The Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) trains early career leaders to help develop our work at SHIFT and in America. By developing tools and strategies for reconnection with our natural world, the program provides leadership training through a framework that empowers participants to address problems facing public health, conservation, advocacy, structures of oppression and community engagement.
ELP is developed, facilitated and led entirely by program fellows and current and former SHIFT board and staff. Dr. Morgan Green, a pediatrician and 2018 ELP Fellow, is the Director of the ELP. Under his leadership, each year’s curriculum incorporates feedback from past ELP Fellows in order to honor topics surrounding equity, inclusion and structures of oppression. This in turn allows us to more deeply consider the intersections of health and nature, innovation in conservation, stewardship, outdoor recreation and advocacy, and how such discussions impact participants’ diverse lived experiences while also harnessing the ingenuity and creativity that makes the program innovative.
Each ELP is comprised of two distinct components. During the program itself, a series of discussions, led by our facilitator team, explores our core content. The second half of the experience is The SHIFT Summit. Cohort fellows are invited to participate as panelists, speakers, hosts and moderators throughout the Summit, working alongside veterans in the space to ensure their priorities and perspectives are included in conversations of national importance.
We are proud to announce the 2020 Emerging Leaders Program cohort.
Mara Brcic Bello is the co-founder and president of Uma Rumi, an NGO that focuses on conservation through outdoor recreation. A Peruvian-Canadian currently living in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Cusco, Peru, her main passion and love in life is the conservation of natural resources. Uma Rumi’s work is focused on multi-sectoral studies of the landscape, working in hand with the emerging communities to achieve an overall win-win situation for the locals, the outdoor community and nature.
Freddy Coronado lives in San Francisco, California, where he is an active member of the zero waste community. For the past six years, Freddy has been a leader and activist working for environmental justice and has developed a passion for the zero waste movement. Freddy has successfully implemented and improved recycling and composting programs across the San Francisco Bay Area. In his latest position at the San Francisco Department of the Environment, Freddy led the advancement of such programs in many of the city’s affordable housing properties. Freddy is also a founding member and lead organizer for Zero Waste Youth USA, a youth organization that empowers students and young professionals to lead their communities towards a zero waste future.
Alysa Delgado serves as the Parks & Natural Resources Coordinator for Three Rivers Park District/Scott County, MN. Alysa’s love for nature began in Central Maryland where she grew up immersed in fields and forests. Her passion for the outdoors led her across the Southeastern U.S. and through Central America for her education (B.S. at UNC-Chapel Hill; M.S. at U. of Alabama) and socio-environmental research (mainly Panama and Belize). After a year at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., her current work focuses on various local interactions with park lands and natural areas management. Personally, Alysa enjoys exploring parks, trying new vegetarian recipes, and playing with her dog.
Andrea Foster is the Director of Programs and Partnerships at The Little Forks Conservancy in Midland, MI. Andrea created Nature/Nurture, a program providing environmental education and outdoor experiences to under-served youth, and OUTdoors Together, a hiking group for LGBTQ individuals and allies. She has become a nationally known speaker on bringing inclusion and diversity to programming.
Andrea has a certification in non-profit management from Duke University, is a graduate of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps, and a member of the 2020 cohort of Saginaw Valley State University’s Henry Marsh Institute for Public Policy. She is a volunteer mentor to teens in the local juvenile detention facility. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor adventures, reading, and being with her partner, daughter and pets.
Matt Hughes is the Engagement Manager for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. In this position, Matt oversees the Stewards of the Wild young professionals’ program, helping 21-45 year olds rediscover the outdoors across the state of Texas. Matt has spent his life enjoying the outdoors and has dedicated his career to helping others get outside. Matt received his Bachelor’s degree in agriculture at Texas A&M University, a Master’s degree in sustainable development at Hawai’i Pacific University and a PhD in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at Clemson University. He has worked in various levels of government, managing recreation and park facilities as well as volunteering both domestically and internationally.
Everly Jazi is a graduate student at The Ohio State University studying Environmental Social Sciences. Through interdisciplinary connections and a past in public lands management and outdoor education, Everly found her path broadening the field’s knowledge of time in natural spaces as a means of addressing health inequities. She approaches nature and health benefits research from an environmental and social justice perspective to raise awareness of the need for all individuals to have early and frequent connections with the natural world, especially in communities experiencing health/environmental disparities. Everly also works on research about collective trauma and the outdoors, is moving an Ohio State NatureRx program forward, and is a founder of the IAPS Early Career Researchers Network.
