Aaron Smith (he/him/his) is a father, son, husband, therapist, facilitator, and social activist. Oakland native, Social Worker by trade for the past 11 years, operator of a burgeoning private practice for counseling, mentor and facilitator, Aaron Smith has been a leader in serving primarily transition aged youth, but the community at large as well. Skilled in facilitation, therapeutic group work, counseling and psychotherapy, with aspirations related to investment and motivational speaking endeavors. Currently serving as 1 of 2 Case Counselors at Civicorps, Oakland CA.
Aasia Mohammad Castañeda
Aasia Mohammad Castañeda (she/her/hers) is a mother, daughter of immigrants, descendant of Mexican farmers & South Asian liberation fighters, and a self-taught graphic designer. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the Environmentalists of Color Network (based in Chicago), where she supports the network through convivio and her lens as an event organizer, graphic designer and ethnographer. Aasia is a, born and raised, working class, Chicagoan. She also works at the Field Museum as an Environmental Social Scientist. She received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was active with the Mexican Students de Aztlan. @antropoloka
Adam Hymans (he/him/his) leads the Philadelphia office of Resource Media where he provides strategic communications support for clean water, clean energy, energy equity and sustainable agriculture initiatives along the East Coast. He comes to Resource Media from SPIN, one of Pennsylvania’s largest providers of intellectual disability and early childhood services, where he brought national visibility to workforce and disability inclusion issues. Adam has also led communications and donor engagement at The Philadelphia Foundation and Congreso de Latinos Unidos and served on the boards of local LGBT and immigrant rights organizations.
Adonia E. Lugo, Ph.D.
Adonia (she/her/hers) is an anthropologist and mobility justice strategist based in Los Angeles. She teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles and collaborates with folks around the country to envision a sustainable transportation future centered in the needs and experiences of historically marginalized communities and people of color.
As an Indigenous person Ahjani (she/her/hers) sees public lands as dispossessed ancestral territories, lands that were illegally taken by the United States and placed into management by foreign systems of management. “It's important that the lands that are held in trust by the United States are co-managed by Indigenous people that originally lived on those lands. Tribes today still have a sacred cultural connection as well as knowledge about those lands on how to manage the land, water, animal and plant relatives.”
AJ Hudson (he/him/his) is a graduate student in Environmental Science at Yale University that is dedicated to diversifying the environmental movement and inspiring people through reflective practice.
Alandra Chuney, LMSW (she/her/hers) is the founder of Detroit based organization The Sisters Couch. While working as a clinical therapist and through having her own therapist, she quickly learned that women of color lacked a safe space to openly discuss mental health with each other and professionals of color. As a result of this void The Sisters' Couch was created. The Sisters' Couch is a safe place for black women to come together to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health, gain access to resources, and learn from one another's experiences. Alandra Chuney, is a native Detroiter who studied psychology at Michigan State University and then went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from Wayne State University. With over 6 years of experience as a mental health therapist, Alandra’s passion for mental health intensified after her own experience with depression. Along with having a love for mental health Alandra makes it her goal to ensure that all women have a safe place where they can share and feel validated.
Alycia Chuney (she/her/hers) is a proud Detroit native currently calling Washington DC her home. Alycia has committed her career and personal life to work for and advocate for marginalized young people. She currently works for the Latin American Youth Center, an organization whose mission is to empower a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood, through multicultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youths’ social, academic, and career needs Prior to her role at LAYC Alycia worked for six years at a national conservation organization and has had the opportunity to work with some of the nation's brightest youth and introduce them to concepts of environmental justice and sustainability.
Amanda E. Machado
Amanda E. Machado (she/her/hers) is a writer and facilitator who is passionate about exploring the intersection between storytelling, social justice and the outdoors. She realized her love for natural spaces when she embarked on a fifteen-month trip around the world that took her hiking in the Andes and the Himalayas, skiing in the Alps, and hitchhiking across Patagonia. Since then, she’s committed to writing stories that increase the representation of communities of color in nature. She has been published in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Harper’s Bazaar, NBC News, Vox, Outside, REI Co-Op Journal, Quartz, and others. In addition to her writing, she also facilitates workshops on equity and inclusion for organizations around the world. You can follow her on social media @amandaemachado0 or find her work on her website www.amandaemachado.com.
