEO Ex-Com and serve as vice-chair of that body.

I am interested in serving on the NEO Executive Committee because I feel an obligation to better support NEO Sierra Club and the State Chapter. With the State Ex-Com suspended, local groups must step up their participation in regional and state environmental issues. We need to demonstrate to Sierra Club’s Board of Directors that grass-roots activism is alive and well in Ohio and that Ohio volunteers remain capable of running the Ohio Chapter. I am dedicated to pursuing Sierra Club initiatives, especially those dealing with renewable energy, both locally and around the state. To be successful with those initiatives, we must recruit more activists and build a Club environment that welcomes and supports them. I hope to engage with Sierra Club staffers and volunteers to begin building that environment, and NEO Ex-Com provides an opportunity for that engagement.

Charlie Mitch

I value serving on the Executive Committee of the Northeast Ohio Group because of the opportunities for grassroots activism organized by the Sierra Club. I like to engage with the intersection of environmental issues with politics, which led to my serving as the Chair of the Sierra Club Ohio Political Committee. I see the necessity of developing a clean energy policy as critical for Ohio to thrive in a future dominated by the reality of climate change. I am also interested in issues of environmental justice and equity and the impacts on communities in our region that have historically suffered the most from air and water pollution perpetrated in the name of economic growth.

Participate in the IRTF Commemoration November 6

On Sunday, November 6, 2022, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America & Colombia (IRTF) will hold a special online gathering, co-sponsored by NEO Sierra Club, to mark the 42nd anniversary of the ultimate sacrifice made by two Cleveland women in El Salvador (Jean Donovan and Ursuline Sister Dorothy Kazel), along with Maryknoll Sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke. The four women paid with their lives for their decision to stay in solidarity with poor, marginalized victims of the US-sponsored armed violence, which eventually claimed the lives of 75,000 Salvadorans and the led to the mass exodus of 1 million refugees.

The November 6 event will focus on current developments in El Salvador and feature guest speakers, including a human rights lawyer and representatives from different El Salvadoran communities. This is an opportunity to learn not only about El Salvador but also about the social justice movement in Cleveland and how it relates to environmental issues.

For more information about the event and to order tickets, please go to http://commemoration2022.eventbrite.com.

Watch: Recording of Panel Discussion of “The Erie Situation”



On September 28, 2022, NEO Sierra Club co-sponsored a screening of the documentary film, The Erie Situation, at John Carroll University. The film deals with toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie, highlighting both causes and consequences of the blooms. The screening was attended by over 80 persons and was followed by a panel discussion. A recording of the panel discussion can be found on YouTube here, or watch below:

We encourage everyone to view the recording and see the film if you have not already done so. All of us need to understand how industrial agriculture is causing the algal blooms and threatening the health of everyone living near the lake.


Join us for some fun in Put-in-Bay this fall! October 15-16

One of Sierra Club’s own members, Gabriella Kaplan, will host up to 30 at her cottage on the lakeshore in Put-in-Bay. There are many things to do on this outing. Choose from the following list: South Bass Island State Park; Gabriela Kaplan social gathering at her cottage on the beach; camping; swimming; walking; bird watching; bike riding; kayaking; music; bars; restaurants; Ohio State University Research Laboratory’s Fish Hatchery; Perry’s Victory and International Peace Monument; Lake Erie and more. Inside accommodations for 8 are available for the first to request them. Otherwise, please bring a tent for sleeping outside on the property, or a sleeping bag for indoors (couch or floor, beds can’t be guaranteed). You can bring food to cook or plan to go into town to the restaurants for dinner.

To find out what to bring, where to go and how to register, please go here: https://bit.ly/3CkZHcx


September 28: Watch “The Erie Situation” at JCU (Free)



RETURNING to CLE for ONE NIGHT ONLY – The Erie Situation – A film about the toxic mix of big agriculture, politics, and water security rights.

WED., 9-28-22 – 7PM at John Carroll University’s Dolan Science Center/Donahue Auditorium


For updates and reminders, register here: http://bit.ly/3zY1kdO

To learn more about the film and Lake Erie’s algal blooms, click here https://www.theeriesituation.com/

Sponsored by: Northeast Ohio Sierra Club & JCU Department of Sociology

Download the flyer here.