Mia Keeys is the Director of Health Equity Policy and Advocacy of the American Medical Association. Previously, Mia has been Policy Director of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust under Rep. Robin Kelly; Kaiser Family Foundation Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholar; Fellow in the City of Philadelphia Deputy Mayor’s Office for Health and Opportunity; HIV/AIDS researcher in South Africa; U.S. Fulbright Fellow to Indonesia; and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow. The National Minority Quality Forum recognizes Mia as a 40 Under 40 Leader in Minority Health. The National Academy of Medicine features Mia’s children’s book, “Visualizing Health Equity,” on health equity in their national exhibit.
Mia attended Cheyney University, Vanderbilt University, and Meharry Medical College. She is currently a public health doctoral student at The George Washington University. Mia is also a creative non-fiction writer, with training from the University of Oxford. Sheis originally from Philadelphia, PA.
Based in Washington, DC, Teresa Kennedy works as a Latin America Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, where her role combines her interests in research, the natural world, environmental justice, and human rights. She moved back to the US earlier this year after spending two and a half years in Beijing, first to complete her master’s at Peking University, and later to work at an environmental NGO. From Western Massachusetts, Teresa earned her BA from the University of Notre Dame in Anthropology; Peace Studies, focusing her undergraduate studies on indigenous rights and land tenure in Latin America and human rights frameworks. Outside of work, Teresa can be found reading, attempting to improve her cooking abilities, or hiking/kayaking/looking at critters outdoors.
Sachiye Koide is a conservationist and adventurer at heart who created a club when she was 14 to save the pandas. Over a few years, the club donated over $10K through fundraisers, and she spent summers in China volunteering at Panda Centers and climbing the surrounding mountains. When the giant panda was taken off of the endangered species list in 2016, she cried of happiness. Since then, positive impact through sustainability, climate change, conservation, and health has been the driving force of her life and career. She is a founding member of an impact investment group funding companies that are part of the future she wants to see. She is also a mountaineer, rock climber, and advocate for a life spent outdoors.
Caroline Lindquist is a graduate student pursuing her Masters in Landscape Architecture at UC Berkeley. Her academic interests include restoration ecology, environmental justice, and biophilic design. A North Carolina native, Caroline previously worked for the City of Raleigh on the planning of Dorothea Dix Park, Raleigh’s emerging central park, managing the creek restoration and landfill remediation project. Her work included park tours of the site history ranging from Native American land, to plantation, to mental health hospital to illuminate the stories of marginalized people groups. In her free time, Caroline loves experiencing landscapes through hiking and climbing.
Christopher Mollica is studying to receive his doctorate in psychology from William James College in Newton, MA. Since 2017, he has been a member of the team at Farrington Nature Linc, a nonprofit organization the mission of which is to connect urban youth with the health benefits of nature. Chris spent six months exposed to research related to climate change at the Institute of Agro-Environmental and Forest Biology in Porano, Italy. Chris has worked with refugees in a variety of settings, including at a group home for transition-aged youth during his first year of training. He enjoys gardening and often visits the site where Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden.
Rob Moreau is a Policy and Community Associate for River LA, an environmental justice nonprofit working to integrate equitable design and infrastructure along the LA River. Rob graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in Anthropology and a minor in Spanish; more recently, he graduated with a master’s in public policy from USC. Passionate about service work, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic and as a City Year corps member in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. From these volunteer opportunities and privileges to serve, Rob learned firsthand the power of incorporating and uplifting hard-to-reach community voices in public project developments. Rob enjoys the beach, biking, and zoom hangouts with friends.
Elle Maureen Newcome is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Minnesota. She is passionate about health disparities as they pertain to the outdoor tourism industry as well as immigrant and refugee health, especially in Spanish-speaking populations. A former cycling trip leader, she is involved with Minneapolis-based organizations that promote inclusive outdoor time through mountain biking (Midwest Dirt Legion), walking (Walk with a Future Doc — Twin Cities), and canoeing (Wilderness Inquiry). In her free time, Elle loves to craft, cross country ski, and spend time dancing or adventuring with friends and family.