Amelia Vigil (she/her/hers, they/them/theirs) is a San Franciscan, Two- Spirit, Urban- Indigenous/Latinx, performance artist, poet, outdoor educator & identical twin. Acting chair of the board of Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirit. Her advocacy and support of Indigenous self-determination are a constant in her life. Amelia has an A.A. from Feather River Community College in Outdoor Recreational Leadership & a B.A. in English from Mills College. She serves as the Events and Communications Manager with Outward Bound California and recently completed a 114-mile journey of the Nüümü Poyo with Indigenous Women Hike.
Andrés Esparza (he/him/his) is CLF’s Grassroots Engagement Director. Andrés has worked in the conservation and education field for the better part of a decade on public lands throughout the western US. Through his time in a variety of roles, Andrés has always strived to engage diverse and often underrepresented population with their public lands through education, recreation, advocacy, and stewardship in an effort to ensure the survival, inclusivity, and relevancy of our public lands in the years to come.
Anita Singh (they/them/theirs) is a program manager and youth educator with Keep Growing Detroit (KGD), where they manage KGD’s Youth Leadership Program and Summer Youth Apprentice Program, and develop the capacity of gardens and youth-serving organizations working in the food system. Anita also works to build the capacity of young people to affect change in the food system. Anita is an educator and cut-flower farm owner with eleven years of facilitation, mentorship, and curriculum development experience. They pursued a career in farm-based education and leadership after witnessing the powerful growth and transformation of their HS science students on an Outward Bound trip. Anita uses farming as a medium to move to justice and leadership and reclaim the relationship that folks of color have with the outdoors. Anita is also a member of the Black to the Land Collective.
Aysha Peterson (they/them/theirs, she/her/hers) is a graduate student and researcher at UC Santa Cruz (occupied Amah Mutsun territory). She studies participatory governance and land/water justice in the farming regions of California’s Central Coast, where resident communities have struggled for decades to combat agricultural pollution of fresh water sources. As both a member and critic of the academy, she is particularly concerned with ways that progressive academic work can reproduce some of the same hierarchies that it aims to overcome, and is committed to taking seriously issues of privilege and power in community-engaged research and education.
Bam Mendiola (they/them/theirs) is a national speaker, published writer, and diversity consultant. Their work is informed by their social location as a queer person of color and has been recently featured by NBC, REI, and the Race and Pedagogy National Conference. On social media, their NBC documentary has received over 200,000 views and their essays have been featured on the covers of Washington Trails and Mountaineer Magazine. You can find Bam climbing stratovolcanoes in the PNW or walking their cat, Mitzi, on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish (Seattle, Washington).
Barbara J. Love
Barbara J. Love (she/her/hers) is an Emeritus Professor of Social Justice Education, UMASS, Amherst. A former public school teacher with a background in History and Political Science, Dr. Love works with individuals and organizations throughout the United States and internationally on issues of equity, social justice and liberation. A key focus of her work is on healing and transformation through the enactment and creation of liberatory processes and spaces.
She serves on the Advisory Board for Citizens Climate Lobby, heads the Black Liberation and Community Development Project (BLCD) of the IRCC, and leads workshops on “Care of the Environment and Racism”, “Healing from Internalized Racism”, “Healing from Racism”, and “Self awareness for Liberation workers”. She has published widely on issues of social justice and liberation, including internalized racism, self-knowledge for social justice educators, and building alliances for change.