Rainforest Meeting, July 28: Conservation of Andean Bears (Zoom)


The next meeting of the NEO Sierra Group’s Rainforest Committee will be held on July 28, 2022 at 7 PM via Zoom.  Travis Vineyard of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will be discussing the Zoo’s efforts to protect Andean bears both at the Zoo and in their natural, South  America habitat.  Please register below for this  presentation and join  us for a unique insight into one of the Andes’ iconic species.

Register here: https://act.sierraclub.org/events/details?formcampaignid=7013q000002JXYpAAO

June 25: Sustainable Berea Hosts Native Trees and Plants for the Urban Landscape

Native plants

Lecture: “Native Trees and Plants for the Urban Landscape” by Garrett Ormiston
When: Saturday, June 25 from 11 am – 12 pm with discussion to follow
Where: Berea Public Library, Large Meeting Room

The urban environment poses a unique set of challenges for plants including pollution, salt run-off, poor soils, and invasive species. Join us as we learn about the many native plants that are well-suited to face these urban challenges, and how you can incorporate them into your own projects.

Garrett Ormiston is the GIS Specialist and Manager of Preserve Operations in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Natural Areas Division. He oversees the Museum’s land conservation work, provides coordination and support for the Museum’s stewardship and invasive species management efforts, and assists with conservation education initiatives including promoting the use of native plants for landscaping and restoration projects.

Huntington Beach Cleanup Recap (Sunday April 24, 2022)

fun cleanupA park cleanup of the Huntington Reservation and beach in celebration of Earth Day. The weather was sunny and 80 degrees with a nice breeze at the shore. The park was busy and everyone was in great spirits.

Organized by Northeast Ohio Sierra Club in partnership with Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, BayArts, and Bay Village Green Team. Hosted by Cleveland Metroparks at Huntington Reservation, and Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. Coffee and treats were donated by Mojo Coffee and More.

I thought the event went very well. It was the first cleanup Sierra Club has organized in Northeast Ohio since about 2018, and the first largely organized by volunteers since our Edgewater “Trash and Pancakes” events more than a decade ago. I must give special credit to Emily Obringer who handled the paper work, publication, and online registration. Also a special thanks to Chad Heck for his extra efforts to help us with our remote support table at the beach parking lot as well as our registration located at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center.

We registered 103 people on our campfire event page and an additional 12 at the event. The total attendance was 85 people including our event volunteers. There were 10 attendees helping with event organizing by working at registration, supplies, collecting and tallying bags, and directing participants. We collected 60 bags or buckets of trash and one tire.

I had many positive comments and everyone I spoke with were smiling. The common complaint was that there was not much trash to pick up. I am sure this is music to Chad’s ears. Certainly, Chad deserves high praise for the great job he and his staff is doing at making this park a great experience for all. I know some people put in extra effort to find trash in hillsides and vegetation. I also heard that it was a rewarding experience when park visitors thanked them for their efforts. A group of teens even brought a tire they found on the beach all the way to the registration site with great pride and enthusiasm (pictured). Thanks to Solon High School for your participation.

If there is a better way to celebrate Earth Day I can’t imagine what it would be!

Steve McPhee
NEO Sierra Club

April 24: Earth Day Clean Up at Huntington Beach

Earth Day Cleanup

Join Sierra Club Northeast Group at an Earth Day Clean Up on Sunday, April 24th from 10am -12:30pm! We will be cleaning up Huntington Beach and the trails surrounding the waterfront. Please dress appropriately, dress in layers and prepare for inclement weather, wear toe-covering boots/shoes, and/or items you don’t mind getting dirty. Gloves will be provided, but please bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated. Water and snacks will be provided as well. This event is put on in partnership with Bay Village Green Team, BAYarts, and Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

Signup Instructions: Sign up here, and also, please fill out this online waiver prior to the clean up for all participants 18 and older. Here is the waiver for those younger than 18 (please have your parent or guardian fill this out).

Bring: Reusable water bottle. Closed-toe shoes. Dress in layers.

Additional Directions: Directions to specific meeting location and online waiver will be sent out prior to event. Please check your email prior to event.

May 12: Wunderle Speaks on Caribbean Birds

On May 12 at 7 PM Dr. Joseph Wunderle of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry in Puerto Rico will make a presentation via zoom concerning the conservation  status  of birds in  the Caribbean.  The presentation is being hosted by the Rainforest Committee  of the NEO Sierra Club Group.  Dr. Wunderle has decades of experience studying Caribbean bird populations and will explain to us how birds are responding to the challenges of climate change and the increasing frequency of severe hurricanes.  If you are interested in hearing the presentation, please register at  the following website: