Our Team

Board of Directors
Lori Arguelles
María Helena Carey
Sean Cosgrove
Angela Haren
Samantha Kappalman
Johnny Olszewski, Jr
Karla Raettig

Julie Lawson, Executive Director and Cofounder

Julie Lawson is an environmental advocate and social marketing and branding consultant in Washington, DC.Julie_gyre

She is co-founder and director of Trash Free Maryland, a nonprofit organization that creates lasting change to prevent trash pollution.

Since 2014, she has spearheaded passage of legislation to ban polystyrene foam food packaging around the DC Metro area, and expand public space recycling and strengthen penalties for illegal dumping in Maryland. The Chesapeake Bay Trash Trawl project identified a severe problem with microplastic pollution in the Bay and supported passage of a strong ban on microbeads in personal care products in Maryland.

Julie is also a passionate advocate for the restoration of the Anacostia River. She previously served as the Communications and Campaigns Manager for the Anacostia Watershed Society, including working on a project to educate fishermen about the risks of consuming catfish contaminated by river pollution.

As chair of the Washington, DC Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, she directed a public outreach campaign leading to passage of the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009, the first program in the US to impose a fee on disposable plastic and paper bags. The Surfrider Foundation recognized her accomplishments with a Wavemaker Award for chapter leadership in 2010. She now serves on the Chapter Advisory Council, a national team of Surfrider activists working to improve coordination between headquarters and chapter leaders.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation recognized Julie with a Potomac Champion Award for leadership in policy in 2016. She also serves on the Chesapeake Bay Program Citizens Advisory Committee, appointed by the Mayor of Washington, DC, and on the Policy Council of DC Public Schools Early Childhood program, representing Ward 4.

In 2001 Julie co-founded Communication Visual, a graphic design and social marketing studio specializing in nonprofit communications.

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