Briana Riley (she/her/hers) is a proud black and Indigenous woman with strong ties to the Philadelphia community. Over the past four years Briana has worked to provide young people with outdoor experiences that encourage exploration, curiosity, and imagination. While she is a passionate conservation professional, her true inspiration has always been educating her community and sharing resources for healing and self discovery. In her current role, Briana serves as an advocate for marginalized young people looking for new ways to express themselves. She is honored to help to facilitate outdoor service and recreation opportunities and to empower her youth to make their voices heard through ownership and leadership.
Brittany Leavitt (she/her/hers) has created a more inclusive space in the Outdoors since 2014. She has worked to celebrate the Black community through her work with Outdoor Afro for the past five years and is the Regional Director for Brown Girls Climb. While not teaching at the Smithsonian, she also instructs with REI’s Outdoor School. Brittany is the director of operations of Climbing festival Color the Crag, which highlights the diversity of climbers across the nation. She has co-created programs like Summit Seeker and the DEI policy for Appalachian Trail Next Gen. She has also co-lead a workshop at The Corps Network Conference called Inclusion in the Great Outdoors and Heritage Sites with Latino Outdoors, Hispanic Access Foundation, and the National Park Foundation.
Chandi Aldena (she/her/hers) is the Project Manager of the Colorado Parks for People Program at The Trust for Public Land. Raised in Denver, Colorado Chandi learned to love the great outdoors at a young age. Her love of nature and interest in design led her to pursue a career in landscape architecture. She is passionate about making the community engagement process equitable and accessible for diverse communities. As a project manager she uses her expertise in landscape architecture and participatory design to engage communities in hands-on workshops to turn their vision and goals into unique a park designs.
Chandrika (she/her/hers) has been supporting BIPOC to reconnect with the earth for seven years in the form of leading backpacking trips, camping trips, conservation work, classroom teaching, and youth development. She studied Environmental Education through the Islandwood Program at the University of Washington, with a focus on decolonizing environmental education. In 2018, she founded Oshun Swim School whose mission it is to offer marginalized groups a safer space to explore their relationship with water and grow into embodied, joyful swimmers.
Dayana Molina (she/her/hers) is a Community Organizer with The Trust for Public (TPL) working on Green Alley Projects in historically disinvested communities in South Los Angeles. She brings 18 plus years of community organizing experience with various nonprofits in the environmental and social justice sector. She works directly with the Equipo Verde, a group of community leaders in South LA who are improving and beautifying their community through advocacy for Green Alley Projects, urban parks and open space. At TPL, she advocates for projects to have vast community participation and provides resources to create opportunities for community leadership.
Déana Scipio (she/her/hers) identifies as a bicultural Afro-Caribbean and African American woman. Her work focuses on broadening participation for learners from non-dominant communities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). She designs and study learning environments. She focuses on equitable design, creating spaces for learners from non-dominant groups to demonstrate and create disciplinary expertise, architecting community-university partnerships to facilitate multidirectional learning, and helping educators develop culturally responsive pedagogical practices. This guides her work as Director of the Graduate Program in Education for Environment and Community (EEC) program to integrate justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at IslandWood.
Debbie Chang (she/her/hers) has been a volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby since early 2017. She is an active member of the Washington DC chapter and the CCL Diversity Caucus, and she serves on CCL’s Climate & Environmental Justice Action Team’s Steering Committee. Debbie joined CCL to learn how to communicate across political aisles. After immigrating from Taiwan at age 3, Debbie grew up on the left coast, and traveled for many years working in entertainment tech / design before switching careers to climate policy advocacy.
Farjana Islam (she/her/hers) is passionate about the healing power of nature for physical, mental, emotional and community well-being. She is a Certified Guide with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs and encourages others to connect to themselves, each other, and the more than human world. A New Yorker now based in D.C., Farjana is exploring art, poetry, her Bangladeshi identity and her experience of being an Asian American woman in the outdoors. She holds a B.A. from Hunter College in Psychology & Public Policy with minors in Human Rights and Asian American Studies.