Nick Otis is a Senior Research Associate at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego (Kumeyaay land). He is primarily interested in the impact of geography on health, such as the effect of natural environments on psychological outcomes, and the nuances of locality on nutritional outcomes. His current work with Dr. Kristen Walter focuses on environmental exercise psychology—surf-, hike-, and other activity-based therapies—for those with major depression and PTSD. Prior to his research in San Diego, Nick studied global nutrition and kinesiology and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received the 21st Century Leaders Award under the mentorship of Dr. Lorraine Cordeiro. Most of his free time is spent deep in the Sierra Nevada (Northern Paiute, and many other tribal nations’ homeland)—or scheming how to get there.
The Teen Services Coordinator with the City of Woodland, CA, Adriana Pedroza is a community and education advocate by choice and a recreation professional by happy accident. After graduating college, she spent some time bouncing around different fields before realizing that the common denominator was always community outreach and being around young humans, so what started as a temporary summer camp job turned into a career. Now, Adriana works at the intersection of education and recreation, coordinating teen programs and community events. As a first generation college grad, she is trying to blaze her own trail so that others like her may follow. She hopes to create a culture and space where young humans feel comfortable in their community. When she’s not on site at a parks program or making arts and crafts, she enjoys playing with her dog, reading all the books and spending time at the beach.
Aleks Pitt serves as a Visitor Use Management Project Specialist for the National Park Service (NPS), a Council Member to the Interagency Visitor Use Management Council, and the Vice President of Development for the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals. From 2006 to 2014, in Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and Alaska, Aleks worked seasonally as a fleet mechanic, public affairs intern, recreation technician, interpretive ranger, and also served on a cabin crew for the NPS and the U.S. Forest Service. In 2014, Aleks began working as an intern for the NPS in Lakewood, Colorado, supporting a national planning office. Aleks also Aleks holds an undergraduate degree in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in Forest Sciences from Colorado State University.
Magali Rojas is bilingual, full-time team member at El Centro Inc., a non-profit organization in Kansas City, Kansas, where she contributes as an Intake/Enrollment Specialist for The Health Navigation program, which is designed to help with getting access to affordable, quality healthcare serving the Wyandotte County community.
Magali completed training and certification in the MAACLink database system and 120 hours of Spanish Bilingual Assistant/Advanced Medical Interpreting training. She is a native of Guanajuato, Mexico, who grew up in Kansas City, MO. Through her education at Donnelly College, she understood the meaning of service learning through this quote- “Life is 99% about others and 1% about you.” Nature allows her to connect to herself and others, as it brings peace.
Kim Rosado is currently serving a one-year assignment as a Landscape Architect Resource Assistant for the United States Forest Service in Lake Tahoe. She is happy to be transitioning from private sector work to connecting people with public lands through sustainable recreation, ecological restoration, and scenery management. Kim holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from Cornell University and was trained as a holistic health practitioner in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She hopes to focus her career on developing diverse, equitable, and inclusive access to public lands for the purpose of cultivating holistic health.
Marley Puanani Smith is a kanaka maoli (Native Hawai’ian) who was raised in Colorado’s rural environment placed within the foothills of the grand Rocky Mountain range, where her connections with the natural world could be grounded within her physical, mental and spiritual being. The knowledge from their Indigenous heritage and their B.S. in Forestry helps her work towards establishing sustainable resource management under the framework of transnational solidarity, social justice and equity for all. As a transitioning Forester with the USDA Forest Service, she is investing in future generations by establishing relationships with diverse communities and implementing adaptive practices from underrepresented perspectives.
Alyssa Solis is a Science Teacher with Los Angeles Unified and a Field Instructor with Outward Bound Adventures (OBA), the oldest non-profit in the nation to provide outdoor educational experiences for marginalized youth of color. With OBA she guides youth from her community on challenging High Sierras backpacking trips, and has seen firsthand the transformative power of nature-based experiences. Alyssa has completed long distance backpacking trails including the Nüümü Poyo and the Pacific Crest Trail. She received a B.A in Environmental Analysis from Pitzer College and her M.A in Integrated STEM Education from CSU Los Angeles.
Nadav Sprague is the founding president and CEO of Gateway to the Great Outdoors, a nonprofit dedicated to providing equitable access to nature-based environmental education to children from low-income, urban areas. Nadav is also pursuing his Ph.D. in Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He holds a Master’s in Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Earth Science from Washington University in St. Louis. He has previously worked as a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, a canoe trip guide at Camp Tamakwa, and in the educational department of Missouri Botanical Garden. Nadav loves going on canoe trips, hiking, boxing, and walking his dog (Tova).
