Bringing the nonprofit, The Resilient Activist (TRA), into being has been the most profound and significant accomplishment of my life. Activists, especially environmental activists, are underappreciated heroes who carry the weight of the world in their hearts, minds, and bodies every single day. These gentle souls step into activism based on a fervent desire to right a wrong, heal a pain, or alleviate a grief with the pervasive awareness of the fragility of ecosystems, wildlife, and humanity on this planet. Compassionate and sensitive, many activists struggle with depression, grief, and a sense of impending failure over ongoing ecological destruction.

My older son, Kevin, was one of those activists who was broken by the emotional burden he carried, believing that his personal well-being was of little importance when weighed against the needs of the world. He died by suicide in 2003.  He wrote, “Letting go of the passion to work on substantive structural change in favor of personal happiness is not a viable option.” TRA was founded to help activists like him recognize the critical value of self-care and to provide the community, resources, and insight to support long-term resilience in light of the critical work they do.

In August 2019, Sami became a Climate Reality Leader through the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a global network of activists committed to spreading awareness of the climate crisis and working for solutions to the greatest challenge of our time. Learn more.

She has been a K-State Extension Master Naturalist since 2015 and was instrumental in the development of the management project at the Pollinator Prairie, a restored Superfund site in Olathe, KS.

Sami is a registered yoga teacher, specializing in meditation, pranayama (yoga breathing), and Yoga Nidra (yoga sleep), and is a Mindfulness Informed Professional through the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness. Her meditations focus on the emotional and physical benefits of time spent in nature and the important connection we humans have with the natural world. Guided meditations can be found on Insight Timer.

She is the author of “The Gift of Compassion” published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Grieving and Recovery, and “The Evolution of a Gardener” in The Kansas City Gardener Magazine.

Sami is a coordinating committee member of the Kansas City Conservation Equity Network and in her role as board chair, she collaborates and partners with a number of inspiring organizations.


Learn more about the vision and mission of The Resilient Activist:

Learn more about Sami’s vision and the work of The Resilient Activist on our Media page.

The Inspiration

The vision of The Resilient Activist was first ignited in 2003 as Sami struggled to find some meaning in the suicide of her older son, Kevin. He had degrees in environmental studies and sociology and was working on a graduate program in urban and regional planning with a joint law degree when eco-anxiety (fear about the ecology of the planet) and solastalgia (grief over loss of beloved places in nature) combined with his own inner demons and he took his own life.

According to studies from the American Psychological Association, people everywhere are experiencing severe emotional distress caused by climate change and environmental devastation. And what makes it even more unbearable for some is when family, friends, employers, and governments don’t understand and often don’t care.

For many people, the more they learn about the state of ecological devastation, the deeper is their grief.

In the newly emerging field of ecopsychology, there is an understanding of the interconnected relationship, both physically and emotionally, between humans and the health of the planet. You’ll find a powerful discussion on the various ways the term ecopsychology is defined and evolving in “What is EcoPsychology?” by Robert Greenway.

Through Sami’s studies in meditation, yoga nidra (yoga sleep), yoga for trauma, nature-connected teachings, and the benefits of her own time spent in nature, along with her desire to guide others into a life rich in nature connection, she has been able to visualize The Resilient Activist program to build a community that will nurture, uplift, and support those who strive to live in conscious harmony with Earth.