HCCA Advisory Board

Long ago, in 1976, Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya, said in an address at the United Nations: “The time has come to join in meaningful action.  Destruction of all land and life is taking place and accelerating at a rapid pace.  Our Native land is continuing to be torn apart and raped of its sacredness by the corporate powers of this nation.  Mankind has a chance to change the direction of this movement, do a roundabout turn, and move in the direction of peace, harmony, and respect for land and life.  The time is right now.  Later will be too late.” 

HCCA seeks to respond to this call.


Pam Dehmer is HCCA’s Vice President and a founding member.  She has lived in Harford County for 27 years and worked as a substitute teacher in the public schools for 22 years. She was also a Certified Financial Planner for Ameriprise for 14 years.  She became an environmental advocate so that her children will know that she “did try to make a difference.”

Will Graham is HCCA’s Media Outreach Coordinator and Secretary.  Will has been a member of HCCA since 2018.  He joined the group after becoming increasingly concerned about the planet and environment.  “I was looking for a way to help fight to protect the environment, and I discovered Harford County Climate Action.  I went to a couple meetings and realized that this was an organization that was making a difference.  I wanted to be a part of that.”  Will has organized environmental rallies and an invasive vine cutting program.  He lives on a small farm in Harford County where he raises bees and pollinator gardens, and practices regenerative agriculture.

Emma Peller is a lifelong resident of Harford County and lover of our planet. She is a member of the NAACP and a founding member of Progressive Harford County. She is also a student at Harford Community College, majoring in nursing.

Aravinda Pillalamarri seeks to be the change, walk the walk and hear the silenced. In the photo above, taken in December 2019, she is speaking to the Harford County Council against the destruction of Abingdon Woods.

She works for the Association for India’s Development, an organization supporting grassroots efforts for justice and sustainable development.  She lives in Bel Air and is a founding member of Harford County Climate Action. 

Kern Ries is the treasurer for HCCA. He has lived in Harford County since 2003, having previously lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. He is married and has an adult son. Kern worked as a hydrologist for 40 years for the federal government before retiring in 2017. The major focus of Kern’s work as a hydrologist was on the frequency and magnitude of floods and droughts, and how they have changed over time. His concern for how climate change is affecting these things, as well as how it will likely affect virtually everyone in multiple ways in the future, has led him to join HCCA with a goal of trying to minimize the potential effects. Kern has taken individual action by installing solar panels on his home, purchasing an electric car, and attempting to minimize household electricity use.

Tracey Waite is the president of HCCA.  She has lived in Harford County since 1996.  She is a clinical social worker and retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2022 after a 30-year career.  A lifelong activist, she was inspired to found Harford County Climate Action after attending the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City.