OCTOBER 12, 2013

"A Sense of Place" Theme to Feature 13 Area Presenters


Building upon the success of last fall's premier TEDx conference, Shelburne Falls resident Stacy Kontrabecki and TEDx curator has organized a second independently organized TEDx event on Saturday, October 12 from 12 to 6:30pm. The event will again take place in Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge Street, Shelburne Falls in front of a live audience with 13 area presenters speaking to the theme "A Sense of Place." In keeping with this year's theme, conference registration will also include fourteen "local" adventures, AM Adventures and Post-Conference Sunday Adventures. The Adventures are expeditionary visits to sites in the greater Shelburne Falls area that take place before the noon start of the 2013 TEDxShelburneFalls "A Sense of Place" conference and the day following the event.

The conference will be live streamed to the Internet beginning at 12:00 pm. Tickets to the limited seating event may be ordered by phone at 800-838-3006 or online at Tickets for the entire event are $41.


TED - which stands for "Technology, Entertainment, and Design" - was founded in 1984. The first TED event brought together a few hundred people in a single annual conference in California. Today, TED is not just an organizer of private conferences; it's a global phenomenon. In 2006 the non-profit decided to make all its talks available free on the internet. (They are now also translated by volunteers into more than 90 languages.) Three years later it decided to further democratize the idea-spreading process by letting licensees such at TEDShelburneFalls use its technology and brand platform. This allows anyone, anywhere, to manage and stage local, independent TEDx events. Licenses are free, but event organizers must apply for them and submit to light vetting. Since 2009 more than 7,600 TEDx events have been held around the world.


Kontrabecki, a community organizer and entrepreneur, says that one of her primary motivations for bringing TEDx to Shelburne Falls is the rich diversity and expertise of the creative community "that deserves to be seen and heard." Living in an evermore mobile world, four questions led Kontrabecki to establishing this year's TEDx theme: "What place are you from? What defines a place? What is the history and nature of the places you most love and most dislike? What can you do to make the places in which you live, work and play better?"

Social Entrepreneur & Partner at InCommN LLC in Shelburne Daniel Lieberman will be this year's conference host. InCommN, LLC works to build valuable connections among enterprises.


Those unable to obtain paid admission to the conference in Memorial Hall are invited to view a free live simulcast at the nearby Masonic Hall/Shelburne Falls Senior Center or Mocha Mayas. No registration is required for the simulcast and seating is first come, first serve basis.


In addition to the 13 live speakers, several videos of recorded TED Talks and from local filmmakers will be screened.  A conversation period after each of the two speaker sessions will make it possible for attendees and speakers to mingle and compare notes.


TEDxShelburneFalls 2013 Schedule
SATURDAY, October 12

9-11am: Pre-Conference AM Adventuresare concurrent sessions held in the greater Shelburne Falls area. Participant availability is very limited. Early registration for one AM Adventure is advised.Transportation is not provided for these adventures.


Noon-2pm: Session 1 
4:30-6:30pm: Session 2 
30 minute conversation periods after each session will allow attendees and speakers to mix and mingle.
7-8:30pm: Afterparty at Shelburne Historical Society

SUNDAY, October 13

9-5pm: Post-Conference Sunday Adventures are longer hikes or activities in the greater Shelburne Falls area. Transportation is not provided for these adventures.

Tickets for the live event in Memorial Hall are now available for sale. A full-conference ticket includes entry to both live sessions and the post-party, as well as one optional pre-conference AM Adventure and a longer Sunday Adventure. General seating is $41. Register by phone at 800-838-3006 or online at  


