Shay Nichols

Deeply inspired by the wisdom of nature, Shay Nichols is a recording artist, performer, and teacher. Her first CD "Wildflower," features voice-only compositions born out her time in natural settings. A graduate of the California Institute of Integral Studies Voice/Sound Healing program and Open Ear Center, Shay loves helping people experience the power of listening and creating music in nature.

       "When I sing in nature, just like if I sing to a person or an animal, my connection grows stronger.  And connection is all the more important with the challenges that we are facing. Because what is a greater motivation than love? Catastrophe and doom and gloom scenarios are only making people paralyzed, creating a numbness from truly taking in the beauty and grief that is around us. Intimacy means allowing someone or the earth to get close, to admit that you care. To admit that we are connected, and that what hurts you, hurts me. What hurts the earth, hurts us all.  What restores you, restores me. What restores the earth, restores us all."


Dr. Thomas Sherry

Thomas Sherry, PhD is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. Extensively supported by the National Science Foundation, he studies the ecology, evolution, and increasingly the conservation of tropical forest birds and their ecosystems and migratory birds particularly in the Caribbean region. He worked with many environmental community partners via his Conservation Biology course since the inception of service learning at Tulane.

He participates in diverse environmental initiatives at Tulane, involving the Tulane- Xavier Center for BioEnvironmental Research, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Payson Center for International Development, Tulane Law School courses and Environmental Summits, A Studio in the Woods, and multiple study-abroad programs. Professor Sherry is researching and communicating the imperative ofprotecting biological diversity to sustain our own species, particularly regarding the complex threats and opportunities associated with habitat degradation and climate change. He is developing a new multi-disciplinary, solutions-based course on climate change involving service and engaged learning, and design thinking.

Dr. Sherry is the New Day Professorship III and the Siegel Professorship in Social Entrepreneurship.

Bassist and photographer Martin Masakowski was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. The son of a musical family, Martin's immersion in the arts began from a young age. He spent his youth studying visual arts and transitioned into music at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts high school. Martin went on to study jazz at the University of New Orleans before moving to The Netherlands to finish his bachelor’s in music at the Rotterdam Conservatory.  He spent the following years touring with an Eastern European folk band, the Balcony Players. With them he explored over 20 countries in Europe, performing in clubs and festivals and also visiting Roma gypsy villages to study their music and culture. As a result of his travels and the influence of his family and his city, Martin’s musical styles span across jazz, folk, classical, electronic, experimental, Eastern European and Indian genres. Martin is currently back home in New Orleans, performing regularly at clubs such as Snug Harbor and The Spotted Cat while also developing his skills as a graphic designer, photographer, and Tuvan throat singer!