Lindsay Wancour is the Project Creation Manager at the non-profit Adventure Scientists in Bozeman, MT. She has had the joy of working across Montana and the U.S. pursuing her passion for conservation as a crew leader, educator, and scientist. Nothing brings her more joy than helping people develop relationships with the outdoors and become advocates for nature.
She earned her M.S. degree in Environmental Studies, with a certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution, from University of Montana. In 2016, she was recognized as a Wyss Conservation Scholar for her work on community engagement in watershed health. In 2018, she became the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Science and Democracy Fellow for Montana.
Lindsay spends her free time exploring our public lands on foot, bike, and by water.
Dr. Morgan Green is the Director of The Emerging Leaders Program and a Pediatric Hospitalist at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. He is a proud mentee of Dr. Nooshin Razani, the founder of the Center for Nature and Health. During his residency at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland, he worked with Dr. Razani and specifically helped with community engagement and resident curriculum within the SHINE program, an initiative that helps to connect patients seen in clinic from all walks of life—whether that be low-income patient populations, immigrants, refugees or people of color—to the vast amount of regional parks in their community.
An alumni of The Center for Jackson Hole’s 2018 Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), Morgan received his medical degree (and found his wife, Tedean Green) at Loma Linda University. He was also a member of UCSF PLUS Program, which trains pediatric residency to become leaders in advancing health equity. He hopes to take the tools he learned from the Center of Nature and Health, his time in Oakland and his global life experiences to better integrate the benefits of outdoor play as a core interaction between physicians and patients.
Eva Garcia (ELP ’18) joined the Rails to Trails Conservancy in 2019 to serve as the on-the-ground project manager for the Caracara Trails, which leverages active tourism and active transportation strategies to improve the health of the region while advancing regional economic development. Prior to RTC, Eva served as a planner for the City of Brownsville, working mainly on bicycle and pedestrian facilities, park improvements, and related programs.
As a lifelong resident of the Valley, Eva is passionate about improving the quality of life in her predominately Latin and low-income community, which is challenged by high rates of obesity and diabetes. An avid volunteer, Eva also founded an earn-a-bike program called the Brownsville Bike Barn and serves with environmental and cultural organizations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Texas at Brownsville.
Shonto Greyeyes (ELP ’18) is a trail worker by trade, and an outdoor educator by chance. He draws experience from 6 years working in forests, deserts, and the occasional classroom. With his current role as a Field Instructor at Teton Science Schools, he has been striving to continually develop his skills to better engage youth and young adults within communities that do not have the resources or structures dedicated to outdoor experiential education.
“I want to make a positive impact in the lives of youth within POC communities to cultivate more mindful, environmentally conscious leaders that are equipped with the skills and knowledge to inspire themselves and others to become pillars in their communities,” he says. Whether it is backpacking, mountain biking, rock climbing, or tending the corn fields, he finds himself most comfortable outside.
Former SHIFT board member José G. González is the Founder and Director Emeritus of Latino Outdoors. He is an experienced educator as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. As a Partner in the Avarna Group and through his own consulting, his work focuses on Equity & Inclusion frameworks and practices in the environmental, outdoor, and conservation fields. He is also an illustrator and science communicator.
His commentary on diversity and environmental/outdoor equity has been featured by High Country News, Outside Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and Latino USA, among others. He engaged in collaborations with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Department of Interior, and the National Park Service during the Obama Administration. He also represented Latino Outdoors in several coalitions including the Latino Conservation Alliance, the Next 100 Coalition, and California Parks Now. He has been recognized with several honors, including the National Wildlife Federation Environmental Educator Award, Grist Magazine “Grist 50”, and The Murie Center Spirit of the Muries, among others. You may have also seen him in various outdoor spaces or read his poetic musings.
Dylan McDowell (ELP ’18) works at the intersection of science and policy. Originally trained as a science communicator, he is now Deputy Director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, where he supports state lawmakers across the country on a range of conservation and environmental policies. Dylan lives in Salem, Oregon, where he serves on the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and can often be found hiking, running, or doing anything that involves water
SHIFT board member Jess Saba, of Good Point Projects, supports socially and environmentally focused businesses and leaders. Jess develops and manages corporate philanthropic giving programs that support conservation, restoration and preservation of land, water and wildlife. She is a member of the B Corporation Climate Leadership Collective.
Jess grew up in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire, where she developed a deep appreciation for pristine and protected ecosystems. She created the Cast Iron Dinner Club to introduce people to the joys of cooking outdoors. Jess hopes to preserve access to outdoor experiences for future generations.