Gen (she/they) comes from Black and Jewish ancestry, and holds the importance of communal connection in their work. Coming from generations of small farmers and pastoral peoples, they advocate strongly for the land rights and remembrance of Indigenous, Black, Brown and POC histories. They are infatuated with the language we use to describe our experiences, especially with food (they love to food, almost as much as people), and upholds a deep love for food and land sovereignty in coalition with Soil Generation in Philadelphia. As a leader in the People of Color Environmental Coalition (fondly known as POCEC), they collectively rebuild narratives of how Black, Brown and POC folks relate to their environments, through hikes, outdoor activities, and storytelling. Gen is soon to graduate Temple University as an Environmental Studies major, with their partner, Leo, a fellow Geographer.
Genomé Rodriguez (they/them/theirs; he/him/his) is a queer, trans, empathic introvert, and a change agent towards social and ecological justice. Genomé’s perspective is rooted in their parents’ ancestral roots from Chichimeca and Guamares territories, also known as Guanajuato, Mexico. They are passionate in challenging and changing outdoor and environmental narratives. In 2016, they earned a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation and a minor in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration from Sacramento State.Their experience includes working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service. They enjoy making art and healing in nature.
Gina Rosa Cova
Gina (she/her/hers) is a biracial Latina geographer, geospatial analyst, and visual designer living in Oakland, CA. She works at the intersection of GIS and the environment for GreenInfo Network as well as the NASA DEVELOP program. She is passionate about using spatial data and mapping for change and social good. When she's not wrangling data, she can be found outside, where she is equally passionate about accessible, inclusive, and equitable outdoor education.
Hao-Li Tai Loh
Hao-Li Tai Loh (she/her/hers) is a mother and social change activist working to combat climate change as head of the Philadelphia Chapter of The Climate Mobilization, a national organization urging the United States to declare a World War II scale mobilization in order to achieve negative carbon emissions within the next ten years. As an Asian-American activist, Hao-Li was part of the founding group of the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School in Philadelphia’s Chinatown. She is currently on the board of the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians and a court appointed special advocate.
Jamila K. Gaskins
Jamila K. Gaskins (she/her/hers) is an urban sustainability practitioner and social, economic, environmental and racial justice activist who grew up, in Kent, Oh, exploring the woods and climbing trees, and running after her older brother hoping to get into a football game. She recently received a Master of Arts in Urban Sustainability from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her focus was the relationship to the land, community wealth development, and community well-being and resilience. Her thesis, entitled “How Did Forced Migration and Forced Displacement Change Igbo Women's and Their African American Daughters’ Environmental Identity,” won the 2018 Library Research Award, best graduate paper, social science. Also, she has worked in communities as a Sexual Assault Victims Advocate, as after-school program staff for Boys and Girls Club, and a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She recently deepened her engagement with resilience by attending the Strategies for Trauma Awareness & Resilience (STAR I) training at Eastern Mennonite University. From her work and personal healing, she knows resilience incorporates personal, interpersonal, and community experiences and healing.
Jennifer A. Gil-Vinueza
Jennifer A. Gil-Vinueza (she/her/hers) is a Latinx womxn of color, queer, mestiza warrior. She is interested in community engagement and development around food equity, justice, and liberation. She values building relationships with the people she meets and fostering conversations around radical self-healing. She values cutting through white supremacist bull****. She co-founded the Black, Indigenous, and PoC Environmental Collective (BIPoCEC) with her partner-in-justice, Kunal, at the University of Vermont. She currently works for SEPA Mujer, an organization that serves immigrant and undocumented Latinx womxn who are survivors and victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape and discrimination.
Jorge Castro (he/him/his) grew up in Peru and immigrated to South Florida when he was thirteen years old. He graduated from Williams College with a BS in chemistry and geoscience in 2016. He is currently a business development consultant at Brown Girl Green where he helps promote content designed to amplify the voices of young people of color in the environmental field. He has organized campaigns related to groundwater management, climate resilient infrastructure, and clean energy while working at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jorge draws energy from helping others achieve their goals and building consensus among people who come from different walks of life.