NOTE TO EDITORS:  "About TED" information sheet and Adventure tour descriptions attached. List of 13 TEDxShelburneFalls 2013 speaker biographies attached. Speaker photos are available as 300 dpi jpeg or tiff files. Speaker interviews may also be arranged. Please contact John Bos (413) 625-2082 / .    
TEDx 2013 Speakers 
Michelle Chamuel 
Vocalist, Producer & Composer (Amherst) Michelle is a Massachusetts-born recording artist who has been making music since age 4. Michelle earned her BFA in music technology at the University of Michigan where she became the front woman for rock band, Ella Riot. The band operated for 5 years before going on hiatus in 2011. In 2012, Michelle participated on season 4 of NBC's The Voice - teaming up with international entertainment icon Usher Raymond, and taking home 2nd place. Now, Michelle returns to Western Massachusetts to create music and continue the elusive quest for enlightenment. She is releasing her debut album, All I Want, as The Reverb Junkie, in September 2013. 
Cheryl L. Dukes 
Inquisitive Human & Chairman, Town of Buckland Select Board (Buckland) Cheryl is a dedicated questioner brimming with curiosity. Seeking to understand and challenging assumptions, Cheryl is a lively addition to the Select Board. Elected in May 2011, she is in her second year of a three-year term. "Governance is an interactive experience of working relationships suffused with accountability, questioning, and trust." She wonders if our governance model is sustainable for a rapidly fast-forwarded future. Her current interests include leadership development, connectivity, opportunity distribution, and community-based investment models. Settled in Buckland since 2001, she's completely unpacked the contents of a military childhood. 
Wendy Ferris 
Director of Community Outreach at Franklin Land Trust (Shelburne Falls) Wendy Sweetser Ferris' work is focused on assisting small towns conserve their special places and rural character. She directed the Highland Communities Initiative, an innovative program dedicated to building capacity for conservation and community preservation in the 38 towns west of the Connecticut River Valley for several years. She wrote her masters thesis on the Community Preservation Act in 2002 and has been helping small towns pursue it ever since. Now at FLT, Wendy is building awareness and support for the importance of land conservation in our communities. 
Adam Hinds 
Political Advisor at the United Nations (NYC, Buckland native) Adam is currently based at the United Nations in New York working on Syria. In April, he returned from two years in Jerusalem where he was the chief regional advisor to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. Previously he was the Team Leader of a UN-led negotiation in Iraq between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government over disputed internal boundaries. He was also in Baghdad with the UN in 2005-2006 to advise on constitution drafting and national dialogue. Before joining the UN, Adam was Campaign Manager for a US Congressman and worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign as a member of his foreign policy team.    
Molly McLeod 
Media Artist, Civic Hacker & Senior Designer at Communicate Health (Northampton) As a Senior Designer at Communicate Health, Molly specializes in creating usable, accessible health communication products for special populations, including people with limited health literacy skills. Committed to designing for good causes, Molly has worked on board games, documentary films, and community murals. She helped organize the Health Literacy Hackathon and Hack for Western Mass, and loves bringing together technologists and community members to collaborate on addressing local challenges. In her artwork, she combines photography and typography to create playful images. Molly's mission is to empower people improve their communities through design.
Christopher Newell 
Singer, Educator & Student (Griswold, CT) Chris is a Passamaquoddy, born and raised on the Indian Township reservation in eastern Maine.  Chris resides in Connecticut as a student through UConn's Center for Continuing Studies.  He is a member of the Mystic River Singers based out of Ledyard, CT and has traveled across the US and Canada singing at powwows and cultural events.  Chris and Mystic River produce recordings of their own music and perform on stage for educational/theatrical productions.  Chris is passionate about sharing his experiences growing up on the reservation, his transition to off reservation life and the role music plays in finding his 'sense of place.' 
Dr. Nathan Siegert 
Forest Entomologist at US Forest Service, Northeast Area State & Private Forestry, Forest Health Protection (Durham, NH) The primary goal of Nathan's work is to understand the behavior and ecology of forest insects and to utilize this knowledge to maintain healthy productive forests and better manage forest ecosystems. He is broadly interested in the ecological and evolutionary aspects of plant-insect interactions, population dynamics of forest insects, and invasive species biology. His current responsibilities include providing a wide range of technical assistance with invasive forest insects, such as emerald ash borer and gypsy moth, to state agencies and resource managers throughout New England and the state of New York. 
Philippe Guy Simone 
Landscape Sculptor, Musician & TV Production Assistant (Buckland) Philippe hails from NYC & settled in Shelburne Falls after 911. He plays percussion in the reggae band The Equalites & works at Greenfield Community Television by day. Several years ago Philippe began constructing sculptures in a wooded area by the Deerfield Riverside with found natural & manmade material. Philippe's sculpture garden is a dynamic art installation that changes with the seasons & the ebb/flow of the nearby river. He has begun a second installation high upon a hill near Catamount Hill.   
Josh Simpson 
Glass Artist (Shelburne Falls) Josh's vision in glass is as vast as the universe, an unlimited landscape that stretches from the mysteries of the ocean to the far reaches of space. Over the last 40 years, his art has evolved and grown as he has experimented, stumbled and learned from many mistakes. Josh builds his own furnaces and has mastered the alchemy of mixing and melting metallic oxides with sand to create the vibrant colors that he is so well known for. His "Planet Series" are small microcosmic worlds with oceans, continents and glittering, improbably detailed cities and landscapes. 
Earl Uprichard 
West Central MA Hiking Meetup Leader (Buckland) Earl is an outdoor enthusiast. In 2012 he began organizing local outings for a group of intrepid hikers. As a trip leader, Earl provides a mechanism for adventure seekers to challenge themselves and supports them in reaching and exceeding their personal goals. During the week Earl is Program Director at a group home in Greenfield where he is responsible for program development, implementation of clinical plans and crisis intervention for clients with intellectual disabilities. 
Carlos Uriona 
Actor, Ensemble Leader & Puppeteer at Double Edge Theater (Ashfield) An actor & puppeteer from Argentina working at Double Edge Theater since 1996, Carlos Uriona co-founded the theater's annual summer series of Indoor/Outdoor Traveling Spectacle performances in 2002. Previously Carlos served as Managing Director at the Clarence Brown Theater in Tennessee. He founded & acted in the award-winning Argentine puppet theatre, Diablomundo. Carlos organized groups of self-managed actors and artist cooperatives as his contribution to the Argentine fight for freedom during the military dictatorship from 1976-1982. Carlos is a recipient of many accolades & awards, including the Doris Duke/Andrew Mellon/TCG New Generations Mentorship Award. 
Erica Wheeler 
Singer/Songwriter & Sense of Place Educator (Colrain) Erica is an award-winning singer/songwriter, & a 'sense of place' artist, speaker & educator. She works with the public and organizations to inspire a sense of place & belonging that is deeply needed in the world today. Her programs help us tap into our stories, memories & experiences, as well as knowledge of local or regional nature, culture, facts and events, to create the kind of personal bond with places that leads to caring & stewardship. She has delivered programs at parks, museums & learning centers across the country, creatively evoking a sense of place in order to enrich lives & communities, empower creative story-making & inspire stewardship. 
Sienna Wildfield 
Activist, Community Organizer & Founder/Executive Director at Hilltown Families (West Chesterfield) Sienna has worked towards supporting strong and healthy communities for the past 20 years. Her work on the forefront of the global environmental movement in the 90's with Greenpeace International awoke her to the importance of supporting and developing value systems that stem from one's local environment. As the Founder and Executive Director of Hilltown Families, Sienna believes in creating resilient and sustainable communities by developing and strengthening a sense of place in our children. Sienna works to accomplish this by supporting and creating community building events, community based educational opportunities, and community service leaning experiences.

About TEDx, where x = independently organized event

View this 1:15 animation to learn about TED & TEDx.

View this 1-minute testimonial to learn what people are saying all over the world about TEDx.

In the spirit of "ideas worth spreading," TED has created TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxShelburneFalls, where x = independently organized TED event. At TEDxShelburneFalls, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.

About TED  TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives.

At a TED conference, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Roger Ebert, Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benoit Mandelbrot, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Brian Greene, Isabel Allende and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Three major TED events are held each year: The TED Conference takes place every spring in Vancouver, Canada, simultaneous with TEDActive, in Whistler, BC; and the TEDGlobal Conference takes place each summer in Edinburgh, Scotland.

On, talks from TED conferences are shared with the world for free as TED Talks videos. A new TED Talk is posted every weekday. Through the Open Translation Project, TED Talks are subtitled by volunteers worldwide into more than 90 languages. Through our distribution networks, 

TED Talks are shared on TV, radio, Netflix and many websites.

The TEDx initiative grants free licenses to people around the world to organize TED-style events in their communities with TED Talks and live speakers. More than 5,000 TEDx events have been held, and selected talks from these events are also turned into TED Talks videos.

The annual TED Prize grants $1 million to an exceptional individual with a wish to change the world. The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED-Ed creates short video lessons by pairing master teachers with animators, for use in classroom instruction or independent learning.

Follow TED on Twitter at, or on Facebook at

For information about TED's upcoming conferences, visit

TED Contact: Melody Serafino, TEDx Media Liaison

TEDxShelburneFalls Media Contact: John Bos, +1 (413) 625-2082

TEDxShelburneFalls Curator: Stacy Kontrabecki,, +1 (413) 625-9203

Join Our Mailing List

Join the Business Association

Download our Member Brochure.
Outside Inside

You will soon be able to join online. Until then, call us and we can help you get started. 413-625-2526

The Greater SFABA Promotes Our Region with

SF dot com thumbnail

The face of our region is . This website is supported entirely by our business association.